Old friends:

Old stories, like old friends, are calling. I’m wondering if I should answer.

Maybe it’s that my brain is suddenly open to the possibilities. There’s now a much larger space for creativity and art in my life.

I’ve always wanted to do so many different things. Life is too short and the world too diverse to focus only on one small part of the human experience. My favorite vacation spot: one I’ve never been to before. My fave color: I have to pick just one? Hmm … The golden yellow of dawn, the flamboyance of turquoise and the coolness of teal, the in-your-face pop of fuchsia, the juicy tartness of bright green. Bob Dylan, Jewel, Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi, Katy Perry–all have a place on my mp3 player. I have favorites, but my greatest joy is learning and expanding my knowledge. Variety is the spice of life (yes, I know, spoken like a true Sagittarius).

Maybe that’s why I chose to be a writer. Writing takes us to places mundane and extraordinary. We can go from a wardrobe to Narnia, down the rabbit hole or through the looking glass to Wonderland. When the writing is at its best, we journey deep inside of ourselves.

So when I brew a pot of tea and finally sit down at my computer, I find myself surrounded by characters and stories, all practically shouting, ‘Pick me!’ So many creatures, from dark elves to house sprites, and characters, from Harvard students who dig archeology to women who kick ass in the ring and in the boardroom, from seasoned witches to those just learning about magic, are right there, waiting for me to enter their stories and continue writing.

I’ve learned enough to know that stories don’t get told if I stop writing every time another tale or character knocks at the door. Every manuscript takes dedication; I keep writing even if I start spinning my wheels. Writing is a journey into uncharted territory; of course the roads are winding and rocky. But you can’t just leave the story stuck in the mud. Yep, I know that. It’s the effort, the struggles, the problem-solving that makes writing such an adventure.

I love so many different types of books–different tones, different genres, different types of characters, etc. From a career standpoint, I worry about the pitfalls of wanting to write in a number of different genres. It’s not a matter of dedication. It’s just that so many different parts of the human experience have value, and I want to explore those experiences as an artist. And many writers have done this (Ursula K. Le Guin, Neil Gaiman, and Alice Hoffman come to mind). For now, I’m following my heart. Every one of us has a unique path–we have our stories, just as our characters have theirs.

It’s nice to know those old stories and characters (yes, Neesa, I know, you’re not old, per se) are still in there somewhere. It means they’ve stuck with me, and maybe if they have staying power for me as a writer, they’ll have meaning for readers as well.

But it’s one word, one scene, one story at a time. And just like a road trip, you can’t be en route to South Dakota and suddenly decide you want to go to Maine. But just because you’re on your way to the Badlands now, that doesn’t mean that Acadia National Park can’t be part of your journey later.

Well, I’m off. Going to put some chains on the tires and keep on truckin’.

4 thoughts on “Old friends:

  1. Great post.
    I was seduced by a meme yesterday ~ one that asked the usual silly questions. (My favourite book? Are you nuts? That’s like asking me to name my favourite child!)
    My eye was drawn by this comment: I’ve learned enough to know that stories don’t get told if I stop writing every time another tale or character knocks at the door. (Or if we stop writing, full stop, so to speak!) I’m in the process of creating fairy stories, which are to be the work of one of my characters. Ideas merge with the main narrative, sending me off on diverse paths. I leave breadcrumbs & cross my fingers…
    Being sidetracked by ‘life’ is beyond frustrating too. So yes, for similar & slightly different reasons, one word, one scene, one story at a time.
    C x

    • I love a good fairy story! And yes, sometimes a story takes you on a different path from what you expected, but sometimes it’s down that overgrown side path that the true story lies.
      Happy writing!

    • Indeed. Out of nowhere she just pops in, sits down beside me and says, “Whatcha doin’?” and tries to tempt me with promises of adventures among the fairie. Ah, Neesa, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve been tempted by tales of tricksy fae… Glad to hear that you heart her, Kathleen. Something tells me you’ll be seeing her around. šŸ™‚

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