Optimism and Hope: My Author Themes

julia_homeOptimism and Hope: My Author Themes

 

I like stories of resilience, of ordinary people who overcome great odds in order to triumph. Dreary, glass-half-empty writing doesn’t appeal to me as a reader or a writer. I believe in hope and redemption.

An editor who loved a book I pitched asked if I could inject more murder and mayhem. But when I tried, I found myself drifting to the romance, the woman who rose above her restrictive circumstances, then faced the dilemma: fame and fortune or true love?

I like writing about strong, empowered women. Women who are tempted by easy riches and power (my book Legal Appeal) or by extraordinary fame (Smitten), then forced to make a life altering choice.

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Kyla, 2 yrs

 

And then I thought: where did this come from? I’d been through plenty of bad times: the death of my young husband; my two sisters; my parents two weeks apart; my bout with Lymphoma; the near death of my current husband in a horrific accident. Yet I am a happy, optimistic person looking at the bright side of life.

 

 

 

 

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Kyla as Clara in the Nutcracker

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Edward with Kyla, Martha’s Vineyard, MA

 

At age 28 my husband, Edward, was killed in a horrific accident involving a Uhaul. We lost everything. I had a suitcase of summer clothes, a daughter entering kindergarten in Boston, no house, no car, no insurance, no money, no family nearby to help. I had to start over.

 

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Julia with Kyla in the Nutcracker

My older sister Mary helped me through it emotionally but five years later she was killed in a car accident. My parents died two weeks apart, she with Alzheimer’s, he with lung cancer. My younger sister, Elizabeth, died from an illness six years ago. After eight years as a widow, I found true love again with a wonderful man. Then I got lymphoma.

 

 

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Julia and Richard, Monterey

 

I’ll never forget the doctor saying, “I can manage the disease but I can’t cure you.” Those words echoed in my head. But he was wrong: together we fought the odds and the establishment of the medical world. After much research, I chose what I wanted for treatment; it worked and I am considered “cured.” I’m healthy and grateful to the two doctors who helped me become their “miracle patient,” as they call me.

 

In each situation, I eventually realized the good: I was a lawyer who could support myself and my daughter; she and I became very close and still are; and I was lucky to have wonderful parents who passed on to me their good values, emotional strength, fortitude, and resilience.

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Kyla’s Wedding, Laguna, CA Richard’s son Ron, Kyla, her husband Raj, Julia, Richard

No one loved life more than my sister Mary and my husband Edward. They had a zest for life that infused the air around them.

Shortly after I met Edward, we stood outside under the stars on a cold night but he was in a thin shirt. He put his arms around me from behind, warming me with the heat of his body.

“Aren’t you freezing,” I asked.

“No,” he laughed snuggling closer, “I don’t mind because being cold means I’m alive.”

I’ll never forget that. Whenever I’m inconvenienced in some small way I think of Edward and Mary loving every minute of life, knowing how much they would love to be alive and experiencing whatever I think is annoying or troublesome. It always changes my attitude.

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Julia & Richard, renewal of their wedding vows

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Richard with Kyla, A TV Anchor with a 1 hour show she produced and anchored in Texas

Doors close, but as long as you are alive, there is hope and opportunity. I notice writers on social media posting inspirational quotes about persevering, never quitting. I lived those quotes. People would ask, “how do you cope—a widow on your own, no family around, and with a young daughter.” I’d be polite but I always thought, what could I do? I had a daughter who looked to me for direction, support and love. I never felt anything but joy and looked at the cup half full—it was! We were alive and healthy, had good brains and opportunities, and life was something to embrace.

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How could I ever write about a life I didn’t believe in? A life without hope? A nihilistic viewpoint? I can’t, I don’t. Life is lovely, people are good. The human spirit is beautiful and resilient. The stories are all around us; you just have to wipe the mist from the window and look for it. I choose to see that everywhere. And that’s what I write about.

Below is my first published article: Water Babies in American Baby.

