by: Terri Rich
As fiction writers, we create life for our characters. We play God. We decide who lives and who dies. We throw problems at them and sometimes, if the plot calls for it, we solve those problems. Does that give us a deeper appreciation for the real life around us?
My desk looks out on a small, open space in front of my house. Within just the last few days, trees are starting to bud with the lime green of new growth, birds are busy building nests and neighbors are planting flowers and gardens – Spring has arrived in Southeast Texas.
We have survived the dark days of winter, the dog days of summer still seems a distant future and all things seem possible. Spring is the season of new life and renewal. That feels especially poignant to me today.
A good friend died this week. Nancy was my niece’s mother-in-law. We only met face to face a few times, but we had an awesome Facebook relationship. She read all my blog posts and followed me on Facebook. She was one of the people who told me my writing reminded her of Erma Bombeck. Nancy taught fourth grade, and if the out pouring of love and support on her Facebook page is any indication, she was much loved and respected. Her son, Seth, is proof positive that she was an excellent mother!
My friendship with Nancy makes me realize how Facebook has broaden our world. A few years ago, I would have met Nancy at my niece’s wedding and few other family gatherings, and that would have been that. As we lived in different cities, there was no avenue to deepen the acquaintance. Instead, we friended each other on Facebook. A few generic comments turned into private conversations. And, over time those conversations included reflections on life and death. The evils of cancer. Facing death with dignity. I haven’t heard from Nancy much over the last few months, but I knew she was there, reading everything I wrote and offering her encouragement and support.
It was my writing that took our acquaintance to a deeper level and was the foundation for our friendship; a benefit to being a writer I’ve never reflected on before. Attending writing groups and classes, I’ve met a large number of other writers, many of whom I am happy to call my friend, and a few who have become very good friends. But Nancy wasn’t a writer. She was someone who enjoyed reading the trivial things I write, my rants, my blogs, my Facebook reflections. She was a fan, and let me tell you, it is hard for me to use that word. How can I have fans, when I’m not published? And yet, Nancy was a fan who often asked me to share my ‘real writing’ with her; something I never did, a decision I now regret.
In writing circles I’ve often heard, and repeated the adage, your writing matters because somewhere, someone needs to read exactly what your wrote. Did Nancy need to read the words I wrote? I’ll never know – what I do know is that some of the words I shared brought a few laughs and smiles her way during the last months of her life. So, yeah, I guess my writing matters.
As I write this, I realize that quite likely, comments to the effect of ‘sorry for your loss’ will appear. So, I want to say here and now, knowing Nancy was not my loss. Knowing Nancy was my gain! As I celebrate her life, I plan to put her in a book someday. Does that immortalize her, or does it just make me feel better?
Nancy will be missed. The world is a darker place without her light. God speed, Nancy. Rest in Peace.
Terri Richison (writing as Terri Rich) lives in Clear Lake City, TX with her husband and a giant Great Dane (giant even by Great Dane standards). She is working on self-publishing women’s fiction and avoiding getting a pie in the face if she doesn’t produce pages for every critique session! PIES OR PAGES! Terri started telling stories almost as soon as she could talk – she learned everything she needed to know about storytelling at her grandmother’s knee. Craft however, is something she is still learning – those damn commas give me nightmares!