Here is the ultimate truism in my little corner of the universe: No plan survives contact with my seat at the bar.

I started thinking about this post yesterday.  I thought more about it last night.  I thought enough, even, to begin making a plan.  Then…

Then came distraction.


Okay, sure, streaming a German TV sci-fi show was fun.  But was it fun enough to be worth putting off this post, and losing all track of what I had originally intended to say?

Err…no.  Not really.

In all honesty, the Germans just aren’t that good at TV.  Now, give me a British comedy, or a Korean historical drama, and we can talk about shows that are well-and-truly worth it.

So, well, today I still want to write a post.  What I had planned before is gone; as gone as all those ideas and characters I failed to write down.  What I have instead is a random thought, and some history and truth to go with it.

Back in my corporate days, I had a friend with whom I used to eat lunch on a regular basis.  Technically, I suppose, she worked for me, but that relationship was so tenuous and distant on the org chart that it might as well not have existed.  No, we were friends not because of shared professional concerns, but for very personal reasons.

This friend of mine had…history.  She is one of those who had seen and done a great deal in her life, and was a better person for it.  She also had a…well, secret ain’t the right word, it’s too damned strong.  She had an area of her life that was private, for her alone.  At one lunch, however, something I said caught her ear and we found that we shared that one private area — although we did so in radically different ways.

When my friend was young, you see, she had given her newborn son up for adoption.  I and my siblings, on the other hand, were all adopted (from separate families/parents) as babies.

You can see, I hope, why my friend and I connected so well.

She was struggling, my friend.  After almost thirty years, she was struggling with the guilt and loss that she had so effectively buried when she was young.  She had done some research and found a way, she thought, to contact her son.  What did I think, she had wanted to know.  How would I react to contact from my own birth mother?



I was the wrong one to ask, back then.  I still am, I should probably add.  My siblings have been open and honest about finding their birth parents.  They have all done so, as a matter of fact, to varying degrees of success and satisfaction.  I on the other hand…

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I’ve never had any interest.  Not only would I not welcome contact, but I would be pretty damned hostile to any such attempt.

One of the hardest things I have ever done was to say that to my friend.  Oh, I prevaricated and softened.  I explained and talked and offered my siblings as alternatives.  But, beneath it all, there was no disguising just how I truly felt: the past is the past, and best left there.  I have no more emotional attachment to my birth parents than I do to a pair of old hiking boots.  Less, actually.  At least the boots shared hundreds of miles of exploration and discovery with me.

I never got to find out, by the way, just how things turned out for my friend.  It was only a few months later that I left the company to find my riches — HAH!!! — in travel and writing.*  I hope to hell that she did contact her son, and that they built a relationship that meant something to both of them.

*I’m still happier for having left, by the way.  A great deal poorer, yes, but much happier.  It comes back to that question that’s as old as mankind itself: just what is your soul worth?  There’s (obviously) more to that story, but we’ll save that for another time, shall we?

Similarly, I hope that my brother — the most recent of my siblings to trod (gently) down that path — finds nothing but happiness and fulfillment in his contacts.

For the writer, no matter his personal opinions, is there any dynamic more powerful to think and write about than such bonds of family?  The bonds of blood versus those of love?  Of shared heritage versus shared experience?  As I have done more than once on this blog, I’ll (try to) add something to the point by throwing in some words I once put into my protagonist’s mouth: “some families you’re born into, and some you choose.”**

**Not an original sentiment, I’ll grant you, but one that I hope means a bit more when you realize just where the writer is coming from.

As I’m working through the background process on another story, I find that these dynamics keep coming up.  They have, to be honest, come up in almost every story I’ve ever conceived.  They have, more importantly, been a part of every story I’ve taken past the point of conception and begun the actual writing process.

Write what you know, they say.  Write what’s important to you, I add.

You can boil all that down to an even more basic level, however: write you.

{Musical Note — hey look, to the surprise of…well…exactly no one, it was a song that influenced the creation of this post!}

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