When I was about 14, I was a serious student in several honors classes. In homeroom I sat near a girl from the popular crowd. Let’s call her Diane. For some reason Diane carried my picture in her wallet. I was thrilled. Until I saw what she’d written across the bottom: Persimmon. At the time I didn’t know what a persimmon was. A sour fruit, a friend said. Years later I learned that persimmons are actually sweet and quite tasty. But at the time…
Diane thought I was sour? I was devastated. Silly as it seems now, I carried that pejorative image with me for years, berating myself for my lack of humor when I thought I was too serious. Never mind that I sometimes laughed until I cried and often made my friends smile.
Then there was Larry, a man I worked with. I’d just earned my MBA and had landed a job in the finance department of a bank. Larry was one of those guys who smile while they sling cutting remarks your way and do what they can to make you feel inferior. Because I was no longer a 14-year-old girl, I refused to put up with Larry’s b.s. My work proved him wrong, and several times I told him to shove it. Which shocked and even silenced him for a day or two. Still, the man and his comments rankled, and I spent more than a few sleepless nights, wondering if maybe he was right.
I’m sure everyone can relate. There isn’t a person among us who hasn’t been insulted or hurt and emotionally scarred by someone.
Where is that biach Diane now? What’s mean Larry doing these days? Who knows, but you can bet she got hers and he got his—at least in my novels. When you’re a writer, you control the world you create. Some characters triumph, and others fail. I don’t mind sharing that both Diane and Larry have suffered fictionally for the pain they caused me. Sure it’s all made up, but in dealing with them through my writing, I was able to work through my hurt and frustration and move on.
I think that’s pretty darned cool.
The Pilot's Woman, March 2008, a Romantic Times top pick!