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Julia holding Kyla, 9 months old: American Baby Magazine, Water Babies by Julia Cullinane (Grantham)

 

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27 comments to Optimism and Hope: My Author Themes

  • “The stories are all around us; you just have to wipe the mist from the window and look for it.”
    I love this quote. This article made a lovely read is really inspiring. 🙂

  • Hi Julia!
    I’m glad you shared your blog with me. Your story is very inspirational! You are an overcomer!
    Thank you for being a living inspiration.

  • Julia Grantham

    Wanda, thank you for your kind words! I truly appreciate you taking the time to comment!

  • Pat

    Julie,
    So very glad to have become relatives with you. You are a wonderful, fun, positive person and it has been great sharing time with you!

  • Sonia Guirardel

    Dear Julia, your life story is amazing, and awe-inspiring. I’m glad (and proud) to be your friend.
    Love
    Sonia

  • What a wonderful example of triumph over adversity. Thank you for sharing your life experiences with us.

    • Julia Grantham

      Thank you for taking the time to read it and comment on it, Julie! You are such a supportive friend, and someday I hope we will actually meet!

  • What a beautiful post, Julia. It made me cry (in a good way!). Like you, I try to focus on the positive in life. I wake up every morning and think, “It’s good to be alive, and I am blessed.” Not everyone is as lucky. There are a lot of sad things in this world, and that’s why I choose to read/write stories that are life-affirming, romantic, and funny. I’m glad that you are sticking to your guns and not changing your story to please an editor or a publisher. You tell your stories the way you want to and trust that there are plenty of readers out there who want books with a positive message.

    • Julia Grantham

      Tracie, You have been an inspiration to me! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and then comment. You have been so gracious and helpful since we first met on twitter. You truly have a kind heart. I love your positive message that is reflected in your books and everything you write and do. Thank you for your encouragement; it means the world to me!

  • Your story and your approach to life is so inspiring. I love reading stories of resiliency in the face of daunting circumstances, too. No wonder you can write it–you’ve lived it, and triumphed over and over!

    • Julia Grantham

      Jann, thank you for your wonderful comments! It was great of you to read my blog and take the time to comment. I love stories of triumph over adversity and there are so many wonderful ones out there!

  • I am a firm believer in counting your blessings. Great blog!

  • Love your story. Good girl, you did not give in but continued to the good fight!
    I am sure it was gut-wrenching. Proud of you for persevering.
    Blessings to you and yours
    Kristina O’Donnelly

    • Julia Grantham

      Kristina, thank you for your encouraging words! How thoughtful and kind of you to take the time to read my blog and comment. I am impressed and inspired by your huge success–10 novels! Congratulations to you!

  • muktar

    I must say you have been through a lot, the whole story got me thinking I actually haven’t been through nothing in life and yet I complain and worry my self out. They say everyone is what they are and where they are for a reason, terrible thing happens for a reason sometimes it very scary but looking back from where you are right now you will say to your daughter “wow….. we did it” thank you for sharing it’s really a great blog and you write beautifully plus not just say because of your beauty charm or your adorable wonderful personality. ….no but because I no greatness when I see one and you my dear are awesome great

  • muktar

    I must say you have been through a lot, the whole story got me thinking I actually haven’t been through nothing in life and yet I complain and worry my self out. They say everyone is what they are and where they are for a reason, terrible thing happens for a reason sometimes it’s very scary but looking back from where you are right now you will say to your daughter “wow….. we did it” thank you for sharing, it’s really a great blog and you write beautifully plus not just say because of your beauty charm or your adorable wonderful personality. ….no… but because I no greatness when I see one and you my dear are awesomely great

  • wonderful post i really loved your all posts. Thank you for sharing your personal view.
    http://getnewsupdate.net

    • Julia Grantham

      Thank you so much for your comment and taking the time to write. I am sorry my response is late. It did not come through for some reason. I truly appreciate you reading and commenting.

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