Stories From Under the Bed by Jill Jaynes

Jill Jaynes

I was recently asked, what do I want readers to come away with after they read my book?

Well, first of all, I’m thrilled readers read my books.

That is the point, isn’t it? To write words, stories, and put them out in a place where people can read them?

I know people who write entire books only to tuck them away in neat little coffins under their beds, never to show them to another living soul. While I greatly admire their ability to actually create and FINISH an entire book, (something I struggled with for a long time), I don’t fully understand this impulse to Never Show Another Soul.  Doesn’t this defeat the purpose of writing something down? Isn’t the written word meant to be read? If not, then why write it?

I mean, I do understand that some people have a very deep fear of being ridiculed for the work they have poured their soul into. Fear can be very powerful.

And I also understand that writing is a learning process for the writer, and there are some books that should probably stay under the bed as far as” prime time” is concerned.

But writing is a learning process, so eventually, these things must see the light of day and actually be read- by someone, at some point. (Showing it to other writers is sometimes a good place to start). That is the only way to know how good, or how bad, they really are. And to create the opportunity to actually become a better writer- to learn what you could have done better, then try it.

I’ve written stories since I was a child. I knew that someday, I’d write a book. I tucked that dream under my bed and it nearly died in its neat little coffin, buried under the weight of daily life ticking away in years. Luckily it revived and reminded me it was there. One thing about this dream, though. It was always to write a book so people would read it.

Maybe it’s more natural for me to take this view of writing because I have a performer gene. I have a bit of musical talent, for both singing and playing an instrument, which I’ve gone to some trouble to cultivate. So the idea of getting up in front of an audience and displaying (exposing) my talent (or lack thereof) is something I’ve always accepted as part of the “artistic talent” deal.

And writing is a lot like music. Music must be played, it must be heard. Writing is meant to be read. It’s part of the definition of the thing itself.

When someone reads the words I write, the words become more than arbitrary ink marks on white paper. A whole world, a whole reality, springs to life in the reader’s mind. Directly from mine.

Stephen King talks about this kind of amazing connection between the writer and the reader that completes the circuit of telling the story. Like a live wire, always waiting to make contact. The reader can experience this shared reality regardless of the distance of space and time between them and the writer. The words are the notes, music waiting to be played.  Written to be heard.

I write so people can read what I wrote. I write for you, the reader.

And the answer to the original question is I hope you, my reader, come away with a combination of what I put into my book when I wrote it and what you bring to the book when you read it. That you find something that rings emotionally true to you in the story. I hope it makes you smile and I hope it makes you want to read another one!

INSPIRATION…where does it come from?

I’m often asked where my ideas and inspirations come from by family members, friends and new acquaintances when they find out I’m a writer. My answer—everywhere: when I travel, just out and about, or reading travel and cooking magazines. I take pictures galore to remember settings and save articles that have piqued my interest.

Here’s an example. My professional background is in the field of real estate. Whenever I’m in a new town or city, I pick up the local real estate magazine showing homes for sale. I flip through the pages, look at the pictures and read the listings. I usually fall in love with at least one or two of the homes. One time I read the intro for a property that went something like this:

Nestled in the stately ponderosas, this 5,000 square foot cedar and redwood home weaves modern comforts with endearing rusticity. A huge stone fireplace graces the living room area, while high ceilings and glassed dining area show off breathtaking views. Five bedroom suites provide warmth and elegance, with most rooms overlooking either the lake or the forest. In addition, the 30 plus acre parcel provides a wealth of outdoor activities. This is one of the finest homes ever to come on the market. Priced to sell quickly. It won’t last long.

I can tell you my imagination went wild. I started to think about a heroine who needs a fresh start. She reads an advertisement (like the one above) on a real estate website and decides then and there to put in an offer to buy the property (sight unseen of course). When she arrives she finds that yes, it is nestled in the stately ponderosas, but the modern comforts are not endearing at all. In fact, they look to be from the 1940’s. And so the story begins.

My niece took a picture when she was in Oregon and sent it to me of train IMG_2593tracks leading into the woods. And I was off on an adventure. Might hero or heroine be returning home after running away years before??

One day I was out walking at Downtown Disney by the Disneyland Hotel and I saw a man talking on his cell phone by the gated swimming pool area. I started to think, was his wife sitting by the pool watching their children and wondering if her husband was again talking to the office or worse, his mistress? Was this the last straw?

I’m working on a new project I was inspired to write when a friend sent me a picture of a lighthouse on a charming little island. This one will have a bit of suspense and I will be blogging about it occasionally as I go through the process.photo(2)

I wish you and yours a glorious 2016! I hope it’s filled with relaxing days reading your favorite author and a few new ones.

Jann Ryan

Power Spot vs. the Write Place

In 1929, Virginia Woolf wrote and delivered her famous lecture “A Room of One’s Own” to an assembly of university students in which she states that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

A notable amount of analysis is in print about the themes suggested by her lecture–the five hundred pounds, women’s access to education, women’s writing, writing about women, and so on.  I won’t go there right now.  However, what I found amazing is in 1929 the value of 500 British pounds equaled approximately $30,000.00 US dollars; today the value is around $300,000.00.  What confounds me is $30,000.00 was a LOT of money at that time and how she could think the average woman could enjoy this amount of security.  But then, Virginia Woolf came from a well-to-do family and her husband, Leonard, had money and a printing business.  I don’t believe she ever worried about money.

Virginia Woolf's DeskBut, I was most interested in Virginia’s writing place which was situated in a little cottage of sorts out in the garden behind her country residence in Sussex, England.  Simply furnished, she sat at a plain desk in a plain chair with her favorite pads of paper and pens spread out  before her.  This was Virginia’s  “power spot.”

While researching for this blog post I searched the Internet for information on your “power spot” and I discovered that—simply—it is that special place where you feel most like yourself.  The place (inside or outside) that makes you feel secure and comfortable.  Where, as you are settled in, your creative ideas burst forth.  Where you “must” be in order to accomplish your best thinking, etc.

I have that spot.  No, it isn’t in the “room of my own.”  Katie's DeskMy Elfa office were I have everything I could want to be a productive writer.  My desktop computer, printer, scanner, music, reference books, whatever waits for me.  It waits, and waits and waits.  But, I just can’t sit in there.  No matter what I tell myself.  No matter how hard I try, it just doesn’t “feel” right when I’m there.  I have concluded that—for me—the main reason I avoid it is this perfect writing place is because sitting there reminds me too much of my real job—the one that I have been going to for almost 35 years.  Word and Excel all day long, filing, emailing, proposals, presentations, etc.  Get the picture?

Power SpotInstead I take my laptop to my “spot” in my comfy living room on the left side of my even more comfortable sofa.  This is where I can view the outside and where I enjoy my bookshelf.   It is said when you keep coming back to the same place it literally creates an energy vortex around it. Absolutely true.  Whenever I sit there I definitely feel the energy.  I get ideas.  I write.

As much as I am convinced of the perfectness of this idea, my theory was recently challenged.  I was mousing around the other day and landed on a unique blogsite called “Wellness for Writers.” A contributor stated that it wasn’t a good idea to spend too much time in one spot.  I panicked.  It seems my “power spot,” my “creativity place,” my favorite place to sit and write might not be such a good idea after all.  According to the post, unless you force yourself to get out of your comfort zone your creativity will suffer.  When you get too comfortable, too secure in your “place” you miss out on all the challenges and adventures life holds for you.

So, now what do I do?  It does make sense.  (I’m going to sit in my “spot” and think about it.)

Katie Keelor