Things that Go Bump in Your Mind


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‘Tis the season of creaks and squeaks and ghostly imaginings. I just realized that Halloween is tomorrow, and I haven’t done my usual number of spooky posts and reflections on things that go bump in the night. Anyone who has … Continue reading

Theme-Thology Revealed


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Ladies and Gentleman! Kind Readers and Friends! I am happy to announce that my short fiction story, “Voices” comes out at the end of this month in I am honored and excited to be included in the first of the Theme-Thology series … Continue reading

Restless Stories

I am restless.
the-storyteller1 (1)

I wander through words and ideas aimlessly, meandering, hoping that someone’s voice will call out “Tell my story!”

“Tell my story!”

Today, the talented Andra Watkins shared her concerns about writing, and about the connections between writers and their characters.  She writes:

I mean, at this point, I think anyone who decides to write a book is insane, but I’m wondering specifically about my sanity. Especially since I had a panic attack and came close to (at a minimum) being seriously injured and (at a maximum) dying this past Friday, in a place that I’m sure my main character saw.

For the full post, please visit Andra’s blog, The Accidental Cootchie Mama.

I don’t think Andra is insane, or at least no more than anyone else who ventures into this strange world of sharing stories through the written word or any other arts. In fact, in some ways I envy her that connection she has with her characters.

Or maybe that makes me crazier than she is.

Let me try to explain.

Stories unite us. Stories connect us. Stories exist in everything around us. True, stories can also hurt, separate, confuse, and condemn–that is part of their power. But, stories do not exist in a vacuum or come from a void. We don’t pluck our stories out of nothing and form them from nothing, we create from the abundance of material that surrounds us–sometimes material that sneaks into our creative subconscious from unknown sources.

As writers, as artists, we are simply receptacle of the abundance of story, and we take all that input and give it form.

If you think of the universe as a vast electrical sea in which you are immersed and from which you are formed, opening to your creativity changes you from something bobbing in that sea to a more fully functioning, more conscious, more cooperative part of that ecosystem. (Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

The writers I most admire, Andra included, have a way of tapping into their subjects that helps their reader join them in a world almost more real than our own. Even in non-fiction, the best writers (in my opinion) bring to life the lives and stories of their subjects so that we can experience a time, a place, a situation that might be outside our own everyday reality.

That is the power of story.

Occasionally I am able to tap into that energy, and heed the voices of the stories waiting there, yearning to be told. I’ve taken walks and had long conversations with characters (in my head) one of which lead to manuscript that I am trying (fearfully) to get out into the world. I wrote about that “conversation” in a post called “Walking with Invisible Friends” on the original incarnation of this blog.

I love it when the words seem to come from a place both inside and outside of myself. I struggle when I can’t seem to find the connection, or hear the loudest voice–find the story that needs to be told. It’s not about writer’s block. I have plenty of ideas floating around my head for both fiction and non-fiction, for adults and kid, short and long. No, the problem lies when no voice is strong enough, no character or person stands up, when the swirl of creativity spins so quickly I cannot hold onto anything long enough to give it justice.

That is why I envy Andra. Perhaps she’s ready to let this character go, but he obviously has more to say, or maybe he is simply nudging her to get his story out there. I, for one, can’t wait to read it.

Where do you think stories come from? How do you connect with your characters so that you can share their stories.

I Love it When . . .

I love it when . . .

. . . my words and ideas flow from me with a life of their own.

. . . I can revisit ideas that never quite came to fruition, and give them new life.

. . . I don’t let my fears and doubts stop me. I dive in, and say, “to hell with my inner critic, I’m doing this anyway.”

. . . I wake up in the morning feeling like anything is possible.

. . . I feel the connection with the creative pool that surround us, and with the energy that connects us.

. . . time passes and I don’t notice it, as I am caught in the creative flow.

I love it when that happens, but it doesn’t happen often enough. When it does, I almost believe that wishes can come true.

Wishing Upon a Star

Wishing Upon a Star

Juggling Time

I like writing in the morning
Ding dong, the words are gonna fly
Character’s speaking
Adventures peaking
It quickly makes the time go by!

[Sung to the tune of "I'm Getting Married in the Morning]

Enhanced Clock

I have recently realized that I am a morning person.

I prefer to do everything in the morning: exercise, run errands, teach classes, pay bills, and write, write, write.

If I don’t get things started in the morning, very little gets done.

Ah, but there’s a few problems with this system.

  • I’m a director of theatre . . . well, I still want to direct theatre productions. The theatre world is diametrically opposed to those who function better in the morning. So if and when I direct, I need to somehow become a morning person, an afternoon person (for any after school rehearsals) and a night owl. When do I get to nap?
  • Lately, the first thing I want to do in the morning is write. That’s great, you would think . . . until I become so focused on writing that everything else disappears. Like when Sarah forgot to set her alarm, and I didn’t realize she hadn’t gotten out of bed for an extra 15 minutes (which for a 10-year-old is the difference between a casual morning and complete panic). Since I’m currently single parenting, losing myself in early morning words isn’t the wisest choice.
  • Mornings simply aren’t long enough to achieve everything I want to do. When I’m in writing mode, everything else seems to slide into lower priority. Exercise? Bah! Cleaning up! Pshaw. Running errands? Later!  And of course . . . later is never a good time. If those things don’t happen before 1:30 or 2:00, they aren’t going to happen that day.

Ah, the joys and challenges of trying to live a creative lifestyle. What’s a girl to do? Right now, this girl is going to write.

When do you function best? How do you manage all the things you need to accomplish while your energy is high?