Sunday, March 08, 2009
Milestones by Sharon Lathan
On the day my guest blog posts, my daughter will turn 21. No doubt at all that this is a huge milestone in her life; one that she will remember with fondness always. We plan to take her to San Francisco for the weekend – so if I am not around to answer questions or respond until the 10th, please forgive me. But these momentous events cannot be ignored, even for the launch of her mom’s debut novel!
To be completely honest, it wasn’t until the second week of January as I began plotting my work/guest blog/interview/life schedule on my calendar that it suddenly dawned on me that my precious baby girl would not only be having a birthday smack in the midst of my own milestone moment, but that it would be her 21st. Wow! What kind of a mother am I? The kind, thankfully, that has a wonderfully supportive and understanding family. Without them I would not be celebrating this milestone at all; which, of course, is all the more reason why I need to make sure my daughter is the center of attention for hers.
It was as I was considering all of this that my mind turned to contemplating the milestone moments in our lives. Most of us immediately point to the obvious ones: graduation, getting married, birthing our babies, special birthdays, and so on. But what about those moments, those occurrences that become momentous only in retrospect? Can they still be a ‘milestone’ in the strictest definition of the word?
I am thinking of the day when I was begged to temporarily transfer from my position in pediatrics to fill an urgent need in the NICU. I did it reluctantly, but within a month I had discovered my niche as an RN. Now, 25 years later, I know that was a milestone decision. Or there was the day I stood freezing on the Santa Cruz boardwalk being introduced to a man I barely glanced at because I was too busy shivering. Eventually he would become the love of my life, and my husband of 23 years. Surely a milestone.
Or perhaps a turning point?
Whatever the chosen term, each of us could list dozens upon dozens of such instances in our lives where a unique change occurred in our lives. We may not be able to recall the precise date, but later we remember the circumstances, even if it seemed unremarkable at the time.
Such was the case for me on the day after Thanksgiving in 2005. I walked into a movie theater with my daughter and best friend. We wanted to see a girlie movie and Joe Wright’s adaptation of “Pride & Prejudice” was playing. I remember that my friend was not so enthused since she is a major fan of the BBC version, but I had no prior exposure so was excited to see a sweet love story that also happened to be a period drama. I loved it! I left that theater extremely satisfied, all warm and fuzzy, dying to consume anything Austen I could get my hands on, and aching to see it again - but without the slightest inkling that my life was soon to take a radical turn.
Nevertheless, a milestone of sorts had occurred.
The details of how I went from rapturous movie viewer to rapturous published author can be read at my website, but the simple fact is that a whole new pathway opened up for me on that day. Through that movie and that love story I discovered a buried gift: I could write! I became consumed, obsessed, relentless! It was beautiful, thrilling, astonishing! I burned to tell the story of the Darcys. I yearned to relate my vision of them growing in love, of their experiences as they traveled through life, of their day-to-day activities and milestone events.
Perhaps my own journey through the ordinary and extraordinary occurrences of life was an added inspiration. This thing we call ‘life’ is one marvelous ride; filled with decisions and dramas and conversations that may change our existence. Or maybe not. Exciting or mundane, life can be fun, and it is that fact I attempt to celebrate in my sequel.
“Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One” is my debut novel, the first in The Darcy Saga series. For Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth the milestone moment of exchanging vows has taken place. Beginning hours after the ceremony, my story begins as they embark on their honeymoon and covers the initial five months of marriage. It is a tale of incredible love between two people. It is a tale of the happenings, one after another, large and small, that constitute how two souls bond together as one.
As I write about the Darcys and their friends I am continually amazed by how incredibly diverse and surprising life is. I am struck anew by the complexities and transitions. And I compare that to my own life.
Fundamentally I am the same. I still do the dishes, clean the cat box, grocery shop, nag at my kids to pick up their clothes, work the night-shift at the hospital, etc. I am content with those aspects of my life. I did not dream of something BIG coming my way. Indeed, it totally caught me off guard, but…Oh! It is wonderful! How amazing it is to pass time in an activity one loves!
And now I am writing a guest blog essay as my gorgeously bound novel sits on Target book shelves across the US. By the time Yankee Romance posts it my name will be all over the place as my words are (hopefully) being read by hundreds of people. Can anyone doubt this is a milestone? I don’t. And I am very happy to share the spotlight with my daughter, remembering that her birth was one of the most momentous events in my life.
Thank you Terra for allowing me to guest on your fabulous website. I am having such a terrific time talking about my novel! I invite everyone to pop over to my website at: www.darcysaga.net to read all about my journey and the series that is a result. I welcome emails and feedback, especially the positive kind!