About Marlayna James
Could you live with a small child, who had forty imaginary friends – names, interests, clothing and features, all laid out?
Don’t feel awful if you answered ‘no’. Marlayna James’ mother couldn’t either.
…..At that age, though, what would she actually write? Marlayna glued paper together to form books about talking vegetables at the supermarket and solved their dilemmas. The young girl wasn’t a fan of illustrations, never wanting to be an artist, so she chose vegetables because they were the simplest to draw, a circle here and an oval there then throw on a few squiggles for eyes and a mouth.
…..In her subconscious, at three or four, she must have known it was what she needed to do, create worlds for diverse characters to live in. The inexperienced girl wouldn’t begin her exploration into writing until she was seven or eight.
…..She was one of those children, the enthusiastic one who busily sharpened her pencil, anticipating the phrases ‘you’re going to write an essay‘ or ‘summarize the history of the cotton jenny‘. Marlayna would write and shred it, then rework it and wrote it again. It was never quite perfect enough!
…..By the time she rushed into her teens, she started composing poetry on an old typewriter her mother had brought home from work. She would remain until it exhausted her and her eyes clouded with sleep, then wake the next morning and stare at it some more. Nothing could keep her from this passion, except maybe boys.
…..She shoved and forced her beloved typewriter away and it wouldn’t be until nineteen before she realized; Miss James is a writer. It’s all she ever wanted. To be the best-selling author on Oprah’s stage, gossiping about her latest book, her characters, and how their worlds escaped the pages and lived in readers’ minds. It would be epic!
…..Marlayna was confident in her ability and inventiveness, stoked to attend a full-time program. It would grant her the opportunity to explore herself, learn from her peers and receive assignments, which would challenge her personal boundaries. The now young woman took every entrance exam, ensuring no college would slip from her grasp, and then waited, not patiently, for her funding appointment to arrive. She strode in with her head held high, confident and embracing her new beginning. She excitedly described her dream to the career mentor, ‘here are my results’ and ‘here’s my passion’, a career in journalism or English. Marlayna would never forget the words the counselor spoke to her. ‘That’s the dream, but here we deal with reality‘. She couldn’t tell you verbatim how the rest of the conversation went. Miss James was reeling from the blow her dream took as her stomach tried to retch. Basically though, ‘I’ll find you a career that steps you in the direction of your dream, let’s explore office administration‘.
…..It was evident, evident that the mentor would not recommend her funding if she continued dreaming of journalism or English. Marlayna, an unmarried mother of two, couldn’t afford to turn down any education, regardless of whether or not she preferred it. Beyond shattered and damaged, Marlayna took what the counselor offered, weeping.
…..It probably does not surprise you she plunged into a depression, so cavernous, painful and black, that she could not discover her way free. The notion of composing anything, regardless of subject, provoked her massive attacks of panic. She imagined herself in a game of anywhere but here, absorbed in the worlds her mind created. Characters who became as legitimate to Marlayna as her own children were. Nevertheless, she couldn’t bear the thought of changing them into words on a page.
…..She wouldn’t begin writing until twenty-four and then it was entirely technical subjects, like resumes or manuals, work materials.
…..After a dreadful death and a harrowing fire destroyed her life’s work, Marlayna sought solace in one of her characters, her part of the conversation aloud. One beloved character told her something so profound, ‘Don’t die with regrets‘.
…..It was so direct, but no one had ever been so straightforward with her. She placed a new folder on her desktop and wrote. Marlayna’s characters fought each other to get onto the page as if they were small children throwing tantrums. It was overwhelming. She let them develop, often with unusual stories and only telling a small portion at a time. She acted as they commanded, sketching maps of new realms and shaping family trees for generations. They merely had to suggest, and she was off doing their bidding.
…..She sent a pair of characters to a few publishers and one requested pages. He offered her invaluable insight into why he rejected her work, even though he felt the initial premise was interesting. Character development, Marlayna realized, too late, that because she knew her characters so completely, she hadn’t managed to develop them adequately enough for her readers.
…..Marlayna James is not an author who can be genre bound, she’s loyally bound to her characters no matter what story they reveal.
…..How’d the girl’s mother rid her of her imaginary friends? In a blizzard, cruel and unforgiving, Marlayna’s mother struggled to load her groceries and bundled toddlers into the vehicle so they could return to the safety and warmth of their home and as she waited for these imaginary people to pile into the car, individually needing to speak to Marlayna before they could sit down. Her mother’s temper grew into a murderous rage as she slammed a couple in the car door and backing over another six who had clambered onto the back. At least eight more dragged behind the vehicle, falling away one-by-one. The carnage ended as she drove from the parking lot and abandoned those who survived, outside in the bitter storm, alone. Marlayna was hysterical as she screamed, tears poured from her eyes and her heart beat in excruciating pain as each injury her friends endured shredded it.
…..There were a few who either made it into the car before the door crashed shut or found their way back on their own. Regardless of how, Marlayna never communicated with them while her mother was present, fearing she’d off them too.
From my heart to yours,
A few of my favourite…
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Friday Night Lights
The Heart Guy
Whisper – Chase Rice
Die A Happy Man – Thomas Rhett
Room to Breathe – Chase Bryant
Choices – George Jones
Take Your Time – Sam Hunt
Come A Little Closer – Dierks Bentley
We Went – Randy Houser
Bottoms Up – Brantley Gilbert
Fix – Chris Lane
Perfect – Ed Sheeran
Think of You – Chris Young
He Stopped Loving Her Today – George Jones
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