I fell in love with writing, when I was 12 after reading what would become my favourite story of all time. There was something magical about it. The characters leapt off the page, and straight into my heart. Being a bit of a loner, I totally related to Jimmy and Morgan. The book travelled with me on every adventure I went on. Jimmy, Morgan and I toured Europe together, getting lost in Paris. We backpacked in Israel, nearly falling off a camel in Jericho, and watched the sunrise over the Judean desert.
It was through the book “Say Goodnight Gracie” by Julie Reece Deaver, that I was able to discover my own voice in writing. When I was 18 I wrote to Julie, and was ecstatic when she wrote back. I shared with her that I read her book so much that it fell apart and I needed to buy a new one. I told her my dreams of seeing it on the big screen and who at the time I thought should play The Jimmy and who should play The Morgan. She shared with me some secrets of the characters, the writing world and Hollywood. I shared with her that I started drinking coffee at 13 because Jimmy and Morgan did, but most importantly I wanted to go to Second City in Chicago. Instead I settled for a few improv classes from RDC.
Moments when our mentors give us their attention… (To this day I haven’t given up on my dream of seeing Gracie on the screen) I keep it really close to my heart. Every once in a while I pull it out, and play with it. Every once in a while I get a step closer, but I understand life is a process… timing is everything.
In my twenties I was introduced to a Juno nominated Canadian rock band. The guitar player and I hit it off. We communicated regularly through social media, and emails. At the beginning of our friendship “Rockstar Boy” asked “Are you living the life you want? What is it that you want to do with your life” I felt safe telling him things I wouldn’t tell others like I had a dream of designing knitwear, turning Gracie into a movie (at least submitting a script), writing a novel, and being a greeting card designer. “Rise and Shine light of the world, you were meant to climb mountains.” he wrote back to me.
If I was going to start mountain climbing, I knew I had to start somewhere. I inquired at Hallmark, but greeting card designer is a little more complicated then I thought. I looked at the list of dreams again, maybe I could write a novel?
I put on a pot of coffee, found some great writing tunes, and “Mackie” (The Macbook Pro) and I soon became the best of friends.
Novel writing sounds simple right? WWNN (wink wink nod nod) It soon became apparent that I needed to study the craft. Stephen King once said that to become skilled at the craft of writing you need to write daily for six to eight hours. If you had stepped into my apartment at the time, I had post it notes all over my walls. I wanted to really learn who my characters were. What were their fears, and what was the stakes.
I learned an important lesson. Don’t mess with the process. I became entangled in a creative mess. While it may have looked like an epic fail, it was a blessing. I needed to immerse myself in the fashion world in order to tell the story I wanted to. While Rockstar Boy was touring China, Japan, and Europe I was here in Sylvan Lake working at writing my own story. I loved it when I would receive a text from him right after a concert, while he was touring. I could feel the energy. and excitement.
His words of encouragement and support were catalytic in helping me to start really living the life I wanted to live by reminding me that my life was a story that was meant to be filled with memories, and adventures.
Maybe not everyone is called to be a rockstar, but everyone is called to Live their Life. Up until your last breathe you are writing your own story, your legacy. Don’t rush your process, don’t compare your process to anyone else.
Donald Maas, author of “Writing the Breakout Novel”, said “A great novel can live in memory more vividly than real life. The bond of affection that you feel for your favourites is impossible to erase… They are forever a part of you, the truest of friends.”
Twenty years later, I still love my Jimmy and Morgan.
REMEMBER “ Not all who wander are lost.” Tolkien!