by Fran Rizer
A few weeks ago, I shared some of John Floyd's hints and tips about writing for Woman's World. Today I'm adding one of my own tips, not just for WW, but for all creative writing. First, please travel back in time with me.
Many, many years ago, not long after my divorce, I fell madly in love with a smooth-talking charmer. He said he'd been divorced once and had custody of his two teen-aged sons. My boys were five and ten at the time, and a man with custody of his kids fit right into my ideal–someone who was family oriented. He was financially secure and lived in a beautiful home right on the lake. We went to his older son's football games. We took all four boys places as well as having romantic weekends when both sets of sons were with their non-custodial parents. Head over heels, gloriously in love, I accepted an engagement ring and his marriage proposal which came one night on the dock fairly quickly after we began dating.
He called me when he read the letter and began with how shocked he was because he didn't know I knew such words. When that didn't elicit a response from me, he apologized for the lies about his past but denied seeing anyone else. When he said, "I love you," I hung up on him and didn't answer any more of his calls. (Thank heaven for caller ID even back then.) He began waiting for me outside the school where I taught, but I turned my back to him, got in my car, and drove away. Don't know what I would have done if he'd followed me--probably driven straight to the police station.
No, I'm not writing for True Romance. I'm headed toward a lesson learned, and yes, it has to do with both personal and professional writing.
Five years later, I ran into that first love after my divorce and being far beyond any caring or hurt or anger, I had a cup of coffee with him. We talked about our children and shared a friendly conversation.
As we stood to leave, he pulled his wallet from his pocket and along with money to pay, he took out a folded piece of paper--a piece of paper with angry red words. He'd saved that letter. At that moment, I vowed to never again send anyone anything I'd written before holding it twenty-four hours.
Here's the tip: Like a good steak, writing benefits from a rest period.
We teach that stories need conclusions, so here's the conclusion to my opening tale. The last I heard about him, he was on his tenth marriage and his older son was creating a track record very much like his dad's. Children learn what they live (and so do writers).
Until we meet again, take care of … you.