Traveling Back in Time… to Meet Aliens? #MFRWAuthor

Over Christmas my brother told me about a man who claims to be a time traveler. According to him, we are going to meet real life aliens … this month. Crazy, right? And maybe just a tad terrifying if you’re like me and aliens have been a source of anxiety since you were a kid.

Welcome to week two of the blog challenge. This week we’re taking a step back (okay, maybe a few steps back) into childhood in order to reminisce.

Ah, the fun of summer nights sat around the crackling campfire. It was always one of my favorite ways to pass the time. My family was big on camping regularly and every once in a while, if my parents needed a weekend away from us (shocking), my brother and I would spend a weekend at the campground with my grandparents. I remember one particular star-filled evening as Pap Pap enjoyed a beer and the rest of us made mountain pies when I looked up into the sky and wondered “What if?” I was maybe 11 at the time and the question had been weighing on my mind a lot and was the source of many nightmares. Sitting out under the open sky, admittedly, invoked a sense of anxiety. We were having fun… but weren’t we vulnerable? I’d heard too many horrific tales of alien abduction to want to take my chances.

I mentioned my concerns to Grandma and Pap Pap. Pap Pap laughed, leaned back in his chair and said to me, “If aliens come down, I’ll just offer them a beer.”

Fair enough, I thought. Why should any of us be so afraid of the unknown? Maybe this alien thing wasn’t all about kidnapping, probing, and leaving mysterious crop circle messages in our corn fields?

During another camping trip, this time with my parents, I came across a girl slightly younger than I was at the time. She claimed to be from another planet. (What kid doesn’t at some point though, right?) I didn’t believe her but she intrigued me so we played together anyway. She decided she liked me and by the end of the day, she decided to initiate me into her ‘world’. I shrugged and figured why not? I lay against a large boulder while she muttered gibberish and pressed stones into my skin in order to turn me into whatever she claimed to be. I never truly believed I was different after her initiation but looking back, I can’t help but wonder if this explains a lot. (ha)

My brother and I once insisted we saw spaceships flying between the trees behind our house and disappearing underground. I grew up in an area that had at one time been used for strip mining coal. Behind our house was a field that had mostly overgrown except for patches of thick, black coal dust where nothing grew. (Incidentally, for a kid, coal dust makes a great substitute for a sandbox. Trust me kids, your parents won’t agree!)

We watched the alien spacecraft disappear into what we assumed was a tunnel network underground – doing who knows what – and couldn’t believe that no one else witnessed this amazing event!  Keeping an eye on things kept us out of trouble for days until finally, we got bored and conceded that maybe, just maybe, there really wasn’t anything out of the ordinary going on out there.

They say it’s a good idea to write what scares you. I’ve always thought aliens would make a wealth of story ideas for me in that case because I have a long history of fears and pretend encounters to draw from. Perhaps one of these days I will delve a little deeper and turn those memories into a short story? You never know.

As for the time traveler, that’s a pretty far-fetched idea. I’m not sure I’m ready to believe it’s possible but I did a little googling and found this blog post about the guy making this claim and his predictions for our alien visit this month. I figured you might want to keep a cold beer ready… just in case…

What do you think? Is there life out there somewhere? Do you think we will meet?

Thanks for traveling back in time with me and reliving some crazy childhood memories. If you would like to see what others are remembering, make sure you visit the MFRW website and check them out!

By the way, the photo at the top of my post comes from Amazon. The backpack is currently unavailable but here’s the link in case you want to keep an eye for it when it comes back in stock. 🙂 I thought it was pretty cute. AMAZON

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Reasons I Write #MFRWAuthor

What compels me to sit down and put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard? I’ll admit there have been days recently when I’ve asked myself this question and couldn’t come up with a reasonable explanation. Maybe at this point, I’ve done it so long  that I lost sight of what I really should be doing with my life.

