Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Feeding My Wild Side

J.C., why are you laughing? [squinting in J.C.'s direction]

I have a wild side. I really do! With two kids, a couple of part-time jobs, and a husband who stresses out if every detail isn't planned down to the millisecond, my wild woman just doesn't get out very often anymore.

Except in my books.

It's actually fun to see the looks on my friends' and loved ones' faces after they've read one of my books. It's that little cock of the head, the raised eyebrow and the hesitation when they comment, "But you were always so quiet, and...um...nice." (Note the past tense.)

And you know, the books of mine they've read so far aren't all that hot. They're dark, bloody, gory, and have maybe one hot sex scene, but nothing drastic.

I'm working on the drastic. Heh heh heh.

My take on it is, when you grow up like I did, with a chronic disease, you find some way to indulge your wild side. You have to. You must.

Or you will go insane. Period.

Dylan Thomas said, "A born writer is born scrofulous. His career is an accident dictated by physical or circumstantial disabilities."

I started out lying awake in bed at night, spinning stories in my head to entertain myself. With little else to do during the day, I read like a demon.

Then, I started to write.

My elementary school teachers would send my essays and artwork home with notes attached to them. Kind, delicately worded notes, but expressing enough concern for my welfare (dare I say, "mental stability?") that I remember at least once or twice getting the proverbial "talking to" from my parents. In high school, I was given an assignment to write an essay from Holden Caulfield's point of view.

Ya think I scored an A on that one? You bet your ass I did.

Although at the time my Mom scolded me for the foul language I used in it, I recently found out that she has kept it carefully stored in her files all these years along with other early samples of my writing.

So yeah, I guess she felt it was her moral duty as a parent to figuratively wash my mouth out with soap, but secretly, Mom and Dad were (and are) proud of me. I can easily picture her closing her bedroom door, filing the paper away, then pumping the air with her fist in a silent "YESSSS!"

Lately I've been restless to go back and find that fearless girl who held nothing back in her writing, who had nothing to lose. After years of marriage and parenting, I can easily see, now, how a woman can lose her sense of self.

With my upcoming novella WILDISH THINGS, I've plunged back in.

Okay, okay. I'm knee deep.

But honey, the water's risin'.


ABHAINN'S KISS, available now from SamhainPublishing.com
Nov. 1: WILDISH THINGS, Love and Lore anthology, SamhainPublishing.com

Photo: Gordon Thye


Anonymous said...

Carolyn - You're in good company. I think all writers are a little...off, shall we say.

I certainly get enough strange looks from the librarians when they check out my research material.

When I was younger, my parents used to pick up my library holds for me, and the librarians would always tell them that my reading material isn't appropriate for someone so young and they should watch for "strange" behaviour.

What raised their eyebrows?

Psychology of a Criminal Mind, Guns & Ammo, Standard Catalog of Firearms, Precinct 19, Inside the Criminal Mind, Profile of a Criminal Mind, Dissecting Death, Postmortem, and the list goes on.

Of course, I did write my first murder mystery at the age of 8 (9?).

Samantha Lucas said...

It's a theme. I've read a couple of blogs today from authors talking about going back to where their heart is. I know I had a conversation with a friend last night and I told him I feel myself being more maniacal than usual lately because I feel like I'm 40, I really don't want to screw up the rest of my life. At the same time, I don't want to live closed off to who I really am.

Great post, it hooked for me with some personal stuff of my own, thanks. :)

Denise A. Agnew said...


Meant to comment earlier! Inspiring post. In fact, I found your description of people's reactions to your writing similar to what I've had in some case. But we all know I'm not too much in the business of letting people tell me to edit our violence or cursing. LOL!

Denise A. Agnew

Denise A. Agnew said...


When I picked up The Complete Roman Army the other day for a book I'm writing, the check out counter dude looked at me and said, "Are you writing a college paper?"

My reply was, "Nope. I'm writing a book set in Roman Britain. Gotta do a lot of research. A lot."

I, too, was told at one point I wasn't reading age appropriate stuff, although it wasn't my parents who said it...it was a teacher. My mother, bless her, blew off the teacher. :)

Denise A. Agnew

J.C. Wilder said...

Oh, Carolan - I'm not laughing at you, just in your general direction.

Did you tell your husband about the tattoo yet?


N.J.Walters said...

LOL This struck a chord.

I've also heard the comments, "But she's so quiet," or "It's the quiet ones you have to watch," when family and friends find out what I write. LOL

Carolan Ivey said...

JC, oh HELL no. LOL I'm thinking of getting one and waiting to see how long it takes before he notices it. Hee!

NJ - My husband's brothers had a good time ribbing me about the notorious "Chapter 10" in Beaudry's Ghost - the book's one and only love scene. It was the whole "So, do you use Rick for research? heh heh heh..." My response was to drape myself over his arm, bat my eyes, and say huskily "You better believe it." Of course, Rick LOVED that and it shut his brothers up fairly quickly. LOL

It was the same when they found out I practice Reiki. They started out smirking, "Hey, baby, come over here and put your hands on me." I'd say, "Sure!", put my hands on their shoulders, and in a minute they'd get real quiet. After that, they'd ask nicely for me to help them with a headache, an aching knee, or whatever.