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Let’s Pretend

By On Apr 14 2010, 1:00 pm

When I was a kid, I used pretend I was Indy’s girl and I would go on globe-trotting adventures with him and get into all sorts of mishaps. At the elementary school playground, all the structures were wooden and there was this wooden bridge which made for excellent adventures. My best friend and I used to act out the scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where Indy cuts the bridge in half and Willie screams her head off. And then they all slam against the rock wall and Indy is at the bottom and he’s trying to climb back up to the top with the stones. Except in my story, I would be the damsel he’d have to rescue from the evil Mola Ram—who really wasn’t evil, you see, because he drank the black blood of Kali to make him that way.

As I got older, the “pretending” became moving pictures in my head. Pictures I had to write down. And because I was completely bored in Freshman English with a teacher that droned on, I started writing. Once upon a time…there was a princess who had an evil uncle, the Duke of Westchester, who locked her in a tower. Until a knight in shining armor came to rescue her… And that knight just happened to look like a young Harrison Ford circa 1986. What can I say? I had a thing for the man.

I wrote my own space adventure where Good had to defeat Evil. I remember sitting at my desk in my room with my lamp on, burning brightly, while I furiously scrawled the story on wide-ruled notebook paper. Front and back. Just over two hundred hand-written pages. Two hundred! I can barely sign my name now without getting a cramp.

After that, I toyed with the idea of becoming an actress but I was too crowd-shy for that.

Some people are lucky enough to pretend for a living—they’re the ones that became actors and actresses living out adventures on a movie set. Others of us, we pretend in our heads and write down all our adventures. Others who didn’t turn to acting or writing and continued to pretend…we’ll, I’m pretty sure they ended up in the loony bin somewhere.

But are writers really so different? Trying to get published is a long, tedious, painful, awful process. But we do it anyway. Every time we get a rejection, we go back for more like a glutton for punishment. You know why? Because we ARE nuts. We believe in ourselves. Our writing partners believe in us. We keep writing and trying. We push ourselves to the edge, write the stories WE want to write, make worlds WE want to live in. We write and write and try and try until ONE day, one special day, we get that call or email from the agent or editor who said yes.

I got the 15th “no” the other day. Am I giving up? Hell, no. Will I continue the rocky roller coaster ride? Hell, yes. Why? Because writing is fun. Writing lets me become all the things I wanted to be when I grew up. Writing lets me continue to pretend.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some make-believe to tend to.


12 Responses to “Let’s Pretend”

  1. Lynn Rush says:

    Great post. Never give up. Never, never give up.

  2. Vicki Batman says:

    Hi, Michelle! No never give up. I too play “Pretend” and have a blast. Keep it up.

  3. Linda Burke says:

    You mean other people don’t make up stories in their heads? How strange. See, we’re not strange, they are.

    Great Post
    Linda Burke

  4. Michelle says:

    Thanks for stopping by, ladies! :)

  5. Lisa Kessler says:

    Great blog Michelle!!!

    Thank god we only need one Yes, right? LOL

    The rejection sucks, but sharing stories and the magic of words makes it all worth it…

    Lisa :)

  6. Lainey Reese says:

    Wow! You GO girl! Never give up! Never surrender!! that’s my motto…thanks to Galaxy Quest ;) - and I will live by that no matter how many no’s I get. After all, I never got paid before I worked up the guts to try and get published…so what’s the difference?

  7. Daria Drake says:

    Go, Michelle! Do you still have that handwritten space opera? I bet it would be fun to read again!

    When I was in high school, my best friend and I attempted to write a novel around Han and Chewie’s early years, starting with when they won the Millennium Falcon from Lando in a card game. Crazy… ;)

  8. Great post, Michelle! And totally right… writers ARE nuts. Every last one of us, but it’s the good kind of crazy. ;)

    What happened to that wide-ruled notebook? I can’t imagine writing 200 pages. Wow. With that kind of perseverance surely you’ll succeed! Woot!

  9. Michelle says:

    Daria: Sadly, I don’t have those early written pages anymore! I don’t know what happened to them. And that’s so funny about your fanfic! I used to write Bladerunner, Star Wars, Star Trek and Indiana Jones fanfic. I’m sick. :)

  10. Never say die, right? You’re an inspiration, Michelle. Thanks for spurring us all on!


  11. Thanks, Maeve, for stopping by! :)

  12. Dawn Chartier says:

    Hi Michelle,

    You are sooooo right…We are nuts! haha…

    Great post.


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