It’s not uncommon for writers to use their work to express their fears. This is true for me as well. The Gabby Wells Thriller series is infused with my internal struggles.
Gabby faces a lot of serious crap in these novels, stuff no 15 year old should have to face. She’s a bit broken by the loss of her mother. She’s insecure about opening up her heart and being vulnerable. And she questions God’s plans for her, especially when they contain no small amount of suffering.
That all comes from me.
In many ways, I’m a pretty open book, pun intended. I love pretty easily. Because of that, I’ve been hurt pretty easily too. In my youth I didn’t understand how people could be so callous at times, so unaware of the pain they were causing me. So, I became cautious about with whom I opened my heart. Too cautious, really, and I’m certain I inadvertently pushed away people who wanted to love me.
They say with age comes wisdom and how I manage my heart is a perfect example of that. I have found a happy balance between being vulnerable and shielded at the same time. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but it works for me.
Like Gabby, I’ve lost family members. My oldest brother died twenty years ago and both my parents passed in the last decade. I know the void that is left by their absence. I know the pain, the prayers you hope are reaching them and the sadness when something unexpectedly reminds you of them.
And I’ve known plenty of suffering. Dealing with Crohns disease for nearly all of my adult life, it has been a constant companion of pain and struggle. It has nearly killed me a couple of times and I have faced numerous complications during difficult recoveries.
I’ve also experienced doubt in God’s plan for me on many occasions. I have openly expressed my anger to him, irritated when he says no to those things I care most about. I have wondered what my life could have been without all of the suffering and limitations my disease has brought me, how fulfilling if my heart weren’t so tentative, and how more holy I could be if I lived with greater acceptance and less pride.
I express these fears and challenges through Gabby’s life. Her loss of family is based on mine. Her reluctant heart is based on mine. Her suffering and doubts are based on mine.
That’s what writers do, I guess.
Gabby learns, as I did, that suffering doesn’t mean punishment, but an opportunity for faith. Like me, she complains about the selfishness of others while being unaware of her own. Like me, she learns to trust the path, especially when it seems like the dumbest idea in the history of dumb ideas. Like me, her protective nature never leaves her. Like me, she finds it nearly impossible to replace those who have left her life. Like me, she strives for heaven no matter how often she fails.
My fears are on paper. I guess that makes me unoriginal, as far as writing is concerned. And I’m okay with that.