I am spending some time in Florida right now, trying to find time to write Finding Rachel (working title), but the setting is so different from the one in which my character Rachel lived. When we were in New York we live on the same property where she lived nearly two hundred years ago. We are just down in Florida for a while. This change in locale has me thinking about the relative importance of our own personal locales, or experiences in life, with those of our characters. How important might these things be? Locale or love of the place in the Finger Lakes area, my own connection with the land, is what made me want to find about people who lived there before me on that particular property.
After living there for many years in an old house, I finally decided to do the research. I found the woman upon whom I have loosely based my Rachel. I found she was the mother of many children and the wife of a man who had been insane after they lost property. Then I found that this property was purchased in her name in an era when women did not normally own property in their own names. Someone was rumored to have been chained in the house that was part of two houses on the property. In time I found documentation about her husband’s insanity. The pieces fit and it had to have been him. So a story is being born, and it is nearly finished. I have to believe they have spoken to me, or are speaking through me. Otherwise, I might never have become so obsessed with writing the story.
I went back to college so that I might write it better. I got my Masters Degree in Liberal Studies, with the beginning of the book as my final project. I have floundered. I have procrastinated. I have persisted. I’ve never stopped. I am driven, knowing that I must finish. Yet I get older. This is a long process. I sometimes wonder why I cannot do this more quickly. Yet something makes me wait until going ahead feels right and then I write some more. Almost always, it feels so right. Is the story good? I don’t know that I can judge. But I love her and I am birthing her story. The labor is long. It is hard. When it is done, it will feel worth it to me. She lives again some nearly two hundred years later. I have found Rachel, and in so doing, I find myself.