Lori’s Life List
I’m often asked how I got the idea for The Life List. The answer is simple. The inspiration for the novel was found in an old cedar box.
A few years ago, I came across a shoebox-sized hope chest, a high school graduation gift. It was the first time I’d opened it in decades. Tucked alongside my grandmother’s rosary and my first bankbook was a yellowed piece of notebook paper. In flowery cursive, Lori’s List was penciled across the top. My abandoned life list.
Foolishly, I’d omitted the year when I scrawled March 13th in the upper right corner. Perhaps I didn’t intend to keep the list. Or maybe I didn’t realize then how quickly memories fade, how moments would turn into days, that turn into years, then decades. But based on the goals—what had and hadn’t been accomplished—I was somewhere between 12 and 14 years old when I wrote it.
The list included 29 items my youthful heart believed would make for a happy life. Most were traditional aspirations, like Have a happy marriage, Have children, Go to college, Learn to ski. Others were embarrassingly shallow. I wanted to be a cheerleader. Fun, yes, but hardly a noble life goal! I had plenty of girlfriends, but as a gangly adolescent, it was boyfriends I wanted. (Thankfully, they arrived much later than that young girl had hoped!)
I was pleased that I’d accomplished most items on the list. But still, I hadn’t achieved everything. I didn’t live on a lake; I hadn’t designed my own home. I had a cat, but the horse and the dog had eluded me. And I spied the one thing I imagined would be that girl’s biggest disappointment: I didn’t have children and never would. I wondered then, whether our adolescent dreams were valid, even in adulthood?
As I stared down at the dog-eared paper, it occurred to me how different my life would be if I’d been true to that girl’s desires. And that’s when it struck me…I had a story to tell, a hope-filled tale of rediscovering what truly matters, of knowing when to let go of our dreams and when to hold on. A story took shape of a woman who’d lost her way, and her mother’s desperate attempt to chip away at her daughter’s tough
exterior, hoping to expose that starry eyed girl with big dreams.
So there you have it. Though I didn’t accomplish every item on Lori’s List, I still believe the list served me well. Instead of children, I’ve created a story. Though I know the two are incomparable, it feels good to think that The Life List might provoke discussion, or give pause to someone who has settled for less than she deserves, like Brett. And maybe, just maybe, the book will inspire some other young girl, in some other small town, to dream. And whether her goals are silly or sophisticated, it makes no difference. The important thing is, she dreams.
As part of the blog tour, all the participants have been asked to write 3 things we'd include on our own life list. It actually took me a while to come up with these, the second may seem odd to some, but as my 7 year old son put it 'It's not silly if it's your dreams and important to you' (what a wise head on such young shoulders!). Come back tomorrow when the blog tour rolls on to Chicklitclub :)
Shaz's Book Blog Life List:
1. Swim with dolphins
2. Take a trip to Australia and New Zealand
3. Stay in an Ice Hotel
Chick Lit Chloe's Life List:
1. Travel around America and Australia.
2. Watch WWE Wrestlemania live!
3. See my son grow up to be happy, married and have his own children :)