Thursday, October 6, 2011

But I Thought I WAS Normal...?

Me Skyping with my brother.
Okay, so here's the thing. I often do things that I believe are perfectly normal only to have people arch their brows at yet another "strange" thing that I've done. Case in point, this past month my husband and I having discussed the health benefits, humane arguments, and ecological issues, have decided to become vegan.  

Now, this wasn't an arbitrary or random decision. We've been moving towards that for some why did I get all the tongue clicking, head-shaking, slow sighs?  No idea.

My daughter put it succinctly when she said, "The only odd thing left for you guys to do is to become nudists."

Really?  So my husband is Irish and I am Mexican...okay, so bi-racial marriage, but in southern California we are actually the majority. Its common with such a transient community to meet people from all around the world. Throw in the fact that I traveled a lot as a marine kid and it was inevitable that I meet someone from across the country. Not least to me.

We homeschool. seemed like the smart thing to do at the time. Eleven years later and we still love it. How can that be weird?

We've adopted four children. Well...we wanted a larger family and this is how we did it. Six kids total doesn't seem like a strange thing to me. Its not like we rate our own reality show. Yes its a little...chaotic. But we are happy and can that be odd?

On the Scorpios - researching a book.
I'm an author. Which I didn't realize was considered an "out of the box" profession until I heard my daughter use it as an excuse. "Yes, I'm late for class mom is a writer." The tutor actually nodded knowingly. Huh? Is it really that unusual?

This all brings me to writing. Doesn't it always? I struggled for a long time with 3rd person vs. 1st person. I even wrote a three book series (never published) in third person because that is what the conferences and books told me was the best way to write. It was normal.

After years of rejections and rewrites, I finally decided to write in the voice that came naturally to me. I wrote a romantic suspense in 1st person. Weird to write in that POV? Maybe. Unusual to have a romance in first person? No idea. What I DO know? It ended up being the first book my agent sold.

With so many opinions on how to break into the publishing industry, it can be confusing and downright disillusioning. And the question of voice and POV and genre...Oy Vey!  So many differing opinions. We have the tendency to lose our passion in the face of all those parameters. Whether they are real or not.

Barbara Nicolosi, one of my favorite writer/screen writers once said, "Though we are told to write what we know...we should actually write what our heart knows to be true."

Honor, sacrifice, true love, compassion, courage...these are the things of great stories. And THAT, my fellow lovers of the written word, is what people want.  Write a great story. Write something people can't put down.  That is, after all, how I pick a book. Does it grab me on the first page? Do I NEED to know what happens next?

Write what you'd love to read and you'll be fine. Its not weird...its your unique and valuable style.

Until next time...Go Write!


Beverly Diehl said...

Raquel, kudos to you for following your heart and your instincts, regardless of what other people think.

And great big cheers to you for ADOPTING your large family. With so many children languishing in foster care, it is wonderful that you & your husband choose to build your family by offering already born children a home. Your kids all look very loved and happy.

Keep writing what calls to you, and don't stop!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I could not ever be vegan but have many vegan friends. That is a really hard lifestyle to follow. I appreciate that you have such a strong voice when it comes to your writing.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm even more normal than that, so I must be really weird.
I wrote what I enjoyed and somehow found a publisher who enjoyed it as well. So I'm happy!

Sarah Tokeley said...

We have a saying in our house, passed down from my Mother. 'We're normal, it's the rest of the world that's out of step.'

One of the few joys of becoming older is the freedom to be exactly who you want to be without worrying what other people think :-)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I never thought of 'odd' as anything bad. It sounds like you and your family thrive on being unique.

Jamie Gibbs said...

I never realised that being a writer gave you a cache of excuses. I'm going to try that out sometime.

"Yea I didn't come into work yesterday. I'm a writer"

This'll be awesome :D

Trisha said...

I love to hear that your first person romance sold - because that's what I've written mine in. First person just feels more natural for that particular story.

Carol Riggs said...

Good for you, for being yourself. I'm not sure why people want everyone to be just like THEM!! ;o) Wow, 1st person was your natural voice?? Interesting. I just had to change my agented novel into 1st person (from 3rd), and it sounds SO much better. Maybe I'm a closet 1st person POV-er!