At times in my life, I’ve wished I could do all three.
When I was five, I cut the straps off my old Mary Janes and imagined my once-shiny black patent leather “slip-ons” were tap shoes. I spent hours on the back porch doing my best impression of a tap dancer.
When I was six, a grandmotherly friend taught me a simple tune on the piano involving one hand and five keys called “This is Up.” I longed to take lessons, but we lived in the mountains far from civilization and piano teachers. Plus, we didn’t own a piano. Instead, I enjoyed listening to others play.
During my Junior year of high school, Dorothy Hamill made history, winning an Olympic Gold Medal in Innsbruck. Following her performances, I imagined myself an ice skater for a fleeting moment before reality set in. I did, however, get a Dorothy Hamill haircut.
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Did I end up taking tap, piano, or ice skating lessons when I was on my own? No. I accepted the fact that some dreams aren’t meant to be.
But I had another dream. Ever since I was seven, I dreamed of being a writer. Some forty years later, I declared myself one, wrote my first story, and knew there was no turning back. I was hooked.
These days I can do things I never dreamed possible, thanks to writing. While I can’t play the piano, one of my heroines is a concert quality pianist. Another can quote Shakespeare with ease. A third can brand a calf.
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Writing enables me to experience new things and expands my horizons.
Recently, I’ve become a fan of classical music and am particularly fond of pieces which feature the violin. I thought it would be fun to include a violinist in one of my stories, so I did. The heroine in my contracted book plays quite well.
One person who’s read the manuscript was impressed with the musical scenes and assumed I play. Nope. I’ve never even held a violin. However, I did my research and was able to bring those scenes to life.
My research has included watching some gifted violinists. A year ago when I was in the midst of a major rewrite of the story, I attended a concert by world-class violinist Joshua Bell held at my daughter’s university. I admired his artistry and took careful note of his graceful movement as he plays. Last month, the university hosted the legendary Itzhak Perlman, and I was there. Joshua Bell is returning this week, and I’ve got a seat seven rows from the stage. Sometimes research can be mighty enjoyable.
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What things have characters in your stories done that you only dreamed of doing?