I was homesick. That’s all. Nothing exciting or earth shattering. Just homesick. So I started to write. I sat at my computer and transported myself home anytime I wanted to. It was satisfying. But not sufficient. I wanted to share these feelings. (Ahhh, the arrogant assumption that I was interesting to others!) But misery loves company and if I was going to be homesick, I sure as heck was taking others with me. Turned out it didn’t take much. I found kindred spirits on Facebook ex-patriot pages, on homesick blogs, in song lyrics, in grocery stores, restaurants, airports. I wasn’t alone.
My first attempt at a ‘novel’ was nothing more than a rambling, rather morose, description of Exmoor in England, the place still closest to my heart, despite my thirty-year absence. There was no plot to this novel, no character development, no considering the audience. Just wistful me, sitting with my eyes closed, trying to recall every detail of the sights, sounds, and smells of a place sorely missed. It was more a recapturing of the sense of home, a reminder of why I wanted to be there. But it certainly wasn’t a novel. It was, however, the beginning of something.
My default setting: humour. So the morose had to go. The flowing descriptions had to go. The setting had to be beautiful, but real and jolly. There had to be quirky characters and, of course, a cheeky pony. We’re talking Exmoor after all. And so, Dunster’s Calling was born.
The manuscript is now in the hands of my editor; a truly terrifying thought. Someone else is going to walk through that door and see my attempt at recapturing my home while trying to entertain; while trying to elicit thoughts of home in kindred spirits. From wanting to share to wanting to hide in one click of the mouse. Will she get the humour, British as it is? Will she cry when she’s supposed to? Will she be entertained?
And in the end, will it matter? This novel has done its job already. I know where my home is. And I got to live there again, for a while.
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