Sunday, September 13, 2009

On Whether to Disappoint Myself or Others

The few times I've gotten brave enough to tell someone that I write, it is usually someone I know through work. They know me as a nurse, not a writer. Invariably, they ask if I'm writing something medical, and they look disappointed when I say, "No, I'm not."

I don't want to write about medicine, I am around it all the time. I want to write about other things I know, like young women, girls with odd obsessions, getting through life the best I know how -- that kind of stuff. You know, literature. Writing that explores the human condition and illuminates some facet for the reader that was darkness before.


I do have a novel started that is about the years I worked ambulance, which were a whole different universe of crazy, but I mostly started it because that character kept chiming in while I was trying to write Margaret's story. I am, after all, Margaret's Mom.

Even though I am way past being interested by my experiences in "the field" as it's called, I'm discovering that my friends are still interested. My medical friends. I tell a good story and most of the time when I walk into the ER, I hear, "Tell them about the time . . . " and I go back to those days.

In the perfect world, I will write only one or two novels before I write one that is picked up for publication. What if . . . oh, no! . . . the third novel is a medical one? Would I get stuck writing only that type of work? And why am I worried about this NOW, before I've even finished the first novel? Because that is how I am. Consider all the outcomes, do everything to ensure the best outcome wins.

So, I will disappoint others if I do not write the ambulance novel, I will disappoint myself if that is what I am able to sell, not my more serious "literature." How can I be sure the ambulance one would sell, you ask? Blood, guts, drama, the paraweird. I got it all, baby. And it's so true, I have to novelize it.

I don't know if I chose a "helping" profession because I really wanted to help people, but I'm discovering that I certainly don't want to disappoint them. I guess that just means I need to get writing so I can cover all the bases and make everyone happy, including myself.

Margaret's Mom

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