Steve Meador is the author of Throwing Percy from the Cherry Tree, a poetry book that was an entrant for a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. He is widely published in online and print journals. He has been a real estate broker since the early 1980s and currently lives and practices in the Tampa, FL, area.
Friday, November 19, 2010
A column that was printed in Boomer's Today Magazine.
I am beginning to wonder if this whole writing thing is taking me in the direction I really want to travel. It has been brought up a couple times recently that my work has taken, or needs to take, a different tone and feel. My wife and a female friend have both played the female-factor card.
The friend was the first to make an observation. “Your writing is much softer lately. It is an indication that you are getting in touch with your feminine side.” SAY WHAT!!?? We had a healthy discussion during which she explained that my whole life has been a manly experience, me being the explorer, hunter, provider, father, etc, etc. Excuse me if I’ m wrong, but that is what a man does and continues to do until he reaches the end, and then he goes out fighting the big reaper. She told me that the soul has to balance everything out before the end comes, that compassion, caring and nurturing are coming to play. I have been all those things my whole life, why would she think they are rearing their ugly heads now?
My wife took a more tactful approach. She nuzzled up to me and said she just knows that I can write something equal to The Notebook or The Bridges of Madison County. According to her, authors Nicholas Sparks and Robert James Waller have the ability to think like women and that allows them to produce the tearjerkers that the (I want to say weaker here, but dare not) lovelier and more gentle of the sexes enjoy reading. That translates into big sales, movie deals, and lots and lots of money.
She is not sure if those two are in the female-thinking mode all the time, just during their writing moods, and, here is the kick in the rump to me, she knows I can jump into that persona in order to write something just as good.
Could it be that the more intuitive sex has latched onto something about me? Or, more scary, actually see something latent in me that I have been suppressing my whole life. The answer is a big John Wayne, Richard Widmark, Steve McQueen NO! Heck, I can write like a woman anytime I want. I can be touchy-feely. I just have a hard time letting go of the old days, when a cowboy would go on a cattle drive and return more of a cowboy than when he left. I want athletes who play like Y.A. Tittle in a 1964 game, after which one of the most incredible sports photos ever taken was snapped—a beaten and bloodied man kneeling in the end zone (go google, you’ll see!). I want to catch a catfish, gut it, run a stick through it and roast it over an open flame and call it fishkabob. Well, I can still do that, but I am afraid of the pollution in the river.
After all my daydreaming and reminiscing, if I have the time and inclination, then I will get in touch with whatever feminine parts I have and write that bestselling, blockbusting American novel, and lots of female readers will bawl their eyes out.