Revisiting the Past

Lost and forgotten objects intrigue me. As a child, I explored the back roads and woods on my bike with friends to discover a rusted car or an empty house rotting away down a lonely dirt road. As an adult, I am excited to score an old piece of furniture on Craigs List and breathe new life into it with a good sanding and fresh coat of paint. I love to sift through the thrift store for hidden gems like old books, and run my fingers along their yellowed pages. Within their aged spines are stories and knowledge lost to the passage of time.

I have the same feeling of discovery flipping through an old family photo album, or reading one of my childhood diaries. A shoebox full of folded pages of notebook paper in my basement is a time capsule of the wonder and drama of my teenage years. I kept a personal blog for the first decade of motherhood to document all the up and downs. The whirlwind of the baby and toddler years makes it nearly impossible to take it all in at once, so now with my oldest entering the teenage years, I am grateful to go back and relive it all.

So, it’s no surprise that my first novel SONG OF A FIREBIRD is a nostalgic coming-of-age story set nearly three decades ago in the mid-90s. The concept for this work came to me in the throes of new motherhood. Like most debut novels, it is equal parts autobiography and fantasy, a fanciful escape from the everyday and a walk down memory lane.

SONG OF A FIREBIRD follows insecure new girl Rose Blakeway through sophomore year at a mid-90s suburban high school where she must tap into her feminine power to heal the pain bullying and depression and rewrite her story. Rose isn’t me, by any means, but her struggle for self-confidence is my struggle, retold through adult eyes with artistic license. The ghosts of my past are her’s as well—low self esteem, depression, anxiety, bullying and unhealthy relationships. She is an angsty teenage girl and hopeless romantic with a sensitive soul. But weren’t we all?

As a busy first-time mom, I worked on the novel in the dark, late at night, here and there. When baby number two came, and I battled postpartum depression like the Goliath is was, the story became a way to hit the pause button on the present day and return to the past—with the power to rewrite it. Babies number three and four came, ready or not, and the novel was on hold indefinitely as I surrendered to the chaos that is being a mother. But with my youngest still in diapers, and my part-time job over, I was ready to write again. In the matter of a few months, the first draft was complete. Now, I will continue to write and edit to make this story shine. The teenage heroine of my tale will pick herself and remember some of the things she has forgotten… how to love herself, accept the apologies she never got and reclaim her feminine power.

Old, forgotten things aren’t always dirty or ugly. If you scrape off the dust, you’ll find there are a lot of lessons to be learned and beauty to be appreciated.

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