Books About Life Lessons
The Tough Stuff That’s Hard to Read
If you’d asked me a year ago whether I’d be writing full-time on books about life lessons, I would have laughed. Then life got in the way and before I knew it, I’d transferred to Florence in Italy and due to circumstances out of my control, I was forced to write full-time.
The first book I wrote – about a former prostitute and drug mule who lived a very ‘spicy’ life, was so hard to believe that I almost didn’t believe it myself. Once I’d gotten over the shock of the story and verified that it was all in fact very true, I was compelled to write about it. Monique was born and suddenly, I was being asked by my friends why I was writing books about life lessons. After all, what makes me qualified to talk about life lessons in my books?
Being Qualified to Write Books About Life Lessons
Like most of us, I’ve been around and watched, listened, observed and made judgements about people. We all know what it is like to judge someone – sometimes even harshly – then discover that they have a backstory that explains why they are the way they are. It isn’t until we get to that point of knowing the backstory that we realise what we did. We judged harshly without being in command of all the facts. There comes a point in your life when you stop judging others so much because you begin to realise that we all have backstories that might explain a lot more than we can see.
You see Kelly-Ann as a stupid woman who sells her body for money. She transports drugs across European borders and contributes to a global pandemic of drug-abuse. She’s uneducated but she’s street-smart. What you don’t know is that Kelly-Ann was once a young girl who was forced into prostitution and brutally raped by many men. When you know the backstory and you understand how someone can become the person we see in front of us, you become a little better qualified to write books about life lessons. In this particular instance, it is a lesson of a woman who didn’t have the strength to protect herself until she had a baby. Once that baby came into her world, nothing could stop her from doing everything she could to protect that baby.
Nobody is perfect and nobody should judge. Yet, we all do it.
The Cranky Old Bitch
Every single day – for about 2 years – this cranky old bitch would give me hell if I made the mistake of walking across her lawn. In my defense, I was a child and I thought of her lawn as a short cut. She screamed; she yelled and she bitched. All of the neighbourhood kids had called her the cranky old bitch long before I was even old enough to talk. We had no empathy for this woman who said mean things to us, for no apparent reason. Maybe Rick gave her a small reason when he set off a match-bomb in her letter-box once and boy did we all have to pay for his stupid prank. As far as I know, that came long after she’d been spouting abuse at anyone who walked past her house. My mother once told me that she’d had a potato thrown at her when she dared to say hello to the cranky old bitch.
Then by chance, one bright and sunny day, I heard the cranky old bitch’s backstory and I nearly cried. Having lost her oldest son to cancer, then her daughter to a rare blood disease, followed by her husband’s untimely death due to a heart-attack, she’d attempted to commit suicide and had failed. The overdose she’d taken had destroyed some vital blood cells in her brain and prevented her from thinking rationally.
At the age of 14, I discovered that I’d judged someone because of how they affected me and never once thought about what had affected her. I’d like to say that I treated her a lot nicer after that, but I was 14 – at that age, I was all about getting laid and not psycho-analysing the cranky old bitch. I simply stopped crossing over her lawn and often took the long way around so I didn’t have to think about her anymore. This story made me want to write books about life lessons even before I knew I wanted to write books or for that matter, even understood what a life lesson was.
There comes a point in our lives when we realise that every single one of us alive on this planet right now, has a lesson to learn and a lesson to teach. We all have a story and if we could just find a way to scribe that story into a blog, a letter, a diary or even a book, we could potentially help someone else from making the same mistakes we did. We’re all qualified to teach someone else a lesson we’ve learned but maybe some of us are better at writing books about life lessons that are based on the experiences we had ourselves.
Through time, we have learned that all of the information we have has been handed down to use from someone else or we’ve learned it from watching, listening, reading about other’s life lessons. We’ve all gathered such diverse skillsets from our wide-ranging backgrounds and experiences that we are an interconnected species who have the opportunity to advance so much faster as a result.
Instead we judge and we scorn and we pretend that other people don’t have a backstory as we live our lives and hope that one day it will mean something significant.
Monique’s backstory was interesting to me and it might be interesting to you. Toby’s was certainly interesting to me and it might be interesting to you. Q’s life was more than just interesting to me, it was tragic. None of the books about life lessons that I’ve written have been greater than the other. Each of them taught me something even as I wrote them and tried to show others what I knew about these people.
Some of you will scorn the story because you can’t accept the backstory, or don’t believe it happened or think I’m cathartic in my attempt to put together a believable tale. Most of you will recognise it for what it is, just another human being trying to tell someone’s backstory, in the best way he knows how. That’s the role of a good writer; tell a story and tell it well so that the reader can get a glimpse into someone else’s life.
If I’ve told the story well and you feel sadness because of what happened to Monique, Toby or Q, then perhaps I did a good job with those backstories. The hope I have is that young girl’s lives will no longer be a commodity, men and women will never have to explain their sexuality and young boys and girls will never take their lives because it’s an easier option than being honest about who they really are.
Let me warn you – in case you want to venture into these backstories – that they aren’t easy tales to read. The stories are tough.
Thanks for tuning in.
A big thanks to Success Praxis for letting me use this awesome image!