Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Great American Novel



When I graduated from college with a degree in English, I was a literary snob. Not only that, I wanted to write the great American novel. Something to resonate through the ages, ripening over the expanse of time. You know what I mean - an Oprah pick.

So I began. Fingers to keyboard, mind open to exploration, a thesaurus at my side.

And Gertie Johnson arrived, filling my head with her personality. And the story began. Crusty, unpredictable, expanding her vocabulary with a-word-of-the-day, basically goofing off. Where did this come from? And it most definitely wasn't going to be the great American novel.

Oh, well. I'd have time later for the 'real' stuff. So I wrote what my editor told me was a cozy. And I continued to write more of them because it was fun. But something was missing. I felt kind of...well...silly for writing humorous romps instead of emotional sagas.

Until one day...
A letter arrived.
From a woman with breast cancer, who was going through the painful process of chemo, radiation, the works. She said only one thing could make her laugh throughout those scary months. And that was my Gertie and her stories.

And I so I really did write that great story after all.
At least for one woman.
And that's enough.


The End