Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Interpreters of Humankind

Life experiences shape my writing, as it probably does you other writers out there. Looking back on my journey to publication and looking ahead at (what I hope) is the start of a successful career, I find myself nostalgic over the journey to this point. I wonder periodically what would have happened had I been a success at the start of my adult life.

Truthfully? I don’t think that I would’ve gained the life experience to create the characters and stories I have now. Looking back at my writing from those long ago days, I see what I couldn’t see before…a lack of depth and understanding of the world around me.

During this case of nostalgia I’m thinking back on some of the key life moments that shaped me and my outlook the most. As you can imagine, as a married mother of 4 there have been quite a few. However, a few key ones stand out for me:

There was the first homeless person I recognized as being homeless when I was a child. Seeing the markings and emotional scars from a life struggling to survive and the embarrassment and shame etched into his eyes.

There was seeing my husband for the first time and knowing love at first sight did exist…and no matter how corny and cliche, someone could have their breath taken away.

There was the moment I looked down at my first born. I saw for the first time the perfection one could be blessed with and the truth behind humankind’s otherness from all other species in this world.

And without a doubt, there was the pain in that wife’s eyes as I stood by her side in intensive care many years ago as she watched her husband pass on. Comforting during this woman’s experience of loss not only of her loved one but a shared life they had together and the confusion of what she would do the rest of her own days without him.

Yes, there’s something to be said for the trials and tribulations to authorship. Writers must struggle because they are one of the groups of interpreters for humankind. By that definition they have to see the world in all its levels to truly interpret it. I have to say, I’ve loved the side journey’s my life has taken and the wealth of moments it has put into my life jar.

For my writer buddies, what life experiences affected your writing the most?

For my reader buddies, what passage in a book most affected your outlook on life?

Good writing and reading all!


  1. Being a lawyer and in the early days of my career, representing a lot of the people who life had battered and tossed about caused me to learn a lot about humanity and the inner strength that people draw on when it's most needed. I've been a student of the human condition for many years and I think that shows in my characters.

  2. I am not a published author, but I write something everyday that I hope will turn into a book eventually. My childhood shaped me the most. Every experience I had was a lesson in how NOT to treat a child. I want to write a sweet romance about the values of family and love. To do that, all I have to do is write the opposite of the way my mother treated me as a child. I have to be thankful in a way, I guess. I could have become a serial killer or believed that all parents behaved as she did.

  3. Jillian: What an interesting background. Truthfully, I never thought of a lawyer from that perspective, but now that I am, I can see that completely. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Angelsbeth: Wow, that is a significant achievement for you to start out with a negative aspect of life and still be open to finding and seeing the happiness and good in the world. Definitely respect you for keeping your heart and mind open to good things. ((hugs))

  5. Amber, all those experiences give you emotions that you can draw on as an author. My experiences in the military overseas, traveling, going to Germany and Hungary, really resonated with me.


  6. Steph: Reading your books I can tell. You really infuse the worldly view in your descriptions.

    It's one of the reasons I really love your Hungarian series.

  7. I totally agree with your post. My most painful experiences are the ones that have shaped my best writing and have given me a unique sensitivity to express and understand the world around me from a different perspective. The loss of my first baby has been a turning point in my life.

  8. I totally agree with your post. My most painful experiences are the ones that have shaped my best writing and have given me a unique sensitivity to express and understand the world around me from a different perspective. The loss of my first baby has been a turning point in my life.

  9. ((HUGS)) Julia. I'm so sorry. As someone who's miscarried in the second trimester, I can sympathize with you.

    It is so lovely you can reflect on those emotions and turn them into wonderful words for others.

    I'm so glad you came by to visit and shared that experience with us.

  10. Growing up a preacher's kid gave me the opportunity to observe the condition of those in need of spiritual or earthly help, and the mentality and methods of the helpers. Many times, those in need overcame their situation and went on to become helpers of others. That was a great lesson in human capacity for me.

  11. Oh wow, Connie, what a great experience you were gifted growing up. That is an amazing building block for life and what's better is it's obvious you appreciate and respect that gift.


  12. I was touched by your comments and observations. I, too, have built my writing upon the rocks of trials and the rainbows of the bright days. Four children, a divorce, the pain of watching those you love pass on, falling passionately in love - what roller coasters we ride! But through it all, we have a God who cares and pulls us through. Yes, we probably become better writers as we learn to observe our own lives as well as those around us.

  13. Thank you, June. ((Hugs)). That is quite some experiences. I am always impressed by the human spirit and how people can see successes and lessons in hardship.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and outlook with us.