By Lisa Manterfield
All of us here are experts on the circuitous routes of dreams. Sometimes we encounter insurmountable obstacles out of our control, and sometimes we never make it to our destinations at all. Sometimes our dreams get shunted aside, and sometimes new dreams take their place and the circuitous cycle starts all over again.
About 20 years ago, before I had even met the man I wanted to have children with, I had a dream of becoming a writer. As I lived in Los Angeles, I imagined I would become a screenwriter. I’d never written a screenplay, but I’d seen one and I liked movies, so I started writing. It was horrible. I rewrote it, but it was still horrible. I wrote another one and that was horrible, too. My writing dream went off the rails.
Finally, I realized that perhaps screenwriting wasn’t for me. I liked movies, but I loved books. So I tried my hand at writing a novel instead. It wasn’t quite as horrible, and it had potential, so I kept working at it, kept taking classes, and kept learning how to write a book.
And somewhere in the middle of that I started trying to have a baby. I didn’t know how to get myself through the heartache and frustration, except to write about it. My novel got pushed onto a siding, and I wrote endlessly about my quest to have a baby. I wrote in my journal, I wrote in my workshops, I wrote blog posts, and eventually I had enough stories to write a book. Instead of making up stories for my novel, I wrote I’m Taking My Eggs and Going Home. I started this site, and I kept writing about my infertility, and then I wrote another book about all I had learned. I was officially a writer, but it was far from the dream I’d originally envisioned.
Finally, I got back to my dream of writing fiction. It’s been a long and circuitous route, but unlike my dream of motherhood, this one is coming true. And now, my first novel A Strange Companion is making its way out into the world.
The story is vastly different from my original bad screenplay idea, and while the concept has remained unchanged, the themes of the book have been colored by my life experience. The book is about a young woman, mourning the death of her first love, who believes he’s been reincarnated into the body of a little girl. (This part is purely fictional!) But, what the story is really about is the many ways in which people deal with grief. You might not be surprised to hear that much of what I learned from infertility and other losses has found its way into the book. The assumptions people make in how we should grieve, how long it takes to get over a loss, and the slow, circuitous route to making our own way to letting go are all part of my own experience. I have to admit that the book is richer for this. In fact, I’m not sure I could have written this book without my hard-earned experience. A circuitous route indeed.
A Strange Companion comes out on April 4th. As you can imagine, this will be a big day for me. After all that has happened over the past 13 years, I am ready to have a dream come true.
The greatest gift anyone could give me is their support in making this dream a reality. If you’d like to help, please grab yourself a copy of the book. Buy one for a friend, too, if you’d like. If you enjoy the book, tell everyone you know. (If you hate it, please keep that to yourself!) And if you’d like to write a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or wherever you bought the book, that would be the most wonderful gift of all. Thank you for your support.