Questions in a Moment of Loss
By Lexi Ander
I'd like to thank Blak for having me on her blog today. It is a pleasure being here. *curtsy* :)
When Blak reminded me she needed a blog post from me, my sister and her family were visiting from Texas. I knew I wouldn't be able to get around to creating a post until they left. When they did I came down with a terrible head and chest cold. I was miserable and really not able to do any writing or editing because I just wanted to crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and sleep my cold away.
So I was laying there, attempting to hide from the dastardly virus, hoping I wouldn't get bronchitis and trying to figure out what I wanted to write an article on. It's funny because I wrote dozens in September. When October rolled around I was ecstatic that I didn't have to write anymore because I was out of subject matter. Laying there I knew there were dozens more topics to write about but nothing came to me.
So there I was attempting to self-edit Striker before I sent it out to the beta readers before planning what I wanted to write for NaNoWrMo. I chose three projects to complete. (Optimistic aren't I?) I will write a sequel to Playing for Keeps and complete the story Fated. Both were freebie stories donated to Good Reads M/M Romance Group for their Love Has No Bounds Event.
Then I added a third story.
I started Soulless a little over a year ago. I stopped at halfway for various reasons and haven't yet finished the story. So I dusted it off, sent what I had to a Beta reader for feedback. Even though I didn't make any notes on the plotline like I usually do, I recall vividly what the plot was about. The Beta had a very strong opinion about one of the plot points and the reason I called the story Soulless.
Every writer infuses something of themselves into the stories they write. I am no different but with Soulless I took an event and a cruel life lesson and gave it to my character, Nico.
When I was very young, no more than seven or eight my family lived in a small cow town in the Panhandle of Texas. Before settling there, my parents moved all over, never putting down roots. But I needed to start school, so the summer I was five years old my parents settled.
This was in the late 70's. My Dad got a job driving a semi cross country and we didn't see him but every couple of weeks. Mom stayed home and took care of me and my two brothers. When you are that age you don't know you're poor unless someone says so. I was blissfully unaware of how destitute my family was. I was a kid. All I wanted to do was play outside in the dirt and make friends.
I don't remember how we came to have a dog. She was a mutt we called Penny. My brothers and I adored her. The thing was, we couldn't afford her. One day, my dad loaded us up into the Ford put the dog in the backseat with us and we drove to the country. I won't go into details about what happened but needless to say we didn't come back to town with Penny.
I'm amazed sometimes when I listen to my cousins talk about not having many memories before the age of ten. My first recollections started at eighteen months old when my dad helped me to fly my first kite. My head is full of memories from that point on and I cherish each and every one of them. But what happened to Penny, that memory is one I wish that I would forget. It still haunts me all these years later but my dad's words afterwards changed me.
When I asked why, the answer was we couldn't afford to feed her. Even though I did and didn't understand that concept quite yet I accepted the answer. When I asked if I would see her in heaven, he said no. He explained that only people go to heaven. Animals didn't because they didn't have a soul. My dad told me what he firmly believed and being as young as I was I took that as the gospel truth.
The way I viewed the world changed, a certain innocence had been stolen from me. I no longer attempted to become close to pets or animals because my heart had been broken twice when I lost Penny. I never wanted to experience that again.
It took years and years and—my husband—to make me question what I had been told that day. Do I still believe it? Absolutely not. Granted, it took some time for me to discover for myself what I believed. My dad told me 'his truth' whether or not he should've shared that truth with me at the moment has been hotly debated.
From time to time I think about Penny, the older I am the deeper the pain of her loss. I have a clearer understanding now than I had back then. So I carry Penny in my heart, missing memories I didn't get to make with her. When I started Soulless, Penny was heavy on my mind and she became woven into the story with Nico. Much of Nico's breaking from his father's beliefs mirrors some of the moments in my life when I searched for an identity separate from the one given to me by my parents.
I think everyone has that one moment that causes us to think differently, to reevaluate what we believe and why we do. The lesson I learned from mine was to question everything and then to make up my own mind. My dad told me what his father told him, and I imagine grandpa told dad what his father had told him. With me, the chain was broken. What I didn't know was that my questioning my father's belief also changed him. I've heard him tell his grandbabies that animals go to heaven now. Even though my dad and I are very different people, it is moments like those that I am proud of him.
Thank you for stopping by and reading!!
Author Website: www.lexiander.com
Thank you for the sharing such a wonderful post, Lexi. And, I wish you the best, always. Blak Rayne
Purchase Link: http://www.lessthanthreepress.com/books/