Now that NaNoWriMo is upon us I have decided to try and finish at least one of my several stories that are all in some stage of development. I am not sure if I will push to write the full 50,000 words or if just finishing at least one of my stories will be the most that I accomplish this time. Either way, I want to have that sense of accomplishment.
For the past year, I have begun at least eight different stories. There is a reason, different in each case, why I haven’t finished any of them. Mostly it is because when I have written about half of one story, I suddenly get this awesome idea for another story. If I don’t stop writing the first one and at least write up a synopsis of the second one, I can’t concentrate on the first one because my mind keeps wandering off to the second story. Then I find that I am having such a vast amount of good ideas for the second story, that I just have to write a few paragraphs, which turns into chapters, and before I know it; I am waist deep into my second story, which is when I begin having ideas for a third story. So far, I haven’t stopped writing a story due to the realization that it is not as good a story as I first thought. I have, however, stopped writing because I realize that the story is so good that the plot I was going to spin the story around is not worthy of the characters that I have created. This has only happened once, but to continue that story, I am waiting until I can think of a better plot.
So at this moment, I am trying to write a fight scene. As I mentioned previously, I am not very good with those. I was staring at the screen wondering where to begin, when I realized that one of my problems was that I didn’t know if I wanted my hero to kill his adversary or not. It was not a moral dilemma, as I have no problem with a man dying in battle in any of my stories, but it was more a question of whether I wanted the guy to appear later in the story. I am still not entirely sure about that. So, about the fight scene, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to envision it enough to do it justice. I decided to ask my son to envision it and tell me what was going on while I furiously copied down all that he said. He even acted it out for me. So yeah, my son gets copyright on the fight scene.
Writing my stories, I have discovered some interesting things about myself, even remembering events in my past that I had totally forgotten. I find that I am not as enamored with the tedious writing process since I find that I can’t write as fast as I can think, but I really do love the envisioning process of developing a story. I also find that it is much easier to write a scene with guns than it is to write a scene with sword fighting. Of course, that is because sword fighting is something of an art, whereas almost anyone can shoot a gun with little to no training. Hand-to-hand combat is even harder to write than sword fighting. Well, at least it is for me.
Speaking of guns, I have a true story to tell that frankly I had totally forgotten about until just the other day. When I was about fifteen years old, my father gave my sister and me each a gun with a box full of bullets. Let me back up and say that a couple of years before that my older brother had taken me to an outdoor shooting range. There were probably ten guys there all shooting an assortment of guns. For a couple of hours, I just stood there watching while my brother shot at a target tacked onto a few bales of hay. In order to check his progress, and change his paper target, he had to walk all the way over to the bales of hay. He kept changing guns, and the last gun he tried out was a six bullet revolver. As an afterthought, he decided to let me try my hand at shooting. I shot once and only once, and then we immediately left the range. I didn’t find out until years later that the reason we left so abruptly was because, with my one and only shot, I hit a perfect bull’s-eye. My brother was so chagrined, since he hadn’t gotten a bull’s-eye during the whole afternoon of shooting that he didn’t feel like shooting anymore, so we left.
When my father gave my sister and me each a gun with a box of bullets, it totally took me by surprise. I really had no wish to own a gun. My sister was several years older than me, and I thought that since she was an adult, she probably was old enough to own a gun. I wasn’t sure about myself, though. My father took the time to explain the gun to each of us individually. He took us out into the countryside, and we each shot our guns a couple of times. My sister’s gun I think must have been a six-shooter. Mine was the cutest little gun that could only hold two bullets at a time.
I was never quite sure of my father’s reasoning for giving us each a gun, but it was obviously for personal protection. As it turned out, that very first night my sister had the opportunity to use her gun. She woke up at about 4 a.m. and heard voices just outside of her bedroom window. Just as my father had instructed us to do, she issued a verbal warning first. She said, “I have a gun, and I am not afraid to use it.” The soft murmuring voices stopped for a moment and then continued, now louder and laughingly accompanied by stupid taunts. My sister pointed her gun out the window, aiming for the moon, and let off four shots into the air above the guys’ heads. Six men ran off into the dark, muttering about stupid, insane women. Although successful in scaring off the men, I think the incident scared my sister so much that she gave the gun back to my father and refused to keep it.
I, on the other hand, kept my gun for several years and never fired it, ever. What is funny is that I carried my loaded gun everywhere I went, with the safety lock on, of course. I would either tuck into my waistband, or into the pocket of my dress. I especially liked to have it with me if I went out on a date. Walking home at night, I would sometimes cut through this little park that was known as a place where people went to hook up. In fact, it was the place of employment for a prostitute. The park was not really a “park” in that it was not kept up. It was just an overgrown empty lot with a few trees and lots of bushes and tall grass. It was the size of two city blocks and had absolutely no electric or artificial lights. There was a footpath that went across it diagonally. I almost had to use my gun there once.
I came through there alone at about 9 p.m. and was confronted by a scruffy looking character. He wouldn’t let me pass by him, and I was just thinking that I was going to have to threaten him with my gun, but then my future husband just happened to walk up behind me. The guy fled when he saw my tall, tough-looking friend. My friend / future husband asked me why I had not drawn my gun, and I explained that I was just reaching for it when he showed up. I eventually left the gun behind when my husband and I moved to the states; it is not easy to travel internationally with a gun no matter how small it is. I never saw it again. I never took a picture of my gun, but it looked similar to the below picture. You can’t tell how big it is from that picture, but I would estimate about 6 or 7 inches. It was small enough to comfortably fit into my dress pocket or the small of my back without anyone noticing it if I wore my shirt un-tucked.
It is strange now to think about it. I haven’t thought about it in decades. At the time, I thought it was normal for a father to give his daughters guns, I guess. My brothers each had several guns and as far as I know they never shot anyone. Well, except for my oldest brother did once, but the guy didn’t die, and you would have to read his book where he tells about it.
Anyway, it is funny that each of us, even my father, separately came to the conclusion not to carry guns. Not because we are afraid of them, but we came to realize that if our trust is in our physical weapons, then we are not truly trusting in God. Besides, we would rather be killed, than kill someone else. I am not so sure that I would rather be raped than to shoot someone, if I could be sure that I wouldn’t kill him. It is a tough call. Ultimately, I think I would rather trust in God than in my own ability to wield a weapon, though.