Sometimes carefully laid out plans made are meant to be changed.
Life’s straight lines are too often blurred by situations we didn’t plan to confront.
Let me explain.
A few months ago I was happily writing “Squirrel on my Head and Puppy in my Pocket.” This animal memoir details the many thrilling adventures I have experienced while rescuing abused animals as well as being the “mother” of 40 animal babies. (A baby I rescued last year just happened to be a tiny baby squirrel. I raised her to be self-reliant and she is now living in the trees, as squirrels should, although I would prefer that she be living in my house!) You can see a cute photo below of Princess playing with one of her little toys. She was very pampered, and followed my every step, thinking I was her mommy. I miss her still and everytime it storms, I think about my little squirrel baby and hope that she remains safe.
Animals bring such joy to our lives, but there were lots of stresses too, for along the way I met some unsavory characters who used animals for profit, resulting in the most horrific abuses upon those animals. Such situations tear away at my heart and soul, for I have the kind of attachment to animals that puts me directly into their world. I feel that I’m in their little furry bodies, seeing what they are seeing and feeling what they are feeling. When animals suffer, I suffer. I feel myself to be that animal. That’s why I can’t turn away from animal suffering, because I FEEL what they are feeling.
I know that sounds a bit bizarre, but that’s just the way it is.
In the middle of writing this animal memoir about my life of loving animals, I sat down on the morning of May 25th to pick up the story when something unexplainable occurred. A woman took over my mind, and by that I don’t mean to imply that I had an out of body experience, but the memory of a courageous woman who had survived the most horrific ordeal imaginable came to me, and without thinking about it, I found myself opening up a new file on my computer. I tentatively titled it “The Prison Circus” and I started to write. It was as though my brain could no longer hold on to the story, and the memories came to me and my fingers started moving and before I knew it, I had seven pages typed. (I consider five good pages a day to be a day of successful writing.) And those seven pages were nearly flawless. (Like most writers, I generally sweat over every sentence, reworking them time and again, but the seven pages were just as they should be.)
From that moment, I stuck with the “The Prison Circus” writing a tension filled story about one of the most courageous women I’ve ever met–and believe me, I have met some brave women during my years of travel and writing–if you have read any of my books, then you have read about these women.
While writing this story about a woman who overcame challenges you will find hard to imagine, my heart told me that it was one of the most important books I would ever write.
And now the book is nearly finished and I wait to see if one woman’s story of survival against all odds, is as important and compelling as I believe it to be.
So much of a writing career is waiting. And so I wait, hoping that others will feel the importance of a story I’ve never been able to get out of my mind.