I’ve always wanted to tell this story. I’ve only told a few people, and even they don’t know more than that the family exists and minimally about why.
I am reluctant to share this because I feel like it makes me sound crazy. If you’re a writer too, I am going to trust that you understand where I’m coming from with this post. If you’re not a writer, please know that I do not have any sort of personality disorder.
So, the Roman family. They have existed, to me, in my imagination, for 20 years now. I realized that recently–Twenty Years. Such a wonderful milestone.
The main person in the family is a version of myself that, at the time, when I was 13/14 years old, I wished could be the real me. I made her have traits, both physical & character, that I wished I had, and I made her be a part of a large family. She is the 6th out of 10 kids. The part that I, of course, didn’t wish to be my life–she just had to have some sort of tragic back story–was that her parents had died. I think it was symbolic for me because that year was when I was moving and having to switch schools and, therefore, make new friends. I felt very alone and lacked self-confidence. I think this version of myself and her siblings was a coping mechanism. And they remained that for several years.
I wrote many a story, both short and long, chroncling her life. I have Word documents detailing each sibling’s individual family as everyone grew up. I have education information figured out. I have photos that I searched for online as a way to put a face to a name. A few celebrities are in there, which is funny to me, but they’re sort of-kind of what the character looks like in my mind.
About five years ago or so, I started working on the first story, the one that starts them off, the one that defines them. The one about the night their parents died. I know how each sibling reacted in the short-term and in the long-term and what it meant to them as a whole.
It feels like I know them and like they’re real. So much so that, when I considered the possibility of writing their initial story and self-publishing it, I had to change all of their names. It felt like I was divulging personal information by using all their original names. I felt protective of them.
Now that I’m in a writing course for which I have to write creative non-fiction and fiction, I wish I could use their story as non-fiction because it’s not fiction to me. I have to remind myself that it actually is.
Hopefully one day, I’ll see their story through. I think it would mean a lot to those who might read it.