Writing About Home

Home is this week’s theme.

On a writing podcast called Write from the Deep, they talked about how every writer has a catalyst for their story, and how many of their stories might have the same catalyst. And I realize that the catalyst for all my writing is this: being forced to leave home. The few novels I’ve written all have to do with a character being torn from her home (as opposed to leaving willingly) and forced into an undesirable situation, with the one goal being to return home again. Why is this an ongoing theme for me? Why can’t my protagonists be heroic and leave home on their own accord to save the world and slay the dragon?

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I think it has to do with me being a missionary kid.

Like a military kid or a preacher’s kid, a missionary kid spends a lot of time traveling, moving from place to place and having various “homes”. In the USA, we lived in several different towns (and states), but I had one main home in the Andes Mountains where my family always returned to when we got back on the mission field. Saraguro, Ecuador will always hold a tender piece of my heart, and even though I could never really see myself living there in the future, a piece of me sometimes longs to go back. But maybe it’s more of a longing for childhood. A longing for the life free of worry and responsibility.

So my characters in all my books start out in their homes that they love and never want to leave. But they’re forced into situations where they have to leave without a choice, and the rest of the book, their long term goal is just to get back.

Because maybe a piece of me still thinks that after this roller coaster ride we call life, all the uncertainties and newness of being a mom and paying bills, I look back to the place where I grew up, my home, and think someday. Someday I’ll go back.

I won’t. I know I won’t.

But the child inside me thinks she will.

QOTP: What’s your catalyst? What’s one ongoing theme in your stories that all your characters seem to experience because it’s an experience that’s affected you on a deep level?

5 thoughts on “Writing About Home

  1. Such a good post! Something really interesting to think about.

    It must have been hard, moving around so much, not being allowed to feel settled for a long time, having to start over, meet new people, continually be put out of your comfort zone (at least that’s how I would feel… I don’t mean to put words in your mouth ☺️)… But it seems all that has been/could be redeemed, into your stories. You are able to convey those hard feelings so well, and also the process of overcoming the reluctance to leave/accepting the new path.

    I haven’t written a lot but am thinking about what catalyst might already be coming through my story… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. most of my stories involve someone important to the main character dying and then setting that character on some kind of path to find healing. Funny thing, That has never happened to me!!! I have written 4 manuscripts and a half (during NaNo) and out of the 5, four have that same catalyst lol.

    Creepy.

    Other WIPs though, don’t have that same catalyst. But I think going deeper than the someone-dying thing, is the fact that there’s a girl/guy that the person can’t have for whatever reason and the story goes from there (MC 1 pursuing MC2) which actually HAS happened to me so….maybe that’s my catalyst??

    Great post, thanks for the thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read this post the day you posted it, but had to set it aside as food for thought. I realized today what my catalyst is, and how it has affected my writing.

    I was born 13 years after my parents had their “last” child. It was unexpected and almost miraculous. At six months, I almost died from a blockage just under my stomach but, amazingly, healed on my own without any need for surgeries. Doctors are still stumped by it. All of this kind of cemented for me that God had me alive for a reason. Through the years, I’ve had difficulties that left pretty deep emotional wounds, but I’ve survived them all. I’ve outlived people I loved deeply. My father died when I was 13, my grandma (who lived with us) died on my 16th birthday. I’ve survived loved ones turning their backs on me. And through all of that, I keep surviving because I just keep thinking God must want something of me. Except that I never make anything of my life. I’m a writer, but I don’t write. I’m trained in video-making, but I don’t make videos. I’m an artist, but I don’t create. I love to act, but I don’t ever audition for anything. And work to make something of my life? Nope. Too lazy. Too scared.

    So my characters always have tons of potential, but are afraid to use it. They make all the stupid choices in life that I would make, were I not so scared to lose my loved ones. They are deeply flawed and always emotionally scarred by something. They always have a purpose they must fulfill, because destinies are crazy and weird, and I love seeing/creating the unforeseen twists they take. And they tend to outlive their loved ones, because nothing challenges your notions of life and death and what’s really important like losing someone you hold dear.

    And I know all of this sounds tragic and a touch dramatic. It’s one of those days. Most days I’m happy with my life; it is, after all, a beautiful and charmed life. It’s only some days that I wonder if maybe I should stop living vicariously through my characters and write my own life story a little more boldly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an amazing story. Thanks for sharing. You’ve been through a lot, and it’s encouraging to see how God brought you out of the fire. You have so many experiences to draw from for your stories! It’s hard for me to write about my life, or to write anything nonfiction, but if you feel inspired to do it, I’m sure your story would speak to a lot of lives!

      Like

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