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What Gloria Did on Her Summer "Vacation"
By Gloria Diaz
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Fort Wayne Reader
Iíve always had a low opinion of people who donít believe in taking time off. Iíve had a more European outlook on life, that you should work to live, not live to work. This, of course, goes over like a lead balloon when I tell people that. I guess itís completely American to want to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, until you drop dead (on the job, of course.)
Sure, if youíre Madonna, or Stephen King, and youíre actually doing what you love for a living, the concept of ďworkĒ is a little bit different than your typical social worker, or fry cook at some fast food joint. Trust me, if you work all the time, your world shrinks from occasionally hanging out with your friends to maybe seeing them two or three times a year, if that. You get depressed. You focus on your days off like theyíre drugs and youíre the junkie. Housework and yard chores take a back seat even as you run out of kitchen counter space and stomp down the knee-high grass on the way to your car (due for an oil change about two months ago).
After working three jobs non-stop for a year and a half, I decided to take the summer off from teaching. What did I do with all that free time? Well, in between working both first and second shift at my day/night job (gotta love retail) I started writing fiction. I cranked out six short stories in about six weeks time, and I was pretty impressed with the quality and the output. ďOf course you are, Gloria,Ē youíre thinking. But I am. Iím relieved and startled that I can write fiction if I put my mind to it; and some people seem to like what Iíve written. This is what can happen when you take time off from work; when your mindís not occupied, it starts to wander. And there are a number of things I thought about when writing this collection of stories. Revenge. The underdog. And people getting a dose of their own damn medicine.
I wrote a story about a woman looking back at her sixteenth year, and the diary she kept. The thing about the diary is that whatever she wrote in it, as long as it was bad, came true. The climax comes when one of her bullies dies in a plane crash. She wanted it to happen.
But I had fun with this collection; weaving certain bits from my past with ďwhat if?Ē moments, and jumping off the diving board into the stories that appeared. Most of them are rather dark; the longest one has some humor in it. So if you think you know me through my columns, you may think differently if you read some of these stories.
For a long time I didnít write fiction; I had a hard time separating myself from my characters. If I didnít do it in real life, I couldnít have my characters do it either. But for whatever reason, I took situations, said ďwhat if?Ē and off I went. I also must admit I hadnít written fiction for a long time because I figured getting published was hopeless. So I didnít even try, and for that, Iím really ashamed of myself. But Amanda Hocking changed all that.
Hocking, if you donít know, has made millions self-publishing her paranormal fiction online, as e-books. Unlike me, she kept on writing, even when the big New York publishing houses rejected her, again and again. She uploaded her stuff, sent her work to book bloggers, and the rest, as they say, is history. Iím not even going to dare believe that Iíll make that amount of money (hell, if I make enough to pay for my Internet access for a year, Iíll be thrilled) but e-publishing means that anyone can publish.
Iíd still love to have a book in print; with the print-on-demand services, that isnít impossible. Iíll have to look into that. But rest assured, the stories WILL be e-published. If nothing else, Iíll have the satisfaction of seeing my fiction in print.
And now you know how I spent my summer.