Welcome to Author Wednesday. Today I welcome Christina Carson who is the author of literary fiction and writes a guest post on her decision to write in this genre. She writes about her philosophy of life, which offers us thoughtful considerations on how to live and re-vision our lives. Her first two novels are Suffer the Little Children and Dying to Know.
It’s Never Too Late
By Christina Carson
I have had a love affair with poetry most all my life. My mother introduced me to poems as soon as I could read. I don’t know why for she wasn’t a reader. I never remember seeing her with book in hand. What Mum needed, however, was someone to share wonders with, and I became that child. Poetry, birds, and flowers were three such marvels we often explored together.
“Christina come read, come listen, come look,” were three invitations she issued with regularity throughout my childhood, quietly and subtlety imbuing me with a love of the world around me and words to describe it. The early poems we read weren’t literary, just simple rhyming ditties that captured an incident or moment in ever so few words. That was the part that fascinated me, how few words it took to express yourself, if they were the right words.
You’d think that should have been a fine start for a writer, but from that point on, my life resulted in a litany of choices contrary to those prescribed for someone who wanted to write novels. I studied science not literature. I read non-fiction, not fiction. And even now, I’d choose poetry over a novel in a heartbeat. Had I blown it, I wondered? Did I wait too long? It all began to feel a bit daunting. Were there any advantages to where I found myself?
Then I thought, well yes indeed, there’s age. Yes, I said age. For all the complaints we’re taught to focus on regarding years put in, there is one thing of great value – perspective, that golden fleece of our olden years; old dogs though worn are wise. For like good poems, which find their way to the point most quickly, the maze of life had just kept getting simpler and straighter with each year I’d lived. The only problem I had was that I had narrowed my focus to one endeavor – exploring life’s big questions: what are we and why are we here. That focus had cut a rather unusual course for my life, keeping me to the outside of much of what mainstream found interesting. It got trickier still when I came up against genre. Good grief, another set of lines I found myself outside of.
Necessity is the mother of invention, however. I wanted to write. I wanted to share what I had come to learn in forty years of wrestling with those big questions and make use of the sometimes frightful experiences that search had dragged me through. So it had to be Literary Fiction for that gave me the latitude to write about whatever the hey I wanted with only one stickler – you needed to be on down the competency scale. I figured I could contend with that variable. One can always learn. Thus, I began stories about people and the circumstances in which they found themselves on the many roads I’d travelled, but with one twist. I included a new perspective, one that offered them an unusual way out. When you see through the drama of life to the truth behind it, you realize life was never meant to be about suffering or tragedy or even death. I wanted to write about that realization. Fiction became the obvious choice because curiously, it created less resistance in the reader to these uncommon ideas. Rather than the reader’s primary focus being on defending their point of view, they’d get caught up in the story and the characters and begin to watch these people ease themselves out of difficult situations, often utilizing an arcane frame of reference. Yet, before the reader knew it, something that would have otherwise appeared strange had become a bit more probable, more possible through seeing how it could actually come about.
My curiosities about life have ensured my on-going investigating, and have led to my structuring each novel around a question that I want to explore. Suffer the Little Children asks what it is we do that drives our children from us. The query driving Dying to Know concerns finding another way to health and wellbeing. And the soon to be released Accidents of Birth trilogy probes the true nature of unconditional love.
So, here I am, sixty-seven years old, enjoying yet another career that nourishes my awakening, my love of challenge and my thrill of meeting those who read my books and see possibility for themselves. You see, it’s never too late.
My thanks to Patricia Zick for giving me this opportunity to spend time with you and offer some points to ponder.
About Christina Carson – I was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, when it still looked like the verdant farming country of England. Horses and dairy farming were prominent, and I chose horses. Educated as a scientist, I was a child of the 1960s, and one of the outcomes of that was my stance as war protester. Leaving a Ph.D. program and America in 1968, I settled in western Canada and fell in love with the wildness of the country and the tolerance of the people. The cold was a tad stunning, however. I’ve been writing nonfiction and poetry as long as I can remember, but eight years ago I began to write fiction. In 1996, I came back to the States on the arm of a Vietnam veteran. Now there’s a story for you. Presently, I reside in Alabama with my husband, also a writer. Neither the adventure of life, its wonder, nor what it has yet to teach me seem anywhere close to an end.