Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Family, Feelings and Funny Happenings

I've been sitting here trying to figure out what to write about today. And honestly nothing was coming to me. Still no news on my Cowboy story that I sent off to another publisher. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I can't stay in a state of constant... freaking out, lol. So, I check my emails a little less... hmmm... neurotically, and I hope for the best and work on my other stuff.

This week I have had family in town. And while I love and adore my family, they are a loud, rambunctious group of emotional vampires. I love being around them, but by the time I get home... I'm exhausted and ready for bed. Now imagine doing that over and over again for an entire week and then having the spector of the in-laws coming into town for a big birthday for one of my children and you'll see what my life is right now.

Among the chaos, there is fun and laughter and downright silliness... especially when you get members of my rather large Irish/German family (on my mother's side) in one house. It blows people's minds when they see all of us together, but they soon start to believe me when I say, "I'm the quiet one." No, really, I AM the quiet one. Those of you who know me are rolling your eyes, "Uh huh.... suuuuuuure you are, Kealie!" But once you see my entire family in action... it starts to make sense.

The night before last we had about 25 family members (Yes, they were ALL related to me in one way or another) gathered in my parents' house. We honestly don't need a reason, but add the fact that my sister who doesn't live here came down for a visit with her husband and children, and we have ample reason to gather and wreak havoc.

This time, there seemed to be a bit of a... passing of the flame if you will. For years my family has played a game called May I. It's a... "bastardized version" of Gin Rummy (according to my sister). We've been playing this card game for as long as I can remember. As children we watched our parents and listened to them howl and holler at each other when someone took a card they wanted or skunked the whole table by going out and leaving the others with hundreds of points in their hands. As we got older we were slowly taught the game and after the first hand you won... you were on your own. As each of us has grown into adulthood, we've progressed and excelled at the game until we had to have our own table of cards away from the adults.

At this family get-together, only the younger generation played the game, while the older generation stood by and commented or talked amongst themselves. So, me, my one cousin, my other cousin's fiance, my sister, her husband and the baby of the family, my youngest cousin who just turned 18 last month set about playing our own game of May I. Slowly, the volume grew (nothing new in a large family) and the older generation started to make some... complaints. "You're getting too loud over there!" Which would set the rest of us at the table off into paroxisms of laughing... remembering some of the more heated games of recent memory between those same people.

We did our best, but really, we're family and we enjoy poking fun at each other. My brother introduced us to his pregnant wife that night (no I had never met her before, and no we weren't invited to the wedding... things were a bit strained at first). And then convinced her that she needed to join in the game. Since the girl comes from a family of six, where she was the only girl, we figured she could handle us. At one point, she looked at the other five of us at the table and asked, "Are you sure you aren't siblings?" Considering that she was married to one of my siblings and one of my other siblings was at the table with her husband we were a bit confused. "Who?" And she pointed between me and my cousins. We had to laugh... "Well, we might as well be. We were raised more as siblings than as cousins." And that explains it all. We were raised more as siblings, we were there for every major event, we were there every month for the family get together, we were there for weddings, birthdays and baptisms... and even though there are times when I want to bang my head against the wall... I wouldn't trade that for anything in the whole entire world.

Now you're wondering what in the world this has to do with writing... nothing... and everything. My family is the reason I believe in Happy-Ever-After. I saw on a daily basis parents and aunts and uncles who shared their love with the rest of us. I watched my mother and father kiss in public and hold hands and have seen the same from my aunts and uncles. It taught me the kind of love I deserved, and I refused to settle for less. My family is the reason I can look at my cousin who has yet to find a man willing to take on a single mother with some issues and think, "Someday, I'll write her story." Because I love her, and want her happy, I will be there when she does find her One and I will share in her joy.

When a character pops into my head, I can honestly say that they have quite a bit of my family in them... whether it's a stubborn determination to refuse to settle... or a spunky heroine who feels no shame in the shape of her body because she had a family of big beautiful, women with curves. Our life experiences mold our writing. They speak to us, and through us, and go out into the world as an example of who you are and what you believe. I hope that I can make a reader laugh the way my family makes me laugh... I hope that I can put forth that emotion that I learned at the feet of the women in my family who never gave up and never took no for an answer, and in the process they raised some pretty spectacular friends that I am lucky enough to call family. That's the feeling I want to put in my stories. I'm sure you'll let me know if I fail at that, lol. :-D

Anyway, everyone have a beautiful Tuesday. I'll be hiking Valley of Fire with my family and storing away more memories to bring out and look over again... but not until it quiets down a bit around here. LOL

No comments: