I’ve struggled with the feeling that I am ordinary for quite a while.
I am a middle class white, 34-year-old, housewife with 4 children who lives in a 4 bedroom house in the suburbs, drives a minivan, roasts a chicken for dinner and binges Netflix before falling asleep next to her husband every night. There are literally thousands, tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of human beings in the world that fit that exact description.
Let’s be honest—I’m not special.
I was reading Stephanie Nielson’s book Heaven is Here when something inside of me clicked. Stephanie Nielson is also a middle class white, 30 something, housewife with 4 children who lives in a big house in the suburbs, probably drives a minivan, roasts a chicken for dinner and binges Netflix before falling asleep next to her husband every night. But my gosh, is that woman remarkable.
Because in the midst of living that very ordinary life, Stephanie Nielson was in a plane crash that burned over 80% of her body. Yet, she managed to overcome that struggle to become one of the most popular “mommy bloggers” in the country. She was the same person she’d always been, but her circumstances changed, making the resilience, faith, endurance, grit, and determination that she’d always had more apparent.
So I guess in a way, everyone is special, but also not. It’s the special circumstances that bring out the specialness in people.
As I was grappling with this discovery, I began reading a lot of what I like to call “epic love” stories. Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, said love helps save the world. Books like Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi or Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Dystopian-type books where it’s their love against the world. Spoiler alert: their love always wins. A part of me was feeling a little jealous of these imaginary characters and their “epic love.” I wanted to have that. Remembering the story of Stephanie Nielson, I realized I already did.
What would happen if I took the love story of a twenty-year-old statistics student and a twenty-two-year-old pre-law student, let’s say? If I took their super ordinary love story- things like going bowling with friends, stopping on the side of the road to look at fireflies, strolling through the park, maybe even their wedding night- but instead of the boring world that it happened in, I framed it in a dystopian world. What would happen then?
This idea became the first building blocks for my debut novel, The Story Seer. And I realized what happens is, you turn something that the world sees as ordinary, and make it extraordinary. Because with the right circumstances, every love story is special.