“Rollercoaster Road: A Collection of Photographs and Poetry,” “Twenty Years of Snow,” and “Into the Wild” can all be purchased through Blurb Books (www.blurb.com/user/store/SummerRae) and can sometimes be found in indie bookstores.
“Oil and Water…and Other Things That Don’t Mix” anthology, benefitting relief efforts in the Gulf, can be purchased on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1905091850/spea06-20) and Barnes & Noble (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Oil-and-Waterand-Other-Things-That-Dont-Mix/Nicky-Wheeler-Nicholson-Brown/e/9781905091850/?itm=1&USRI=oil+and+water+and+other+things+that+don%27t+mix)
1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower- Stephen Chobosky
2. Crank- Ellen Hopkins
3. I Don’t Want to Be Crazy- Samantha Schutz
4. You Are Not Here- Samantha Schutz
5. Bear Me Safely Over- Sheri Joseph
6. Stray- Sheri Joseph
7. Cut- Patricia McCormick
8. It’s Kind of a Funny Story- Ned Vizzini
9. Going Bovine- Libba Bray
1. A Room of One’s Own- Virginia Woolf
2. Mrs. Dalloway- Virginia Woolf
3. The Bell Jar- Sylvia Plath
4. Eat, Pray, Love- Elizabeth Gilbert
5. Tuesdays with Morrie- Mitch Albom
6. The Last Lecture- Randy Pausch
7. The Catcher in the Rye- J.D. Salinger
8. On Writing- Stephen King
9. The Hours- Michael Cunningham
10. The Help- Kathryn Stockett
Writing, for me, is a form and labor of love. If you are meant to do it, you will. If not, you won't. It's about loving it so much that it brings you to tears thinking that it could ever be taken away from you.
This essay was previously featured on Anjuelle Floyd's (author of "Keeper of Secrets" and "The House.") blog and website. www.anjuelle floyd.com (and) shewrites.com/profile/AnjuelleFloyd
Why do I write?
Sometimes I think about quitting when I am at my wits end, when I am pulling my hair out and screaming into the barren walls of an empty house. But then I take a day off and speed down the interstate with my hair and windows down and realize that it is the one thing that has always kept me alive and makes me feel the most alive. I realize that even the freedom of being incomplete control of a vehicle does not compare to the freedom that words give me. Never so much blood pumps through my veins as when my fingers are tapping against the keys or my hands are becoming calloused from holding a pen for too long. Nothing makes my heart pound as much or brings me such immense joy as the feeling of an e-mail saying that one of my stories is going to be published. That utter rush of adrenaline from when I get an instant idea and I race down the sidewalk back to my house trying to keep it as close to me as possible and make sure that it doesn’t slip away before I have the chance to capture it on paper.
Without writing I would not be alive. I would have ended everything as surely as the sun does set and that would have been that and no one would have known why. I watched everything I ever loved slip away and magically appear when I was sixteen. The person I had counted on, my confidant passed away and I found a place that would temporarily tear the walls down. I wrote to keep my sanity and my life. Without being able to hold a pen in English class, I would have disappeared more than I already thought that I was.To me, it is more than a profession it, along with Egyptology, is my lifelong love and passion. They both intertwine so perfectly and getting to watch the masterpiece they make is an incredible treat.
I think that those are very basic reasons for why I write and for why most people write. Even if their stories are different or how they came to writing, the reason has a sense of connectivity. My sister also writes and she always says that it runs in the family, even when only she and I ever write anything in story form meaning for it to be something. She is another reason for why I write. I want to show her that she can make it to; that even though it may take a year or two or you may have to do something you would not usually do to make it happen, that if you love what you do enough that something goodwill come of it. Personally, we have both been writing since we could pick up pencils and I really do not know how to live without a pen permanently attached to my hand.
What is my process?
The process of writing is always different from writer to writer. For me, I have to labor and push myself daily and some days, I admit, I do fall short of my goal for that specific day. It is that mixed with me running and thinking and writing down random ideas that spar off into something all of their own. Sometimes I do not get to them in time, but I like to look at those as projects that are not for me, they were just meant for someone else and when the right one does come around it always knocks down my door at the right moment. For the most part, all of this involves hours of staring at my laptop at an unfinished story asking the characters questions in my head trying to figure out who they are and what they are going to do next. I have to try to get to the core of a specific character to reap any type of raw and real emotion to make the story seem like it could really happen to someone and make it to where someone can relate to the story and get a sense of self being through it.
If I mentioning all of this, I guess I should mention that I write in the middle of the night in a quiet space, with my iPod turned all of the way up on a set playlist for the piece that I’m currently working on and that I cannot hear people talking, but it doesn’t bother me if the television is on. For my novel that I’m polishing right now, “What Was Left,” I wrote it completely from twelve to three in the morning while sitting on the swing on my aunt’s front porch and when I could ‘hear the house breathing’ before everyone else woke up. I am beginning a memoir and my National Novel Writing Month piece, “The Moon, the Stars, and You,” at my parent’s house, in my old room, which is shut off from the rest of the house, which I am forever grateful for.
The people at your local library are an infinite asset if you need copies of chapters that need to be read over and your printer has went off and decided to commit suicide and you are in no way, shape or form wanting to buy a new one. I am there almost every day and I swear I have never met a more considerate and cool bunch of people that do not think I am crazy for working this way. I also have to have everything I edit out in front of me as printed out copies before I change anything in the official document. So I sit there with a notebook and red pen for hours picking at the piece I’m working with before deciding that it is at the ‘good as it is gonna get’ phase for that point. I do not know why really, but I think it is sort of essential, so I do not lose my mind completely or get swept up in the process to the point where I want to scream until my lungs burst open.
©2010, Nicole Easterwood