I look for dead people.
Is this a weird thing – or a cool thing – to research? I suppose that depends on who you ask. Since many of my friends are paranormal researchers, or ‘ghost hunters’, researching and looking for tidbits about dead people are just the norm. Others may not find my passion as intriguing.
I could sit behind my computer screen for countless hours, and I have. I’ve spent hours and days looking for obscure facts and references for a short story. I literally spend more time researching than I spend on the writing of the piece.
But the one who often haunts me…the one whose past hasn’t sprung to life with my written words yet, is Mitty Ann.
I moved to Texas in 2008. Since I adore visiting historic cemeteries, that’s where we went, off to local cemeteries in search of dead people. At Medlin Cemetery in Trophy Club, just a few miles from the house, I discovered Mitty Ann Medlin and she touched my heart. I couldn’t even begin to count the hours I’ve spent researching Medlin history, specifically in regard to her and her immediate family. I have a notebook filled with notes and print outs. I even made a trip to Denton to the Emily Fowler Library, home to many historic records of this north Texas area.
Mitty Ann, who was really named Permelia after her grandmother, was born October 27, 1828. Her father, who was a Justice of the Peace in Cole County, Missouri, moved the family to Texas in August of 1847. After arriving in Texas, Mitty Ann married Francis L. Harris, who had also moved here from Missouri with an earlier group of pioneers. They had a son, Charles Simpson Harris. Unfortunately, as was much too common in those days, Mitty Ann did not survive and died April 5, 1850, after giving birth to their only child.
I want to write her story. I’ve wanted to write it since 2009. So, why is it 2017 and I haven’t even started writing her story yet?
Because ‘I’m not good enough yet.’
Or, so I keep saying to myself.
Writing her story is important to me. Even with all the research I’ve done so far, I need to do more. I need more details. I need to learn more about life in the 1850’s. And I don’t feel as if I’m competent enough to tell her tale yet.
Lack of facts isn’t really holding me back.
Lack of time isn’t stopping my progress.
Lack of storyline or plot isn’t keeping me stuck.
Do we ever outgrow our fears and insecurities? I ask as I write this blog for The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, feeling that this group totally understands how my fears of not being good enough have kept me from moving forward with some of my big writing dreams.
All I know is that as I keep fighting my own worst enemy – me – I’ll keep looking for dead people, and enjoying every second of doing so.
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