To all my current and future #DCSPeeps (DECIDE, COMMIT, SUCCEED), welcome to my new series in my continuing effort to inspire, amuse, and entertain you! Each Monday I will select a new word to analyze how it might apply to our writing lives and also give you a peek into my childhood growing up in the swamps of southern Louisiana, so kick back, put your feet up, and check out my story about TODAY'S WORD:
I grew up surrounded by animals. Just about everything that crawled, swam, or walked, found it's way into my childhood at one point or another.
When I was about 12 years old, one of my pets was a chihuahua mix dog we had had for many years named Penny. She was a sweet, tolerant animal...but then again, she had to be with four children always vying for her attention.
As she grew older, she tolerated the peskiness of a pure bred chihuahua named Chi Chi we added to our family, and even my poor attempts to teach that old dog some new tricks. Penny always tried to please me and would eagerly run to me whenever I called her name.
But one day, my poor dog developed a case of MISTAKEN IDENTITY that brings a smile to my face whenever I think of it.
Back in 1974, Elton John released a single titled "Benny and the Jets" (https://youtu.be/p5rQHoaQpTw). If you've never heard of it, it was a weird, catchy tune, but then all of his songs were great to dance to when you're a kid. I would take my transistor radio outside in the back yard to hang out with Penny and every time that song started playing, I would crank up the volume as high as it would go and wait for the chorus.
My poor dog would hear Elton John and think he was calling HER, instead of Benny, and she would take off running for the radio...barking at it every time she heard "Benny"...as if to say "I'm here! I'm here! Can't you see me?"
I'm pretty sure poor Penny was glad when that song fell off the charts and wasn't played any more.
We writers sometimes deal with MISTAKEN IDENTITIES as well.
Sometimes our main characters aren't really the main character at all and it takes a good critique to shine the light on who is really driving our stories.
Sometimes we send out submissions and classify our story as a new age when it's really a steampunk...or a middle grade when it's better classified as a young adult.
And sometimes we even classify ourselves as a failure just because we haven't been published yet. We think we have a MISTAKEN IDENTITY by daring to call ourselves writers on those days when our negative thoughts cause us to doubt our own abilities to weave a story.
But we need to be more like my dog, Penny, and at least SHOW UP every time those ideas call out to us. We need to hang out with them for a while and see if, just maybe, it wasn't a case of MISTAKEN IDENTITY at all, but more of a new way to see ourselves...even one day to be able to call ourselves by our new identities as published authors!
Children's book author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a 'ninja' writer of children’s picture books, chapter books and young adult novels by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books. She is also a book reviewer for Harper Collins, and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. Donna is a lover of dark chocolate, time at the beach, and good stories.