by Keira Lane
Each of us carries, within ourselves, a box we harbor snapshots of moments of time in. Our joys. Our heartbreaks. Our story. We give pieces of our box away to others. Sometimes it ends in loss and sadness; while other times it’s taken, planted, and lovingly tended to. This bit of ourselves lives on in those who see the value of our sacrifice.
Every moment of every day we live with a choice. Will we fill our heart-shaped box with kindness, integrity, generosity, and compassion or will we instead choose to let the dark seeds of hate, selfishness, cruelty, and evil take root and proliferate?
When I started my writing journey, I was unsure of the mark I wanted to leave or even if I could leave one. My whole life I have felt a great need to help others and strived to leave the world a better place. This often manifested in volunteering in various ways with several organizations. It has been the driving force propelling me forward in life, for if I can’t look myself in the mirror and say I did all I could to make others lives better, then I have not only failed myself but humanity.
It was with this in mind that I dove headfirst into the world of writing. My heart had so much to share but was limited to just the people I came across. There had to be a more efficient way for me to share my heart to the masses. I’d been told growing up by English teachers, family, and friends that I should think about a career in journalism because I could convey various subject matters in a way that painted vibrant pictures. I never gave it much thought and brushed it off until January 2020 at the height of a global pandemic.
For the first time in my life, it forced me to slow down, take stock of what I’ve accomplished, and was without my normal way of working towards bettering life for others. I no longer could volunteer at my children’s school, work to help the school district, etcetera. There was no direction. It was then that I gave writing a go. I had no formal education outside of what I got being a High School graduate, a mother to five children, and life experience; though I was armed with sheer determination, unfettered obstinance, and the passion to learn.
It was through searching for resources that I found a Discord writing community who lovingly took me in and taught me everything I know and are still teaching me. Professionals in the field rallied around me, guiding me, supporting me, and tearing my work apart so I might learn how to be and do better.
I began with writing a portal fantasy and used it as my vehicle to learn. It was while in the throes of getting to the point of disenchantment writing the novel that I tried my hand at writing short stories. They ended up being an incredible way to hone my craft, learn to make each sentence strong as I had less time to tell the story and draw people into the work emotionally, and they gave me a nice shot of dopamine when I finished one.
From A Heart-Shaped Box, which is a collection of nine short stories ending in a novella, is what poured out of my soul. Though the stories within From A Heart-Shaped Box are works of fiction, I draw upon my own experiences to share glimpses of my heart and soul, proving that while our experiences in life differ, the emotions they evoke are the same. I capture raw sentiment, bottling it up in a way that hopefully lets others know they are not alone.
Fragments of memories. False promises. Shattered dreams. It is through these that the gravity of the keepsakes we choose to collect forges us into ever-changing masterpieces. The adhesive binding the fragile remnants of our souls? Love. From A Heart-Shaped Box shares with all the complexity of the ever present force, love, and takes you on a personal journey of loss, sacrifice, and so much more.
It is through my writing connections that I have had the pleasure to connect with other talented creators, one of which opened a door to the world of podcasts and interviews, and has given birth to Autimagination Media, a production company I co-founded with Pup Duffy. Autimagination gets its name from Autism and Imagination, two things that are incredibly important to us. There you can find interviews, book, film, television, and product reviews and round tables discussing current events and hot topics. We are advocates for equality and the freedom to be who you are, no matter what.
Currently, I’m working on several novel wips (work/s in progress) one of which is a gender-bent modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice and the other is a mystery/thriller/paranormal novel based on Sherlock Holmes. Both works have been a blast to work on and I should have them out into the world in 2023.
This year has been a whirlwind year and I’m not sure what the rest entails, but what I know is that I will face it with gratitude in my heart, excitement in my bones, and raw determination to take everything head on. If you would like to connect you can visit my website or find me on Twitter. Special thanks to ReadersMagnet, Author’s Lounge, and Jennifer Jackson for the opportunity to share my heart and story. You can find From A Heart-Shaped Box via digital and physical copy on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Apple Books, Kubo, or request a copy from your local library.