Lori: Rick, who are you as a person, versus an author?
Lori: Rick, who are you as a person, versus an author?
The holidays always threaten to wrench me from my purpose--on Thanksgiving and Christmas the emotions and expectations of my extended family run high--but this year the holiday's were particularly hard.
Just. Plain. Hard.
Not because of what I've lost. I've come to terms with that. But because I've finally figured out (after weeks of prayer and introspect, scripture and blog reading) what I need to do. And, in addition to gathering and honing courage, I've learned that this quote (one of my all-time favorites) by Marianne Williamson rings true--painfully true--for me:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
This January, cold and foggy, I am grateful for those who have traveled the path before me. For their courage in liberating themselves from fear. I am following, running to catch up. I will get there.
The other night a talented poet in my critique group shared several of her poems. Her words left me breathless. I was stunned by their beauty and power. I related to several of the lines in a very intimate way. They made me think. They made me want to cry. They set my heart on fire. This woman captured feelings that I have experienced. Emotions that are still locked inside my soul. I admired how she breathed life into her underpinnings of her very being and allowed her innermost thoughts to take flight on the page.
I hated the fact, the knowledge, that it’s so difficult for me to do the same.
When I was a kid I was told, “Children are to be seen and not heard.” Through years too numerous and painful to count, daggers of condemnation pierced my heart. I learned keeping silent was safe. But when the danger passed, my words were gone. I literally had a hard time even speaking.
Writing was out of the question.
Old habits die hard.
Slowly my words are returning. A cookbook--that was safe. No danger there. A few short stories, essays, and blog posts. Frightening to fish around inside myself and throw out what I discover. Yet it is becoming increasingly apparent to me that every word I write is a step. Small, but a step all the same.
One thing I never envisioned for myself was writing poetry. I knew the words poets use--the words I would need to use to be a poet, if indeed I could hope to learn the art--were too dangerous. But last fall I stepped out of my comfort zone. I did the unthinkable. I entered a poem in a contest at the county fair.
Is There Anyone Left?
Is there anyone left who will fight
For what’s good and what’s right and what’s true?
Who, facing derision, makes firm the decision
To wage battle ‘til all wrongs are through…
Not genius by any measure. But a six stanza offering all the same. My words. And, much to my surprise, the piece won an award.
It’s a start.
Maybe the next time my critique group meets I’ll find the courage to share the poem, and some of the others that are flapping around in my mind. Words waiting to take flight.
Who are you as a person, versus an author?
Ronda: I’m a musician (soprano soloist and beginning piano teacher), a wife, mother, and whatever my LDS church calling is at the time. I’m also my husband’s sidekick, which means that since he’s an extreme “do-it-yourselfer,” I participate in those activities as well. Here’s a short list: we’re building our dream house almost completely on our own with the “pay as you go” method, we maintain a small farm, and we travel whenever we can. Skymiles are our friends.
Do you seek to educate or entertain?
Ronda: Both. I really try to help my readers feel as if they’re right there with my protagonists, but I also believe the best novels are those I learn life lessons from, the ones that make me think about something I never have before in just that particular way, the ones I grow from. Those two things are what I try to emulate.
Where do you write your best stuff, and when?
Ronda: I write almost every morning as well as throughout several evenings when the house is quiet. I do my best work in the quiet, but since solitude isn’t always possible, I also write whenever I get the chance—waiting at the doctor’s office, etc. About ten years ago, I used to have a set schedule, and that worked well for me at that time, but now. . . let’s just say I now adapt writing time to my changing schedule.
Why do you write?
Ronda: I first knew I wanted to be a writer when I was in the 6th grade. My English teacher had been reading S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders to the class, and when she reached the section where Johnny urged Ponyboy to stay “gold,” I realized I wanted to write "golden” words just as Hinton had. More than that, I wanted those words to encourage the "golden" in others. That remains one of my goals.
What do you read? Why?
Ronda: I read a lot of different kinds of books, but my favorite genre is romantic suspense, as long as it’s “clean.” I like the combination of thrills, chills, and love. If the book has other genre’s mixed in, like fantasy or mystery, that’s fine, too.
Vanilla or chocolate?
Ronda: If those are my only choices, I’ll choose chocolate, but if you had something else, like Blueberry cheesecake chocolate chunk, I’d have to choose that.
Laptop, PC, Mac, longhand, other?
Ronda: Laptop, PC, longhand. That’s what I have, so that’s what I use. I write final versions on the PC, but if I’m sitting in the car waiting for someone, I write longhand in a notebook. If I’m on a business trip, I use the laptop. The point is, I write with whatever I have available to me.
What is your current book?
Ronda: My first LDS mystery, MISSING, was released in October 2009. It’s a fast-paced novel about a BYU-Idaho student who first sees then tries to save a missing child while she’s on a choir tour in British Columbia.
What's coming up?
Ronda: I’m finishing another romantic suspense/mystery, but this one has a hint of fantasy in it, too. It’s different than anything I’ve ever written before, but I’m really excited about it. I’m also gathering ideas and organizing my third novel.
One piece of advice/wisdom for the world?
Ronda: Hold on to the goodness that’s inside you. I believe if everyone in the world would let that goodness overpower lesser feelings, evil would soon disappear. Yikes! I think I’m starting to sound like Sandra Bullock wishing for “world peace.”
Dogs or cats?
Ronda: We have a dog, cows, and goats, but the truth is, I’m not really an animal person. My husband is.
What do you want to be remembered for, or as?
Ronda: A good person who helped others.