Friday, January 27, 2012

Close To Home

By Laura Bradford

Ever have one of those Ruh-Roh moments ala The Jetsons?

Well, I just had one when I realized it was Friday and I was up for a post here with my fellow Stiletto babes.

In my defense, I truly had no idea it was even Friday, let alone the fourth Friday. You see, my nose has been pressed to the keyboard for the past few weeks as I churned out yet another book. This one was a romance with a subject line very near and dear to my heart. And as I'm writing this post, I'm finally realizing why I found this book so exhausting (Ruh-Roh moment #2).

It wasn't that I didn't love it...because, in fact, I do. But I guess, since I could relate to the main character in so many ways, it called on more of me to get it done. Not the me who was typing, or the me who was creating, but the me who gets it on a very different level.

When I was diagnosed with M.S. in 2006, I was heavy in denial. So much so, it took me a full year before I found the courage to start the meds. But even over the next few years (I can't believe I'm coming up on six), I always wondered if the experience would find its way into a book.

Well... Surprise! It found its way into a book.

Only it found its way in via a character with a very different story than mine. Still, as I wrote the book, I felt what she felt. I got the parts that scared her. And I finally see now, why I struggled with this book right up until the last edit...when everything suddenly clicked.

Hmmmm.  Little did I know when I had my Ruh-Roh moment about posting today, I would finally figure out why the writing process of this book was so very different for me. Wow.

So tell me, have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Either writing or, perhaps, even reading something that hit a bit closer to home than normal? Does it change the writing/reading process for you?


P.S. I'm off to go sledding with dozens of middle school aged girls as part of a Girl Scout weekend this afternoon. Not exactly the post-book sleep fest I was looking for, but it'll do! :)


  1. Thanks for posting such a personal story, Laura. Yes, I have had those moments too which is why I don't think I'll be able to articulate my feelings about my journey through cancer. Still too fresh. I give you a tremendous amount of credit for tackling this in a story. Brava. Maggie

  2. Thanks, Maggie. We'll see what happens with it...

  3. I've borrowed a lot from my life and lives of family members for books. Of course I change a lot, but besides giving you lots of ideas and feelings, it can be very healing.

    Great post, I'm sure that writing this book will be helpful to you. Have fun sledding!


  4. Congrats on the new book! I have those moments when I read books that involve people dealing with loved ones and cancer. Since my father died after a long battle with cancer, I find that subject hits me square in the heart every time. I don't know if I'll ever use those emotions or my experiences in a book, but maybe someday.... Have fun sledding!

  5. Laura - I've briefly touched on my feelings around the cancer process with a short story about the chemo process - or how to walk your dog during chemo...

    It's hard to process the emotion without losing your writer's focus (IMHO). I'm proud of you for taking the chance. I hope your editor loves the story as much as you do!


  6. How courageous of you to post this. I would think that writers-good ones- plumb their experience a great deal to achieve that sense of reality, immediacy that touch their readers. I'm such a reader, and I get tears in my eyes when I read about the struggles that women go through to be independant, and to wrestle with poor health. I'm of the generation who did this, and now in my older age, I realize just what it takes to keep on plugging. Thank you, and I look forward to your book.

  7. I sometimes see a photo in a magazine or a headline and it puts me right back with someone in my own life whom the picture or the situation brings immediately to mind.

    And, I was just reading something in The Sun magazine that startled me with it's similarity to something in my own life, something I didn't like one bit.

    Is it just the nature of the news we find most often and share most often in this world that my experiences of this kind at least start off with a negative feeling: some sadness or fear or guilt? Not all of them, of course. Some are things that make you smile with the recognition. But, some don't conjure up the best at the start. The picture of the person who looks like a long-gone but not much loved relative, the headline about a fire that gutted a family's home? They prompt a bad feeling that you have to work to bring around to the good part.

  8. Interesting comment, Vicky. I've never thought of that with pictures in magazines/newspapers. Interesting.

    Thanks, Lil! I know I call on my experiences a lot while writing, but this time was deeper. Very interesting experience.

    Lynn, I hope she likes it, too! :)

    Joelle, the emotions are probably called on in your books already from a depth standpoint. And I know what you mean about reading things that hit you. Wow.

    Marilyn, Thank you!!

  9. Thanks for sharing your personal story, but also thank you for highlighting an important illness. I live with multiple chronic illnesss, many of them autoimmune, and not many people are educated about them. By you putting a character with MS in your book, you are providing a great education to those who will read it. I am sure it hits a little too close to home, but what good thing doesn't push us out of our comfort zone, I blog about chronic illness because I know it, but find writing full length fiction challenging. Now I need to take my own advice and face the fear! Thanks for the insspiration!