Over the past year or so, I’ve struggled. Every time I would sit down to start a new project I’d lose momentum and never finish it. I tell myself when I begin a new project that this will be the “one” but of course, it ends up collecting dust like all the rest. I’ve beaten myself over it, berated myself, decided I can’t possibly be a real writer and should find a new past time. Then I wake up with an idea for a great story and I start the process all over again.

“Why do I do this to myself?” I ask. I don’t have answers.

Do I do it for profit? Not likely. I’d have given up and moved on to something lucrative by now. Even if I managed to finish my books and publish them, I don’t foresee them making me tons of money. I’m okay with that. Money isn’t a motivating factor.

I’m definitely not seeking fame or glory. The handful of times I’ve encountered someone who has claimed to have read my book, I cringe in horror. Recently, my son mentioned that his 6th grade English teacher read it. At first I scratched my head and wondered how she even knew it existed. I certainly don’t go around telling people I know I’m a writer. “Did she like it?” I asked him, suddenly fearful about running into her again at the next school meeting. He didn’t have an answer so I like to think he was mistaken about the fact she’d even read it. My point being, I’m obviously not seeking attention for my writing.

Still, despite my fears of failure or inadequacy, despite my struggle to finish what I start, despite knowing I’ll never get rich from it – I keep writing anyway.  I suppose we can call writing a passion, or maybe an obsession? There is a sense of joy and satisfaction I get from creating something new. I take pride in what I do accomplish. And heck, anyone who has published a book knows the magical feeling of holding that book in your hands for the first time and thinking, “Wow, I did this. My hard work and determination brought this thing into existence.” I’ll continue to persevere for no other reason than to feel that again.

I suppose when it comes down to it, the only reason I write is because quite simply, I am a writer.

How Much of Me Is in My Writing #MFRWAuthor

Do we write in order to fulfill fantasies and experience what we will never face in reality? Do we write to make sense of past problems or heal old wounds? Or do we simply enjoy the idea of playing God and watching the characters we create become a better version of themselves?

Me?… Well, I have had a pretty amazing life up to this point so there aren’t many scars to mend and the few crazy encounters I’ve had, I prefer to forget. So, that’s not why I write.

Fantasy fulfillment? A chance to play God? Well… maybe.

Why ask these questions in a blog post about how much of ME I put into my writing? Because how much of me exists within my characters and story worlds kind of depends on why I put them there, to begin with, doesn’t it? And for me, I believe it comes down to the pure joy of putting something to paper that previously only existed in imagination. It’s reminiscent of playtime as a kid. (But let’s not forget kids play to learn and make sense of their world…)

There is always a piece of me in everything I write but just like my kids are not ME simply because I am their mother, my characters and stories are not autobiographical either.  Other factors in my life help to influence, shape and create what ends up on the page, sprinkled with a lifelong interest in psychology and astrology. (Odd mix, I know.)

Inevitably, I know myself best so I will take quirks, hobbies, experiences from my own life and sprinkle them into my story. For example, headaches are a big thing for me. I started getting migraines when I was in elementary school with intense pain and vomiting. That sort of experience is not only uncomfortable but interferes significantly with daily life. My main character in the novel, The Between World, suffers from this same infliction but in her case, it is an unfortunate side effect of psychic abilities. (If only I could say the same…) It was an experience I felt I could write even if the reasons for it differed.

I like to think of my characters as friends I’ve never met. When I sit down to write I ask myself who is this person living in the story world I’ve established and why would she do what I’m asking her to do? Will her personality resemble mine? Probably. Would I do the same in her situation? Not necessarily.

If the character doesn’t interest me or I don’t care about the world in which she lives, I have no reason to follow her. I’m human and let’s face it, as humans, we tend to be drawn to others who share something in common with us. Shared experience is often the foundation of new friendships.

So yes, I suppose you will find ME in varying degrees in every story I write. I hope that’s a good thing. 🙂

Thanks for checking out my post in this week’s challenge. Hop over to the MFRW52 Challenge page or click on the Linky Tools below for the complete list of participating authors.

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