Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What I Can Never Write About

Our 42nd Anniversary
Write what you know. Have you ever heard that advice? And yet, folks write historical, science fiction and fantasy novels. And I'm almost sure that most mystery writers have never been involved in a real murder investigation.

So what does it mean? I think when we write what we know, we are looking deep within ourselves for experiences that strike a common chord in our fellow beings. There have been few writers in the history of the world who have been able to cover the entire range of human experience. Shakespeare comes to mind.

The chances of my writing a believable story about a dysfunctional relationship or an unhappy marriage are practically nil. After forty-two years of wedded bliss, I am an expert on how great marriage can be. Unhappy marriages are a closed book to me. That kind of book is just not going to be in my oeuvre.

Novels require you to spend many months thinking about problems and conflict. I wouldn't even want to spend six months to a year thinking about husbands and wives who can't get along.

But I have plenty of other topics to write about with confidence. The joys and heartbreaks of parenthood. The challenges of childhood. The struggle to find that one right person. The process of soul searching. The role of gender in a woman's life.

I write romantic, humorous novels with happy endings because that's what I know. And I thank my husband Michael for that. Ours has a been a very happy journey. But without laughter, we would never have made it this far.

So happy anniversary to us. Forty-two years later, we've still got the fairy tale ending.

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