Breaking Ground 95 - Writing Cowboy Dreams

Cowboy Dreams is a novel by Patricia Powell, a participant in the 2018-19 Partners in Policymaking ® class. Partners in Policymaking is the Council’s free leadership and advocacy training program for Tennesseans with disabilities and family members of people with disabilities.

Tricia Perkins knows first-hand the struggles Asperger’s Syndrome can bring to daily life. Despite a privileged upbringing, she was raised in a lonely home and has never had a boyfriend, much less a first kiss. Only her best friend, Kate, seems to understand Tricia’s loneliness.

Clay Gibson, a race car drivin’ cowboy from North Carolina, is the hottest name on the NASCAR circuit and getting hotter with every race. Unfortunately, his personal life hits the wall when he discovers his soon-to-be fiancé Nikki has been untrue with another driver. Understandably, Clay’s heart is on caution when he meets Tricia.

When I began writing Cowboy Dreams, it was my intention to simply tell the story of my transition from earning my Associate’s degree in general education to finishing my education with my Bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and sciences with a minor in early childhood education. I had a desire to write about a fictional adventure so I decided to use my life’s current circumstances for its background. Of course, as the author, I allowed myself some embellishments for my namesake, Tricia Perkins. These creative qualities gave me the ability to truly imagine myself in a different way that would allow me to better relate to the reader.

As I typed each word that eventually turned into a paragraph and then a chapter, I found I was able to fully immerse myself into my imagination in order to describe, in detail, what I wanted my readers to feel and experience as they read my book. For me, my writing process is simply just typing out my thoughts. There’s no brainstorming or pre-writing practices in order for me to organize what I want to say. Really, the only time I ever jot something down is if I have dialogue or a description I want to add and I’m not at my laptop. Otherwise, the only tools I need are my imagination, a laptop, and my Logitech mouse for easy correcting and synonyms.

However, as I progressed into the storyline and had family, friends, and a professional editor on Craigslist critique it, I found that I still had a lot of work to do. A desire for writing a story and putting that desire into action only requires more work and a lot more time until the story’s edges are smoothed out and the unnecessary scenes are deleted. As with all forms of art, editing the format until its completion is a process. For me, that process took a little over a decade. In fact, it took me from 2006 to 2018 until it was finally ready for publication on June 22.

Despite the long wait for my manuscript to take its final form and be ready for the public to read, the editing process allowed me to learn more about myself and how my Asperger’s Syndrome shapes my writing and my creativity. Through it, God has blessed me with such a detailed imagination that I often found myself reliving the emotions I desired to trigger in my reader as I reread my own writing. At times, I also found it very cathartic as my writing gave me new insight into how God views me. The writing process for my fictional story turned testimony was a learning adventure for me not only in my writing, but also in myself. In asking others for their constructive criticism, I was able to write a story that represents me in the best way for those I will never get a chance to meet. It tells of the real life heartache I dealt with from the emotional scarring caused by bullies, to me expressing my thoughts and fears through a fictional character. Tricia Perkins is the embodiment of me in fictional form while Clay Gibson, the race car drivin’ cowboy after her heart, is the fictional embodiment of the man my heart desires.

For those interested in finding out more about Cowboy Dreams, it is available on Amazon.