Well, here I am, starting a blog at long last. Fantastic, allons-y, geronimo, and all that stuff. I am in no way new to writing in general, but as this is my first time posting for all you lovely people, I will introduce myself.
Hello. My name is Carissa Barrows. Some of you might know me as C. F. Barrows, or you may not. That's my pen name. Very creative, I know. No-one must ever learn my true name. Ever. Disaster and a painful, untimely demise would ensue.
Oh, wait... I've just told you my real name, haven't I? Whoops.
Ah, well. Now that I have secured my own doom, I might as well continue with my introduction. I have self-published two novels so far, and have no intention of stopping anytime soon. I was homeschooled all the way from preschool to my high school graduation, and don't regret it in the slightest. I think if you asked most people to give one trait by which to identify me, they would say that I carried a book everywhere. Going to church? Maybe I'd get to read between services. A movie theater? Well, maybe the previews would be boring, and I'd have to ride in the car to get there, anyways. Whether I love books has never been in question.
It's a little more complicated, however, to answer the question of how I came to write my own books. I've been making up stories for as long as I can remember, and writing them down since I was a child. I've also dabbled a great deal in poetry, and written a few songs. When I speak with old friends who have not seen me for a long time, very few are surprised that I decided to become a novelist.
Me, an overly imaginative child? Me, have my head in the clouds to such an extent that everyone wondered whether I even knew how to stand on solid ground? Nahhhhh.
To be fair, I also have other interests. For example, I've grown up in a musical family who fostered in me a love for music. I am a coloratura soprano (high range, lesser power than a dramatic soprano), and have played the piano for thirteen years. I write vocal songs (as I mentioned earlier) and like to compose pieces for the piano, and also play by ear. I also know the basics of violin, and can play guitar and harmonica (my Hohner chromatic harmonica is awesome). Not a day goes by in which I do not immerse myself somehow in music. I also love to sketch, mostly portraits of people. Every notebook I own, and nearly every sheet of paper I have used in my lifetime, is covered in drawings, and if one could be arrested for drawing her own characters too many times, I would be a jailbird for the rest of my life. I am also a perfectionist. Perfectionism is a hobby, right?
I am also a Chronic Lyme Disease sufferer. This is a controversial condition which many in the medical community say cannot exist, so it brings with it some stigma and, admittedly, a fair amount of frustration. It is a degenerative disease, and can affect virtually any part of the body. Many of my symptoms are neurological, culminating in brain fog, clinical depression and anxiety, neuropathy, photophobia, chronic fatigue, and a myriad of other symptoms. I contracted the disease when I was perhaps sixteen, and was diagnosed at age eighteen. I am thankful to say that I have received proper treatment, and seem to be on the path of recovery. However, there are many who cannot say the same.
A heartbreaking number of chronic Lyme sufferers go to their doctors for help and are told that their symptoms are all in their heads, or that some other condition is to blame. Some have to travel to other states just to get the proper treatment, and doctors can get into trouble for tackling these cases. And even if the patients find a Lyme-literate doctor who is willing to treat them, often their insurance companies will not pay for their treatment.
It is an ugly disease, and changes the lives of those who contract it and are unfortunate enough to become chronic sufferers. So how do I do the things I do when my body is worn out, my brain is scattered and fog-ridden, and everything within me wants to just go back to bed and watch Netflix on my iPad all day? (Seriously, though, I love my iPad. It is so nice for those days when I'm too lazy/dizzy/fatigued to sit up.) How do I push myself to write books, of all things, when it takes me all of two seconds to forget what someone has said to me? (You haven't said anything yet, have you? No? Okay, just checking.)
Well, the truth is, I don't. Not alone, anyways. I have an awesome family and great friends who are there with me every step of the way, and support me even when I'm irritable, depressed, freaking out at everything that moves, or unsure what I had for breakfast this morning (or even if I had said breakfast).
And above all, I have my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. I don't talk about Him as much as I should, and I won't try to claim the title of "Best Christian" anytime soon, because even if such a title existed, I would not be worthy to claim it. But He loves me through my randomness, my ups and downs, my wordy lectures and my befuddling outbursts, and the days where I don't have the strength to take another step.
"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." - John 15:5, KJV
The above verse is very true for me. Without God, I could do nothing. Zip. Nada. Pack your bags and go home, because the show is canceled, if I even remembered to cancel the show. (What was that show called, again?)
So if you ever read one of my books or blog posts, hear one of my songs, or see one of my sketches, remember that He's the one who enabled me to do all those things. And by His grace, I hope to turn this blog into something that enriches your life, whether in the areas of your own faith, learning to write more effectively, finding good books to read, picking a great movie to rent on Movie Night, or discovering a great recipe for egg nog, or an archive of awesome Doctor Who quotes to make your day. Or C. S. Lewis quotes. Did I mention I really like C. S. Lewis? 'The Screwtape Letters' is an awesome book, and no-one can deny. I shall have to talk about it sometime...
...But, of course... I digress.