Bathroom Epiphanies

If I ever get the chance to design a dream home, I will have a moisture proof bathroom-759473_1280cabinets installed. They will all be withing easy reach of the sink, the bathtub and shower, and the toilet. Within these cabinets will be a variety of writing implements and paper or voice recording devices. This way I will be able to record all of the epiphanies I get while in that room of the house.

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A special drawer will also be installed in the kitchen, near the sink, for the same purpose. I am guessing my epiphanies must need water to bloom. ( I am a Pisces after all.)

 

Today I was brushing my teeth when I realized I have been trying to tell the wrong story for years. I thought I was writing my own thing, but as I pondered all the wonderful authors that I’ve enjoyed and reflected on how many favorites have crossed the rainbow bridge, I came to the conclusion I have been writing to fill a hole.

 

to-write-1706661_1280The characters are mine. The ideas are mine. However, there has always been something missing. Sometimes I have managed to grasp just a spark of whatever it is, but often it disappears. I want that magic I experienced reading my favorite authors and to obtain it I have been unconsciously attempting to mimic them. Like a kid in her father’s shoes, I’ve been tramping around trying to be like those I admire.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is how we learn. However, there comes a point where you have to wear your own shoes.

whats-your-storyI thought I knew my writing style. I thought I knew my voice. Now I know that I should take a closer look and maybe focus on those sparks of magic that were my own voice shining through.

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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.

I will be MIA for the rest of November…probably

nanoThere are eight days left in National Novel Writing Month, and I am around 10,000 words behind where I should be. This is why I did not post this past Monday.  (I honestly lost track of the days of the week again.)  Between kids, work, and writing I’ve been juggling quite a bit.  pooh-and-pigletThanksgiving is next week.  They had activities to celebrate the holiday at my children’s school on Thursday.  Next week I will be joining my family at the dinner table, happy to have good food to share but happier still for the people I will share it with.  I may do a quick post closer to the day, but just in case, I would like to let all who read this know I am thankful for you as well.

magic-book Writers write in private. Without readers our words would never be more than just print on a page.  Writers may sprinkle magic down in the form of words but it takes someone reading it to bring that magic fully to life.  So thank you for taking the time to read my blog and may you all have a blessed November, no matter if you celebrate it with turkey or not.  😉Thanksgiving-Charlie-Brown-Snoopy

 

Dryer Sheets and Treasures

burning matchIf my house ever burns down (God forbid) the inspectors will probably find that the spark that initiated the blaze began on top of the dryer.  My washer and dryer are old.  I mean, it takes three strong men to carry each of them into the house, after you have removed the front door so that they will fit, old.  But they still work and that’s all that really matters to me.  (The fact that I have to use a pair of pliers to turn the washer on, only means it has character.)

And since they are so large and ancient that means that there is a large flat space on top of the dryer.  Now I assume that people once used this space to fold clothes or sit laundry dryer_maintenancebaskets on.  Not in my house.   You see there is this rule (like one of those hard to break laws, like gravity or physics)  that all flat surfaces attract random items until the surface is completely hidden.   It is true of the dining room table, the tops of book shelves, and even the top of the refrigerator.  The dryer is not immune.

1005111_555556831173903_1488065885_nThe difference is that instead of books, papers, and cereal boxes; the dryer attracts treasures.  It’s like a rectangular white dragon hiding under it’s hoard.  You have the normal assortment of loose change, the collection of chap stick, and the pile of receipts.

Then there is the magic that comes out of children’s pockets.  feathers acornsShiny rocks, odd color rocks, clumps of dirt that looked like rocks, sticks, stickers, acorns, leaves, crumpled sketches, indecipherable lists, pine cones, gum wrappers, ponies (really tiny ones), screws, rocksbolts, pieces of wire, shiny pieces of plastic, bottle caps (the plastic ones off of soda bottles), marbles, feathers,…the list goes on.

Each item represents something they found.  Something that spacecaught their interest. Something that made them go “Oooooh!”  These are things we see everyday a walk right past but to my children each item is a treasure or an idea.

roald-dahl-inspiration-quote-motivation-life-advice-believe-in-magic-glittering-eyes-childrens-author-writerAs writers it wouldn’t hurt us to be more like children. To take a look at the world around us with those wondering eyes that see magic in plastic bottle caps.  As people, I believe it would it would do us a world of good as well.

Fathers

Happy Father’s Day to my Daddy. Yes I am grown with children of my own but that doesn’t change the fact that my Dad is my Daddy.  He is the person that first made writing seem like this magic, mystical thing.

My Mom read me books and told me stories. My Dad told me stories and he wrote.  Mostly poems, but it was amazing to me. It was like a wizard weaving a spell.  He put these words together, pulled them out of the air and tattooed them on paper skin, he arranged them just so and when he was done and you read them together and they meant something. They caused feelings. They amused or they tugged at your heart.  He put emotions on paper and transferred them to others.  It was magic.

I was in awe.  I still am.  Thank you Daddy for passing that magic on to me.   (Btw he is currently working on his first scifi novel. 😀   And it still feels like magic to watch him create even though I now do it too.)

Christmas Eve

cast-of-a-charlie-brown-christmas-2I’ve been feeling kind of up and down lately, like Charlie Brown trying to figure out what Christmas is all about.  I know the story of course. My grandfather was a preacher, it would be kind of hard not to.  Every year we would all gather at our tiny church on Christmas Eve and someone would read it by candle light.

My tree is lit, presents are wrapped, the kids and I have baked cookies, and I even read them the Night Before Christmas.  Sounds like the typical traditions have been observed right?  I’ve even watched the Grinch steal Christmas and the Griswolds acquire their tree.

So what am I missing?  Where is the magic?  Well this morning when I turned on the t.v. I got my answer… sort of.

The kids had left it on one of the cartoon channels so the first face I saw this morning was Steve Urkle from the show Family Maters.  It was one of the Christmas specials I suppose because there was a tree and talk of Santa Claus.  However the words that had me pause over the channel button were:  “Because it’s a miracle Laura, you don’t analyze miracles, you just believe in them!”christmas_eve

Clark-GriswoldMy name is not Laura but the words struck a cord.  Like Clark Griswold, I have been trying grinch-headertoo hard.  Like the Grinch, it was at that moment that I remembered “…Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more.”

There is so much going on in the world, a lot of it bad, that we get wrapped up this time of year either with the Christmas Blues or with forced cheer, trying to make everything just right.  We can’t make the world perfect.  It’s not made that way and everyone has there own version of perfect.

We can however remember miracles and accept them for what they are.  Don’t analyze.  Find a dollar when you needed one?  Get a phone call when you were down?  Someone show up for a surprise visit?  For every bad thing advertised there are a dozen little good things left unspoken.  best_41241bb5c2574fffced6_A_Charlie_Brown_Christmas_