The first time I was affected by a story, I was in my 20’s. I guess there were probably lots of contributing factors, and maybe I was tired, but I read “Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas” by James Patterson, in one sitting and bawled my eyes out. How could a story affect me in such a way? It was well written, had all the hallmarks of a deep love, and a tragedy which blows it all apart.
My son and I finished reading a story last night, Kaspar Prince of Cats. I couldn’t read the last page because I was crying. Whether this was the catalyst, but my son started crying too. He told me it was because of the ending, which was beautiful, but sad. I was crying because I knew what was going to happen, and I have had such a deep personal relationship with a cat.
Both of these stories were able to tap into that part of me that I could relate to. In one it was the intense emotional experience of loving an animal, in the other it was something that was missing from my own life.
I just wrote “While I want to write a story like this…” and realised that I have. I wrote a short story called ‘Death is Her Name.’ It is about some of the deaths that have occurred in my life, particularly those that I have struggled with. Two in particular are about children. One is a 6 month old child who has been abused, the other is a toddler with cancer. While I have not had personal experience of these, something inside me cringes when I hear about either of these things. Those who have read the story have commented that they were in tears, particularly at these two points.
I would one day like to write a novel that will have that lasting impact on someone’s life, enough to make them cry, or seek help, or start a debate… I don’t know, I guess that is up to the individual reader.
I guess, I keep reading, hoping that I will find that next story which inspires my emotions or engages my brain. Until that moment, I will keep writing my next best seller!