Monday, December 26, 2011

The Year of the Rabbit as a Concept

Have you ever needed a creative outlet to help you cope with tragedy or personal challenges? I have. For many years.  

The Year of the Rabbit, A Novel about Fate, Family and Forgiveness provided me with a creative outlet as well as a structured approach to a goal and a dream.  

The title represents hope, respect for traditions and the conquering of fears.  While conceiving and nurturing it, I was able to balance creative freedom and basic project management skills.  Yes, The Year of the Rabbit for me was a concept as well as a project.

This post will focus on the concept.

Events in the 1999 Year of the Rabbit forced me to be more assertive yet maintain a level of compassion and personal sanity.  I sought ways to improve my family’s home life while living with financial uncertainty under a cloud of oppression.  The four years prior and after that year were some of the most difficult in my life.  I won’t dwell on that influence in this post.  You can read about the novel and writing as therapy in another blog.  

Short stories I wrote began to evolve and provided a welcomed creative outlet.  
I pondered and wrote poetry on the concept of time. Short story characters charmed their way into my imagination, encouraging me to write them into a novel.   It was a personal quest that started as an idea in 2007, a way to distract my concerns of the reality of being a single parent and knowing that in five short years, my attacker would apply for parole.   

I wrote many journal entries, asked many questions and explored different belief systems. I read my share of “self help” books.  I declined suggestions by friends and acquaintances to write about my own life altering experience.

During my explorations, Buddhism was one belief system that appealed to me the most because of its respect for the natural world and encouragement to lighten one’s load.  Although the woman’s role seemed limited in monasteries and Buddhist communities, I was still curious. Due to an overly creative monkey mind, I was not yet a good candidate for meditation.  I enjoyed movies like Enlightenment Guaranteed and Up in the Air.  

Writing, editing and sharing drafts of this novel provided me with opportunities to connect with other writers, published authors, to re-open myself to friendship and trust.

As mentioned in the project angle, there were delays and disappointments.  Yet in April 2011, I released the Print on Demand edition of The Year of the Rabbit, A Novel about Fate, Family and Forgiveness under the pen name of Florence T Lyon.  There was no way that I wanted my married name on my new creation.  For the curious, Florence T Lyon is a pen name that represents a renaissance and a philosophical crossroad. I had accomplished a major feat and arrived at a “crossroad” along my difficult journey.  

The reader feedback for the PoD version was encouraging.  Over the next few months, I corrected chronological inconsistencies and grammatical oversights.  In September 2011, I released the eBook version.  

Visit where you can follow links to enjoy draft excerpts, reader comments and other blog entries.  

As for the missing chapters for the years in-between, they will become a short story collection that I hope to nurture, plan and release in plenty enough time for the 2023 Year of the Rabbit.  For the next couple of years though, I have to focus on practical goals.

Yes, I was born in the Year of the Rabbit, the same year as the novel’s main character, Sera Fletcher.  We both were able to tackle demons through reading and writing.  Sera though succumbed to rage when encountering one of hers for the last time.  I relied on the pen (or keyboard) as my weapon and as an escape.  Forgiveness though will be a long time coming.

Thank you for reading this far.


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