My House, or Everyday Magic

hot chocolateThis morning my son and I were sitting on the couch sipping hot chocolate and coffee and watching cartoons.  (No school today. It’s MLK day.)  He looked over at me during the commercial break and asked, “Mommy, do you know where my DS is?”

“You let your sister borrow it last night, so it’s probably in her room.”

There was a moment of silence where you could see him weighing the pros and cons.  (His sister was still asleep and not the most pleasant person when rudely awakened.)

“If I am really quiet do you think I can go get it out of her room?”

I grinned at my blue eyed boy. “Go for it.”

(Cue Mission Impossible Music.)

Creeping down the dark hall, (that we had already tromped down repeatedly that morning) he slipped up to the closed door plastered with kitten posters and eyed the door knob.  I followed from a safe distance to observe.  Indiana Jones switching the golden idol indianafor a bag of sand didn’t move as carefully as my son, turning the door handle and easing it open.  (It’s a dangerous thing invading an older sister’s room while she sleeps.)

Soft snores echoed from the pink blanketed bed as he stepped deeper into her inner sanctum.  Then he saw it.  His Nintendo DS sat on the corner of her desk.  Moving quickly, he snatched up what he came for and headed back  just as the snores stopped and the bed creaked.  Leaving the door open he grinned at me and ran for the living room.

I peeked in on my sleeping daughter, smiled and shut the door.  My son was standing back in the hall with a serious expression when I turned around.

“What’s wrong?”   I asked.

“The stylus is still in there.”

ToLeviathan make a long story short, the second trip into the room didn’t go as smoothly.  It ended with my son and I running down the hall yelling “The Leviathan awakes!” While my daughter stumbled toward the bathroom muttering, “Not funny.”

Dramatic?

Well, yeah.  Welcome to my house.  We have a budding artist, a future film maker, and a writer all under one roof.  (My daughter, my son, and me.)   Our kitchen table is always buried under paper.   Story notes are covered by sketches and stick figures spouting dialogue.

When we are all home the house is never “clean”.  The dishes may be done and the clothes clean_green_laundrywashed but that is about as good as it gets. Straightening the living room is a lost cause.  We spend a lot of time there.  If we clean it, that only provides an empty canvas for a new project.

Beyond our usual interests my son likes to build things, my daughter likes to bake, and I sew…sort of.  We all like to read.  Our house is a book covered, creative mess most of the time.  Though Monday through Friday from around 10am to 2pm it is neat and tidy…unless I have lost track of time while writing.  (I clean when I get stuck.)

two monkeys and a snakeLast week while checking my son’s backpack I pulled out two monkeys and a snake.  Then while I was busy being amused, the cat ran by carrying a fake mustache in its mouth.  (True story.)

We may not have a “normal” household, but it is perfect for us.  The Creative Well that my blog is named after,  isn’t just a place in a writer’s imagination.  For me, it is also my home.  It’s the everyday things that inspire me.  It’s my son and daughter creating something new or discovering something they have never seen.  It’s the sense of awe in their faces, the excitement and the wonder.Alice Falling

One of my favorite scenes from Alice in Wonderland is where she falls down the rabbit hole.  She passes clocks, books, nick knacks and rocking chairs.  Everyday things that are suddenly shown in a new perspective.

As a fiction writer, that is what I love best.  Taking an everyday place or object and revealing magic.  It’s what I admire most about the author’s that I read.  The diner in Draw One In The Dark by Sarah  Hoyt,  a falling star in Stardust by Neil Gaiman, the hats that Sophie makes in Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones…  I could kept the list going forever.  Don’t believe me?  Check out just one book by Robert Asprin (ferrets) or Terry Pratchett (The luggage).

I think everyday magic is the best kind.  It is what makes you dream.

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Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy passed away yesterday.  The world has lost another great writer.  And yet there are still footsteps in the sand for us to follow.

For those of us who put ink on a page, the work that is left behind by the wordsmiths that shuffle off this mortal coil ahead of us should be read as sign posts.  Each book you’ve read, each story you’ve enjoyed that triggered the “wish I could write like that” twinge,  those are sign posts leading onward saying: Here lie dreams.  Follow them.  Share them.  Cause others to dream.

Or ,if you prefer, Hunt for your own Red October.

Waking up late and quiet inspiration

I am having difficulties waking up this morning.  I now hold in my hands a hot cup of Earl Grey that I hope will do the trick.  I have to return to my night job tonight so sleeping in is not such a bad thing, except I write best in the mornings.  (The definition of morning for me is two hours before I would normally get up.  The actual time of day doesn’t really matter since I have such a strange work schedule. Morning usually arrives at five o’clock.)

I stayed up into the wee hours last night with the kids.  I set up my daughter’s telescope and let them stare at the moon for a little while.  They quickly grew bored and went back inside but I remained in the back yard (sitting in the grass I really need to mow) gazing at the sky.

Growing up in the middle of nowhere, I used to do this a lot as a kid. My brother and I would sit outside for hours just starring at the sky.  When we went to visit my grandmother during the Summer (who also lived in the middle of nowhere, just in Florida) we would climb onto the roof of my grandfathers workshop and star gazed from there.  (We always got in trouble for being up there but that never stopped us.)

I realized last night how long it’s been since I last sat outside and dreamed about those pin pricks of diamond light.  Looking up into the night makes you realize how small you are and how unique. Taking a deep breath of air, smelling the damp grass, and listening to the crickets I let myself let go of all I logically know about space. (Which honestly is limited to what I learned in school, from the Discovery Channel, and a few books.)

I let myself dream like I did when I was a kid who watched Star Wars with my dad and carried the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy around in the pocket of my coat.  I left myself open to all the possibilities, real and imagined, until I was filled to the brim with magic.  The night sky is a big and amazing thing.  It was nice to remember that, to feel awe at how tiny we really are, and how far the possibilities can stretch.

I am glad I am a writer, because for me all of those possibilities can become real, even if it is only on a page. And if I write well enough, then one day maybe they will become real for someone who reads them.