Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Personal experience (loss of a loved one) provided direction and depth

Love is a foundation: loss a process
One of the main issues in the first two books of the series Students of Jump is loss of a loved one.  This is an area I have some experience in.  Though my original plot did not include a death, the events grew naturally out of the interaction of characters and circumstance.  My own mother died when I was a baby, and I was at first unaware of the effect it had on my father or myself. As I grew older, I realized he never allowed himself the time to adjust to losing his wife.  He buried himself in his work and in raising his children.  It was a new experience for him to be the sole parent of two small children. 

He shared a story with me about the first months he found himself caring for us.  He knew that my mother had always kept us fed and clean.  He had been guided on feeding us properly by the ladies in the neighborhood, and my father was always a good cook, but the requirements of keeping children clean was never addressed.

He bathed us night and day.  We were not particularly dirty children, both of us under two years old.  When he took us to our yearly check up, he asked the doctor if he was caring for us well, as he feared being gone during the working hours meant he could only bath us twice a day.  Our skin was a bit flakie, but the doctor set him straight relieving quite a bit of tension and reducing the bathing to a more manageable level, and our skin and hair returned to that shiny, moist quality inherent in healthy children.  When I had my own daughter and spoke to my father about her potty training not going well, he gave me just the information I needed to have a smooth process for my daughter.

Talking to and observing how my father dealt with his loss and my own later frustrations at not having my mother around during my teenage years helped when I worked through the changes my characters dealt with and their challenges dealing with loss.

What parts in the writing you have done is a reflection of your own experiences?

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