By L.S. Case
Let’s face it; life throws curveballs that aren’t always easy to dodge. Sure, it’s comforting to think we can walk through life unscathed by hardships, but none of us are exempt from difficult seasons. Rather than abundant sunshine and blue skies, our forecast may entail thunderstorms and patchy fog, clouding tomorrow’s vision. We exhale when we relate to others’ trials and admit shortcomings instead of excusing them. That’s why I love writing Hallmark-style small-town romances showcasing the imperfections of people and life. My characters are quirky and relatable, aspiring to become all they were meant to be.
Issues don’t reflect weakness. On the contrary, flawed characters exhibit courage and strength while traversing bumpy roads. Dedicated to changing their trajectory, they inspire us to take a personal inventory and believe we are also worth more. Their vulnerability challenges us to become better versions of ourselves. And as they endure life’s storms, we are reminded that the sun always shines again despite inclement weather.
What we see and hear daily doesn’t reflect reality. At least not our reality. Magazines and clothing websites feature perfectly proportioned women with teeny waistlines and beach-ready bodies. Luxurious locks of hair cascade over sculpted shoulders, and laser-whitened teeth highlight airbrushed tans. Try if you will, but you won’t find a stretch mark, cellulite dimple, premature wrinkle, or sunspot. These images make most of us crave more Zumba classes and a consultation with a dermatologist.
And if you’ve stolen a few precious moments from the daily grind to swipe through social media, you’ll see lavish celebrations and romantic escapes. You cannot help but question where your social life went awry and why winery visits and front-row concert seats are missing from your weekend itinerary. While your plans cancel or fail to exist, others seem to be living the high life. How does everyone else appear to have supplemental income and spare time, not to mention abundant energy?
The answer is they don’t, and the keyword is ‘appear.’ We are only privy to a snippet from other’s lives, a filtered photograph selected from a scrutinized batch. Although we assume our neighbor’s lawn feels like plush carpeting beneath bare feet, no one’s grass is without an occasional dry patch or weed. Take a closer look, and you’ll likely notice a pesky dandelion or two. Worse yet, a stray dog might have hoisted his leg to water the neighboring property. Ahh, so that’s where those suspicious brown spots came from.
We’ve all read posts where a husband professes love for his beautiful bride. Bride? They have four grown children and have been married for twenty-nine years! Sweet sentiments but a tad showy. After all, oozing flattery belongs in a greeting card shared privately between two people rather than boasted across social media to nauseate the masses. The point is no relationship is perfect. Beneath the surface are in-laws, finances, snores, housework, and misunderstandings. Every home has a broken shingle, just as every sidewalk has a crack. Indeed, we are all flawed—you, me, the doting couple, and the neighbor’s lawn.
Each of us has endured difficulties unknown to others. Maybe we’ve lost our confidence and are struggling to be seen or heard again among louder voices. Or we’ve become socially insecure, preferring to hide behind a computer screen than present ourselves before a crowd. Few can say they’ve survived the pandemic without bouts of doubt and anxiety. I know I can’t. By revealing our fissures and removing facades, we invite others in for support. With support comes change!
Take a short trip back a few years or perhaps a longer voyage to an earlier decade. Maybe you were once a soprano in the school choir, or your backflip dismounts gained applause in gymnastics class. Perhaps you had a powerful backhand on the tennis court or were the strongest debater on a mock trial panel. Regardless of your athletic prowess or keen mind, women share a commonality—we are born cheerleaders.
That’s right! Even if we never shook pom-poms and yelled rah-rah-sis-boom-bah on a football field, we have rooted for happiness to endure and love to prevail in the stories we read and real life. We’ve shouted encouraging words from the sidelines and boosted others hurdling over barriers.
Empowerment is a dance where we grow taller by uplifting others. Good karma ricochets back to us, stimulating our personal growth and transformation. In eliminating the filters, we are privy to a clearer view of all life offers for our characters and ourselves. Familiar shortcomings are kindling, and a reader’s empathy holds the match. Together, magic ignites across the novel’s pages.
L. S. Case: A lifelong resident of Long Island, L. S. Case is a twenty-year volunteer wish granter for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hofstra University. Before embarking on her author journey, she spent over a decade as a proud region leader, recruiter, trainer, and multi-award sales achiever for Lia Sophia jewelry. In 2017, she co-founded a nonprofit organization and currently serves on its board of directors. Her life’s joy is the time she spends with her husband, family, and a temperamental cockatiel. Always on the lookout for her next adventure, L. S. can be found singing off-key at an ’80s concert, cycling to the beach, participating in races, swinging from a trapeze, or hanging from the warehouse ceiling in Fear Factor Live at Universal Studios. Find out more about her at www.lscasenovelist.com.