before i had a license of my own, my step-dad (toppie) would drop me off at school every morning on his way to work. we’d always listen to talk radio. “kay-oh-gee-oh, news 600,” the dj’s voice would sound in a booming voice over the radio as we tuned in to the day’s top stories, weather forecasts, and traffic reports. about halfway through our commute, the station would switch to the paul harvey show. a conservative american news broadcaster, harvey was perhaps most famously known for his “the rest of the story” segments. according to wikipedia (my go-to source for most everything): “The Rest of the Story consisted of stories presented as little-known or forgotten facts on a variety of subjects with some key element of the story (usually the name of some well-known person) held back until the end. The broadcasts always concluded with a variation on the tag line “And now you know the rest of the story.” i loved getting the “inside scoop” on some of history’s most famous (and infamous) people and events. and the way harvey laid out the details was always so captivating. story-telling at its finest, i thought.
i’ve always been full of stories. even as a little girl, i’d compose all sorts of silly tales while away at grandma’s house, include illustrations, and have them professionally bound (“professionally bound” being those black plastic binding combs they have in teacher’s lounge in elementary school). i think my mom has a few stowed away in her cedar chest to this day.
as i got older, the stories continued -most notably over the course of our 7+ hour car rides to yosemite and sequoia national parks. i was the one who entertained my step-siblings with made up adventures of “joe the blow” (famous for his bubble-gum blowing abilities). “more stories! more stories!” they’d cry. who knew where i came up with the stuff? i guess i’ve always just loved the art of painting a picture with words.
fast-forward umpteen years and i’m still writing stories. the subject matters may have changed, but the unadulterated love for recounting a tale still remains. and the more i read other peoples’ stories -whether they be autobiographical or fiction, on blogs or in print, the more i want to share my own.
i’ve made it no secret of my desire to pen a book. and i came pretty darn close to seeing that dream come to fruition a couple of years ago when i began compiling vignettes of ghosts of boyfriends past. but where i thought i would find a sense of accomplishment and pride, i only felt apathy. and guilt. and shame. and feelings no one should never have associated with a lifelong realized dream.
so i stopped writing it. i tabled the stories and the memories of failed relationships and friendlationships and everything in between. for no other reason than for the fact that it simply didn’t bring me joy anymore. i had come to resent the very thing that i had desired nearly my entire adult life.
maybe i wasn’t made for the book-writing business. maybe i care too much about what others will think or say. maybe i’m not as strong and as confident in my story-telling abilities as i once thought myself to be. maybe, maybe, maybe.
but then a friend of mine published a book of her own. and her success was just the thing to light a fire up under, well, you know where, to get me chasing my dreams again. i knew her book deal hadn’t come without a significant amount of hustling, but that was where lauryn had me beat -she was willing to do whatever it took to make her dreams come true. she didn’t stop to think of the critics (or maybe she did, i never asked her) and failing was never even an option. she believed in herself. and she wanted it more than anyone else could want it for her. and when you have that kind of drive and passion, it’s amazing what you can achieve.
so if i wanted to see my dreams come true, i had to want it more than anyone else could want it for me. i had to be my biggest supporter and cheerleader. i had to believe that the story i wanted to tell was worth reading. and, maybe most importantly of all, i had to love the story i wanted to tell enough to see it through.
and i immediately knew what i wanted to write about.
you see, as i may have already professed, writing the recaps for my time down under helped me fall in love with writing all over again. penning my travels essentially brought me back to the very reason i love writing in the first place. the story-telling element of it all.
and despite dedicating nearly a dozen whole posts to recapping my adventures in australia, there is still so much i left unsaid. names will be changed and creative license might be taken in order to flesh out the story, but at the end of the day, i want it to be a realistic portrayal of what this trip meant to me. hint: it’s a lot. in the very least, it’ll be the story i want to tell my grandchildren someday. and for that reason alone, i’m excited to write it down.
in fact, i’ve already started. 17 pages in and i’m barely onto day two. like i said, there’s a lot i didn’t cover. who knows how much i’ll end up keeping and how much i’ll end up cutting back out, but regardless of what ends up in the final product, i’m having the best time reliving my adventures a second time. and maybe that’s the most important part about the entire process anyway.
so to take a page out of paul harvey’s playbook, you’ve had a taste of my tenure in the land of koalas and vegemite, but it’s the little-known details that will (hopefully) be worth the wait. and y’all. i really can’t wait to share the rest of the story.