Some days, I feel like a circus act, juggling a set of knives as I walk the tightrope, praying I don’t come crashing to the floor. But the truth is, I’m not employed by the Ringling Brothers. That job may be easier, to be honest.
I am the wearer of many hats, the jack of all trades, the queen of my castle. I am a wife, the mother of two active boys, a daughter and a sister in a family that is tight-knit and demanding, and a dentist. I wear all these hats daily, piling them sky high in a balancing act.
But, if you lean back far enough, you’ll spy the sparkly pink hat sitting at the very top. It has ‘writer’ written across the front and it belongs to only me.
Most mothers can sympathize that with the joys of marriage and motherhood, comes the sometimes devastating loss of oneself. It isn’t new; we all experience what it feels like to fade into the background of our lives, answering the needs of everyone else, forgetting that we too are human and need to be seen. I am no exception.
Growing up, I was bursting with creativity! I wrote poetry and music, joined the band, won contests. It was exhilarating and gratifying. But as life propelled me forward, the daily stresses of bills, work, kids, relationships, muffled that place in my mind where music flowed and the words spurred to life. I became agitated and unhappy, uncomfortable in the new skin I wore because truthfully, it felt foreign.
No matter how deep I looked, I couldn’t find any remnants of the spunky young girl that could weave you to tears with her voice. Instead, I found bullet points of who I was now: wife, mother, daughter, sister, dentist.
It was thoroughly suffocating.
I’ve always been animated. When I speak, facial expressions fly across my face in succession with the movement of my hands. One day, after I’d done a retelling of an event, a friend of mine leaned forward and said, “Neg, you need to write a book.” At first, I giggled, thinking the idea was preposterous. How would I write a book? I knew nothing of novel writing, and I sucked at all things grammatical. There was no way! Or at least that’s what I thought. But the ever familiar itch to find myself deepened as the days past, buzzing into my fingertips with the urge to lay across the keys. Two weeks later, in the spur of the moment, I grabbed my laptop and began.
How do you find the time to write a book?
I get asked this question ALL OF THE TIME. To which I normally respond, “I have no clue.” Truthfully, I don’t. There’s no clever schedule written in my pocket calendar that gracefully designates the hours in my day to allocate a few for writing. I don’t have a nanny that takes my kids and lets me lock myself in the office, typing away. I don’t have a magic wand that makes time stand still, while I try to piece together the words of my next novel.
My days usually look like a jumbled mess of half-finished projects sprinkled among real-life requirements. There is nothing graceful about it.
Much of my writing happens in the in between.
My laptop is a constant companion, small enough to fit in my purse. And I use it, every chance I get. In the hour before pick up after my errands have been run; in the half hour before the chaos of the bedtime routine begins; at work, in the five minutes a patient goes numb; during my lunch break. Whether it’s a few words, a handful of sentences, or an entire scene, I write, picking up where I left off in a string of moments throughout the day.
And I love it!
Stories are everywhere. I find them in everyone I meet. My family, friends, and co-workers. In the patients that spend time in my chair, or the parents that sit on the bench in operatory 3 as I work on their child. Everyone has a story, and in them, I find inspiration. Whether it be about their marital struggles or the awesome vacation they took to Europe, I can find tiny puzzle pieces to build a picture from.
Sometimes, the pieces even come from me. Without even knowing it, I pour moments of my past into the words on my screen and find that it’s strangely healing. That horrible heartbreak, or the betrayal of an unfaithful friend. It’s impossible to keep myself off the pages of the world I build. I’m not sure if any author really wants to. Because how could I get my readers to believe if I’ve never felt those feelings before myself?
There’s nothing quite as fulfilling as writing a novel. The ability to create characters and weave a story feels oddly like I’m playing master of my own little universe.
I may not be creating the next Grammy worthy ballad, but in my novels, I’ve found a space that is only mine, one I can do with as I please. In the words I splash across the white screen, I’ve found myself again, reconnecting with the spunky, little girl of my past.
I’ve found a way to be free.
FORBIDDEN BY FAITH
Sara knows her life would be easier if she married a man of her faith, but when has love ever been easy?
Raised by her immigrant Iranian parents, she’s been taught that a good daughter makes decisions based on her family’s approval, and she’s spent most of her life in their good graces. Until she meets Maziar, and her world is turned upside down.
An instant electricity ignites between them, and it seems like fate when she discovers he’s also Iranian. Just as her mind begins to soar with the possibilities, he shatters her hopes.
Sara is Muslim. Maziar is Jewish. Will faith tear them apart?
Despite centuries of unrest behind them, Sara and Maziar embark on a forbidden love affair, attempting to navigate through cultural and religious prejudices.
Deep within the trenches of their battle, Sara finds herself more empowered and careless than ever before, but will her love and newfound life be worth the ultimate cost—her family?
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