It is my absolute pleasure to welcome Julianne Snow to my little slice of the bloggosphere with an amazing guest post entitled Vision: The Fusion of Sight and Inspiration. Working with Julianne on her on the release of her book Days with the Undead: Book One and her blog tour has been an exciting and rewarding endeavour. If you like Zombies and love to read, I suggest picking up her book – you won’t be disappointed! Without further ado, here she is –
Vision: The Fusion of Sight and Inspiration
While I was growing up, I always imagined my life would include writing in some capacity. Whether it was for pleasure or as a side project to a fulfilling career, I continally visualized that creating characters and worlds would run in tandem to the life I was going to live. Somewhere along the line, that all got pushed to the wayside.
In my young adult years, I spent so much of my time nose deep in books – academic tomes and periodic journals – while studying at University, it left little time to write fiction. But I still managed to read and added quite frequently to my collection of hardcovers and paperbacks in those four years. With all of the other pressures pushing down on me, reading was enough to satisfy the monster-sized imagination that had grown inside my mind.
I graduated from University and worked full-time for a while – reading more frequently, but my hand never picked up a pen. What I was looking for was an easy form of escapism and I found it in the hard work of others. I didn’t have to sit and create with words myself in order to experience the high. Realizing that I hadn’t gotten as far into my chosen field as I wanted to go, perhaps even realizing that I wanted to explore other avenues that another degree would bring, I enrolled in college once again, which meant more technical writing and less reading. I was able to stave off full withdrawal, but just barely.
Once I was finished with school and entrenched in a new job, I found the time to read more voraciously again. I devoured all of the tomes that I had missed while in school and life, along with my imagination, returned to normal. I could effectively shut down the cravings to write with more books – it was a dangerous cycle but it was easier than sitting down and trying to figure out where to start.
2009. That’s when my life changed completely overnight. I was looking down the barrel at a life threatening illness and not sure if I was going to survive. At least I had my fix, right? Wrong. As a sardonic byproduct of my illness, my sight receded to pinpricks – I had gone from 20/20 vision with full acuity to just barely being able to distinguish 20/160 on the Snellen chart with less than 7% acuity. All that I could see were blurry pinpricks. It was a terrifying time in my life.
My ability to drive went out the window. My ability to watch television and movies went out the window. My ability to read was rudely robbed from me as well. As the days and months piled upon each other, I was bored to tears and petrified. Until the moment I started to craft plotlines and characters in my mind.
I found that I didn’t need paper and a pen, or even a computer. All I needed was the depth and breadth of my own imagination. In the weeks and months that followed, I built worlds inside my head and Days with the Undead was born.
As my sight slowly regenerated itself, I started to put pen to paper and fingers to keyboard, and fairly soon I had finished the first draft of my novel. It was a heady feeling, and my emotions ran the complete gamut; sadness, joy, amazement, awe, and trepidation just to name a few.
What did I take away from the whole experience? That writing fills a vacant space in my soul that nothing else really can.
To remind myself how thankful I am to have regained my vision, I sit down at the beginning of each month and write a word of encouragement to myself on each of the days of my personal agenda. If I find myself lacking motivation at the end of a long day, I simply open my date book and read that word. To me, it’s a reminder of where I have been and where I want to be.
It’s funny how stimulus can be found in the simplest of places. More often than not, I don’t need to find the inspiration to write but on the days that I do, I thank myself for taking the time to write a word of motivation, inspiration or even kindness. It’s a small thing but it has helped me to write over 85,000 words during the months of January, February and March.
Here is a short excerpt of Days with the Undead: Book One –
“Perhaps there are some of you still reading this. I know you have mentioned trying to head north but since leaving the safety of your homes, I have not heard from you. I guess I am lucky in a way to have the outlet, the contact with the rest of the living world – as limited as that is. I know that if I were to lose you all, I would find it hard to stop writing… I think someone needs to know what happened to us.
How silly that sounds. If the living world is about to draw its final breath, there will be no one left to read this. No one left to transcribe our struggles into the history books. Every freedom that we have ever fought for, forgotten. All of our wars now seem pointless. There was only one war that we should have been preparing for; the one against the foe we assumed would never arise. We were stupid, but one can only see that in hindsight…”
It was watching George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead at the tender age of six that solidified Julianne’s respect of the Undead. Since that day, she has prepared herself for the (inevitable) Zombie Apocalypse. While classically trained in all of the ways to defend herself, she took up writing in order to process the desire she now covets; to bestow a second and final death upon the Undead. As the only girl growing up in a family with four children in the Canadian countryside, Julianne needed some form of escape. Her choice was the imaginations of others which only fostered the vibrancy of her own.
Days with the Undead: Book One is her first full-length book, the basis of which can be found in her popular web serial of the same name. You can find Julianne’s The Living Dead of Penderghast Manor in the anthology Women of the Living Dead and stories in upcoming anthologies called Childhood Nightmares: Under The Bed and Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity from Sirens Call Publications.