When an author writes a story, she first writes it for herself. That draft is really messy and is her way of trying to figure out what it is she is truly trying to say. She re-drafts, sends it to a few other writers, maybe workshops it in a writing class. Maybe she hires a mentor and drafts some more, each time getting closer and closer to her message. When she has finished her edits, proofreads, 1st and 2nd reads and all the revisions she knows how to make, she hires a professional editor, and the process almost begins again. The editor reads, then re-reads, makes notes, analyzes and finally consults with the author. This is usually a most exhilarating experience as the two discuss what might be excluded, what appears to be missing, where the story hits its target and where it misses. Then, it’s time for the writer to pause and reflect. It’s both a painful and a rewarding time of decision making. In short, I am discussing my process. One final read, a deep breath, a publishing contract and it’s ready to release. That’s the time I get really scared. For Fractured this has been a 5-year process. In that time, I have spent hours with my characters and have grown to love them. Not to say, I haven’t been exasperated with them at times, wanting them to act in a way I knew was not possible for them. The day comes for me to share them with my readers. My hope is that you will find something of yourself in this story as I do with each project.
Thank you for your continued support in my journey to tell enriching stories.
“Readers will be swept away by FRACTURED, a timeless coming-of-age novel with an unforgettable heroine. Set in the 1950s, the novel evokes a more innocent time, but Sandra Windsor has a few plot twists up her sleeve that show the darkness hiding behind even the most perfect-seeming family. Windsor is a masterful storyteller with remarkable insight into the human condition. This novel is full of heart.” Shana Kelly, Editor
This snowy morning I am counting down to 2021 and a reset. In past years this has been the time to look forward to challenges, opportunities and wishes for the coming year. I make lists and often assign some sort of priority. This year, though, feels different. It feels more like an opportunity for reflection than ever before.
Nine months of quarantine have given me a gift of time. Having lived my entire life wishing for just a few more hours in the day or weeks in a month, I was unprepared for a calendar that stared back at me with more open spots than entries. All those years of rationalizing my hectic schedule were gone. My first inclination was to fill them, make it look like I was still busy. If I had obligations, then I must have value or better yet, purpose.
This is where the reflection comes in. It was time to deal with myself. What did I want to do next? Another book? More quilting? A new language? A new keyboard? All stared at me from the 1st page of my brand new journal. My wants for the coming year are broader: time when I can see and hug my family again; making every minute I have with my husband meaningful; savoring that special time of telling stories to myself and then finding them on the page to share with others; building tight connections with those people in my life who have given me so much of who I am.
This is more of a quiet unraveling. I’m not sure where this deeper reflection will lead, but I am grateful for the journey. Time is my treasure to be used with reverence. Perhaps because I am at the end of my life, this process feels more exceptional. While we can’t change much of what lies before us, we can explore the treasures life hands us. For me, one treasure has been time.
On August 25, 1938, 82 years ago, I entered this life. Is it really possible I’ve lived this long? Like one of my friends, I look at old photos and think the dates must be wrong; these events recorded on film seem more recent, more like they happened 20 years ago instead of 40. Like my college graduation in 1960. Surely, it was much later than that.
My calculations tell me that I am most fortunate to have been allowed time to meet so many friends, to accomplish so many tasks, to love so many experiences and people. With all that said, I yearn to make the final years, how many they might be, some of the most fulfilling yet. How to do that is the challenge.
One of my ideas is to re-set the clock mentally. Maybe those numbers I focused on in my opening are just that, simply numbers. As such, they feel like limitations. So, what if I pretend I don’t know how many years have passed, that I rise each morning disregarding my existing definitions of time. Wouldn’t this allow me to be less cautious, more adventuresome? What if those heady cautions about acting my age, being careful weren’t there? What if I behaved like I really felt on any given day instead of worrying about what mishap may befall me should I take a spill or put myself in an embarrassing class situation with 30-year-olds? What if it all turned out to be wonderful?
I find myself in an enviable position with few serious limitations, so what am I waiting for? Permission? Okay, I’ve got it!
Time and Memory
Time is ephemeral, impossible to recapture.
When I decided to write my life story, The FBI Wife, I wasn’t exactly sure how many years of memories it would elicit. What to be included. What to be tossed from the memory bin. This process of sorting the memories provided me with an insight I’d not previously enjoyed. Some experiences that had originally appeared critical now seemed like a blip in the chain of events that formed twenty-one years of my life. Perhaps the most enlightening of these insights was that I learned all experiences count. It’s much like piecing a quilt. You select the fabric for your finished creation, cut it up into interesting pieces, design the overall abstraction and sew it all together. At any point in this process, the quilt can take on its own design features, much like the process of writing a long work.
No do-overs, no should’ves, no could’ves, no might’ves. In writing a memoir, you can’t decide a particular scene should have played out differently. For example, in my memoir I might have liked my husband to turn down the Colorado opportunity, but that would have been fictional. I’m currently writing a novel and love the freedom in designing scenes although sometimes the endless possibilities are distracting from where the story needs to lead.
For those of you following me on this website, I invite a two-way conversation. For this entry, I’ll brief you on where my writing adventure is taking me. I can no longer afford the luxury of taking ten years to complete a work so I am currently working on a quasi sequel to The FBI Wife, a non fiction work that examines how the unexpected influences the direction of our lives. The other work is a fictional story of a young woman thrust into unwanted circumstances. I’m closing in on a first draft of this latter book. Then the hard work begins, to create something you would want to spend your time reading.
Welcome to my new blog page. As the author of The FBI Wife I’m pleased to have you visit with me about my memoir and upcoming writing projects. This project is very special to me, and I hope to share some of that excitement with you here.
I’ll be using this blog to interact with you about The FBI Wife, expanding on some of the topics in it and blogging on some of the ideas related to my memoir. What did you think of The FBI Wife? What questions do you have for me? How do you relate to my book?
I’ll be returning here frequently with new posts and feedback responses. Until next time, tell me a little bit about yourself.