…although not necessarily about Friday the 13th. Since 9/11 and the fact that I live right outside NYC (not to mention that my husband works in the city) I realize that any day could be unlucky and just try and go about my daily business. I can’t really worry about the whole black cat thing either, because I just don’t like cats at all. (Sorry, I’m a dog person, but am still a sucker for any sick or hurt animal so I would rescue a cat, just not keep one for a pet). But I’m a big knock on wood kind of person. A throw the salt over your shoulder when you’ve spilled some kind of person. A ‘I was wearing that outfit when something bad happened so I can never wear it again’ kind of person.

I’ll stop now, before you begin to think I’m truly losing it. I might actually be, but the workd doesn’t need to know it. Not yet, anyway. (Which actually brings me to my next point, in a very roundabout way.) A long time ago, when I first started writing, I thought that I wasn’t tortured enough to be a writer. Didn’t have enough heartache, loss, etc. in my life to write anything with any sort of effectiveness. I mean, all the authors I loved (Poe, CS Lewis, even Shakespeare) seemed to be alchoholics, drug addicts, slightly insane, and who knows what else. And I thought that this was what made their writing awesome – the pure suffering combined with their addiction. My only addiction at the time was smoking, and I wish I was still able to smoke with more frequency than I do (I sneak the occasional one every now and again), because I truly believe everyone needs at least one vice to keep them interesting. But I digress.

At the time I believed in all of this, I was writing poetry pretty exclusively. And those poets were extrememly tortured as well. I had no shot. Then I turned to short stories. Again, nothing. I tried to write serial killer stuff, but that didn’t work either. Everything ended up unfinished and uninteresting. And then, as I mentioned yesterday, my daughter got sick, I started reading romances and I started writing romances. I don’t know if the suffering my daughter went through, and the consequent suffering I went through, had anything to do with my ability to finally finish writing a book. Instead, I prefer to think that I finally found my niche, my genre, my love. And yes, I had more life experience, more love experience, more everything experience, good and bad, but I don’t think that makes me an effective writer either. I think it was just a matter of things clicking in my life, a right place/right time kind of thing. So I didn’t need drugs, alchohol, major depression, lost loves or other suffering to make me a better writer. I just needed to find my genre and my voice.

Now, if I could just find those cigarettes that I hid around here somewhere . . .

Steph T.