Hey, it’s finally my day once more. Did you miss me?
No? Not even a little? Well fine, forget you…
It feels strange to admit this, but the 4th of July is one of those rare holidays where I can look back at the crapstorm that was my childhood and not have something horrific come to mind. In fact, some of my best memories were of watching parades with sparklers (and getting yelled at by group home counselors for accidentally burning myself because I had a healthy dose of “hey y’all, watch this!” in my mind) and trying to cook burgers.
When I write happy scenes (yes, few and far in between, but they do happen) I think back to the good things that happened in my life. Which usually leads to me thinking back to the 4th of July parades and the cookouts, and remembering probably my favorite 4th ever — when I was TDY in Israel and they held a 4th of July parade for the dual US citizens who lived in Haifa.
Drawing upon your past experiences to fuel certain emotions you try to get across on paper is the oldest trick in the book and yet possibly the hardest to master. One would think that it would be easy to draw upon past experiences, yet time seems to dull just how good the memories are. We’re humans, so we usually temper the good with the bad. We channel our “inner pessimism”, perhaps?
…aaaaaaaaand I lost the internet. Joy.
…hey, I got the internet back. Yay! This can get up before noon.
Anyway, part of the job is taking one’s own experiences and putting it to paper. Taking what you have and sharing it among your characters and story. Experiences, emotions, everything… get it down. Share it. Make them feel the anguish, joy, pain, sorrow, and happiness. Readers and characters alike.
Happy 4th of July!