Growing up in South Florida, I spent a lot of time outdoors (and not a lot of it with my nose poked inside a book). While generally creative, my first love was drawing with only the occasional venture into writing. However, upon entering a creative writing contest in fifth grade—and winning!—my creative outlets were forever altered.
It wasn’t until after college when the real desire grabbed hold. And when it did, I remember the day. Literally propelled from the sofa en route for the computer, I was inundated with visions of a teenage girl riding her bike, waves of long auburn hair blowing in the breeze as she sped off to God knows where. Mind you, I had no idea where she was going or who she was, only that I had to follow. So compelling were these visions, I had to start writing—something.
That something turned into my first novel, Ryan’s Inheritance. It’s the story of a mother-daughter relationship gone wrong due to miscommunication, lack of understanding and the unfortunate reality that repeating the cycles of behavior demonstrated by one’s parents is inevitable—unless we specifically choose a different path. Sadly, many women will repeat the mistakes of their mothers. They’ll experience the same pain, the same regret; not only for themselves, but ultimately as they gain perspective, for their mothers as well.
Human nature is what it is and if we don’t consciously choose to break the pattern “inherited” by following our parents’ example, we will be destined to repeat their mistakes. I learned this the hard way. Falling in love, marrying because it was the “natural next step,” I never stopped to think about how I might do things differently. And my mother, well, I don’t think it ever occurred to her to teach me otherwise.
Through the years, subsequent novels followed suit and became a narrative on women’s issues; infidelity, securing the perfect husband, dealing with deep-seated insecurity tucked beneath otherwise beautiful lives and exploring the limits of our sexuality.
It all sounds great, but publishing is a tough business and I’m a “slow learner.” No one in the romance industry wanted to touch these books because number one: the early versions were plain novice writing and not up to par and number two: I was inadvertently trying to sell women’s fiction to the romance industry. Doesn’t always fit. Different genres, different criteria… Women’s fiction novels are sometimes messy and don’t always have happy endings.
Fine. I accepted the premise and moved on. I continued to write because these stories needed to be told, if to no one else than my own daughter. She’s eleven, but one day she will read them–if she values her life! :)–and I will be content. Like many writers, I write, because I love to write. I need to write (easily able to pass hours at a time without so much as a nod to the world at large!).
But more than enjoyment, I write because I want to make a difference in the life of my daughter. No different than most mothers, I want to do my best to help her avoid my mistakes, the mistakes of my contemporaries. Yes, she’ll make mistakes through life (human nature 101), but I feel preparing her for life’s potential pitfalls is part of my job as her mother.
Managing expectations can be half the battle. Realizing failure makes up the other half and is just as important. Rejected one too many times myself in the course of my writing career, I took a hiatus from the craft and headed for the garden. “Step away from the beast,” I thought, and gain some clarity. That was the plan, anyway. But once embedded between rows of vegetables, weeding and tilling and otherwise having a grand old time, my mind drifted, wandered…
Flew totally out of control, actually! Before I knew it, I was drawing similarities between men and plants—all kinds of analogies started popping into my brain! Crazy stuff, fun stuff. And what does a gal do when these ideas start flying?
No, she doesn’t swat them like insanity. She blogs about them! And my next adventure was born; BloominThyme.com ~ where real life gardening meets real life relationships. It’s gardening made easy with fresh recipes, kids fun and of course–relationship humor.
Creative sorts cannot be stopped, you know. There’s no such thing as failure, only results. Those of us driven to create will “create” wherever we land. It’s a simple fact of life (for us). Granted, my energies have landed in places I never imagined, but I follow. I have no choice.
Today you’ll find me at the computer or in the garden, toting kids to and from school or shoot, I might even be hanging out at school—in the garden! Kids love to garden, you know. Lucky for me, I’ve crafted all my creative outlets into one on-the-go-life.
With the release of my first novel, “Jennifer’s Garden,” I’m reminded that life is what you make it. Stay true to your dreams and they will stay true to you. (If they don’t, hunt them down and bury them in the garden. Makes for great compost.) For those concerned with the passage of time, let me assure you—I’m no spring chicken—the time will pass anyway. Why not enjoy yourself? Do what you love, love what you do. It really is a great model for living.
Dianne Venetta is the award-winning author of contemporary romance and cozy mystery novels, including Jennifer’s Garden, winner of Best in Romance for 2012 Indie Discovery Awards. When not knee-deep in romance, she contributes gardening advice to various websites and publications and has been featured on GalTime, Huffington Post, Earth Eats (Indiana Public Radio), eHow and Ideal Home Garden among others.
She lives in Central Florida with her husband and two children. When not whacking away at her keyboard you’ll find her in their organic garden chasing grasshoppers and plucking hornworms all while drawing wild analogies between kids and plants and men. Definitely men. A girl’s gotta have fun, right?
Dianne also enjoys volunteering in school gardens and has begun a children’s series chronicling her adventures called Wild Tales & Garden Thrills (writing as D.S. Venetta). It’s a crazy existence to be sure, but at the end of the day, if she can inspire someone to stop and smell the roses–or rosemary!–kiss their child and spouse good-night, be kind to a neighbor and Mother Earth, then she’s done all right.
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