When Circumstance Ruled

Ever known a person who mapped out their life’s path and moved along it without a stumble or never have wave of calamity batter them? Neither had I. But such is life, right? It suffers a nasty reputation of being contrary. Heartache and pain and disappointment are dispersed between the joy and wonder. Those contrary elements I consider the tempering fires. One soon learns to survive by expecting the unexpected; by storing the experience in the forefront of their psyche for future reference. These experiences, the good and downright miserable, become bright gems of inspiration for a writer.

As for that map . . . Did I ever consider becoming a writer? Hell no. Never even kept a diary. In hindsight, a brilliant decision. Too dangerous for someone with a fertile mind, as I would have laced the boring facts with gobs of scintillating fiction. During those first twelve years of scholastic incarceration, I wrote short stories and poetry by choice rather than academic requirement. Over those years, my ambitions moved from becoming a high school gym teacher to an Olympic field hockey player for Canada, and then a psychologist who used horses to turn around the lives of people failing to cope with being human. Never reached one of those goals because circumstance ruled, and I never fought for what mattered to me. The exception was four years of selfish endeavour to attain a double honours degree in behavioural sciences while in my early thirties.

Years later, three of life’s great swells of disaster pulled me under and crushed me. That event became my shove toward writerdom. Desperate for a creative distraction, I entered a short story competition in a community paper and won. There it was, in black and white, for all subscribers to read. In that same paper, a “writer’s wanted” advertisement from The Shuswap Writers’ Guild caught my eye. It was a sign, right? Destiny called. In my brief time as a member, I tested my aptitude as a writer. Thus began a long journey to hone my skills. That year, I developed the courage to enter a short story in the Shuswap Writers Festival competition. I was gobsmacked when they announced the winner. The Kindle Tablet was nice but inclusion in their anthology topped the shine of the trendy gadget. Published twice. No way! I’m not just a writer, I’m now an author.

A guild member, Mary Nyland, jumped on my delusional thinking. She threw down a NaNoWriMo challenge. “Short stories are easy, write a book,” she said. Finally, I found a way to put that psychology degree to work. A psychological suspense, INVISIBLE When Shadows Call, was born. The flotsam in those massive, crushing waves inspired, became the fuel which drove the story and sent me down the path of novel writing. It cast me into an uncertain world filled obstacles and potholes and tested my sanity. A world evermore filled with rewrite. . . edit. . . rewrite. . . And I’ve never been happier.

Everyone receives a series of great shoves throughout life. It is how we respond that matters. What was yours? How or why did you start writing? How far have you come on your journey? I’d love to hear about your baptism.

Thanks for listening. Cheers.

S. C. Roberts