Treez McDuffy is a single woman who’s recently retired from a forty-year-long-lifeless job. She’s now faced with facing herself. The wounds from her childhood reopen, having never really healed. They’re responsible for her unwillingness and inability to have formed any type of meaningful relationship. She is alone without any sense of purpose or belonging and consoles herself with endless cigarettes, liter-boxes of Merlot and micro-waved frozen dinners.
Something happens that ignites a transformation. One morning she hears the sound of Canada geese flying over her apartment on their way home. They’re calling her to join them. She rushes out onto her balcony and is overwhelmed by the momentous display of this huge flock of geese flying overhead. It stirs something inside her which has lain dormant for years – hope to change her life. But to change, she has to change everything.
She terminates the lease on her the rent-controlled apartment she’s had for thirty years, cashes in her retirement savings, buys a new car, adopts a dog, aptly named, Guido, from the local pound and sets out to travel the Trans Canada Highway on a tentatively planned journey to the Badlands of South Dakota.
On day of her departure, she suffers an extreme anxiety attack after travelling only a few blocks from her old apartment. Somehow the realization of what she’s done has remained safe in her imagination but now it’s reality. She fears she’s made a very reckless and foolish decision but it’s too late to turn back.
What starts off as a trip to the Badlands veers dramatically off course as she encounters people and events, both natural and supernatural that steer her in a whole new direction. She is challenged in ways she has never experienced before. She is on an odyssey of rebirth and self-discovery.
Initially I wanted to answer this with a quick and easy response: “I hope you enjoy my book.”
But I thought of something a lot more difficult to write about: the endless struggle of writing and getting published.
I’ve had one other book put into print. After many rejection letters, I finally got that wonderful phone call. My book was going to be published. I could now authorize myself as a writer – but it did not do that. All the fears and doubts about my ability to write slowly reappeared after I was first published and continue to do so. I remain unauthorized.
I was in my mid thirties when I started writing in earnest. I was never satisfied with my work. I felt very uncomfortable with both praise and criticism. I felt like a fraud. I thought praise of my work was undeserved: how could anyone praise my work when I didn’t know what I was doing? But then criticism upset me even more: how dare anyone infer that I didn’t know what I was doing!
With every little success, writing became increasingly difficult. Where it use to be fun (back when I was nine) it was now like having my molars removed. None of my achievements as a writer satisfied that crushing voice inside me that said “A real writer would love to work, would write every day, would love every moment of it, would welcome praise and work with criticism, and would be so grateful for whatever meager talent they possessed.”
I did not write every day and I when I did I hated every moment of it. I became blocked. I read everything I could about writer’s block (one book I can highly recommend is Victoria Nelson’s “On Writer’s Block.”) I became very impatient with my “block.” I started writing again.
I have read over what I have written here again and again. It’s not quite right; it’s not exactly what I want to say. It never is. That’s the essence of my problem I think. My writing is never going to be perfect, and I’m not going to feel right about praise or criticism the way I should, and I’m not going to enjoy it as much as I should. I’m probably never going to do all the “shoulds” I should when it comes to writing or anything else for that matter. I am learning to accept that.
I will, however, boldly state what I am most proud of and I believe every writer should be: I am still willing to face the “tyranny of the empty page, the struggle, the fear of rejection and the letting go of the story.
And hopefully a new story will blossom in time to test my willingness once again.
Author Bio and Links:
Kathleen Martin is a Gemini-nominated writer for film, novelist and playwright. Her first book “Penny Maybe” was published in Canada and in Germany. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and a little herd of little dogs.
11/26: FS Meurinne Book Enticer –Promo/Excerpt
11/27: Elizabeth M. Lawrence – Guest Post
11/28: Lisa Matley — Review
11/29: Jennifer Garcia – Promo/Excerpt
11/30: N. Wood — Interview
12/01: K.L. Platt – Promo/Excert
12/02: Lorenz Font – Guest Post
12/03: Sarah Says Read Romance – Promo/Excerpt
12/04: Wyndy Dee – Promo/Excerpt
12/05: S.A. Jones – Review
12/06: Jude Ouvrard – Promo/Excerpt
12/07: Mich’s Book Reviews — Review
12/08: Matt Lutz – Review
12/09: R.E. Hargrave — Review