Last year I made a promise to myself. I would write and post something every day even if it was simply to caption a photo from my most recent adventure. Thus began my Photo of the Day blog posts. Often, that was all I could manage. While my writing and photography skills have both sored to new heights in the last 12 months, I’m afraid my time management has all but left me.
Therefore, today marks the start of a couple of new writing goals. By virtue of recently befriending a fellow reader, writer, shooter, athlete and foodie, I have decided to take a step back from blogging in order to participate in April NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I plan to continue to post regularly, three times a week rather than my previous five, while using the off days to dig into a novel idea that I’ve been in the process of finishing for the past seven years. It’s high time I did something about that.
Many blessings to everyone this Easter. I hope you’ve enjoyed my random sparks of inspiration, potluck recipes, fantasy quotes and the occasional freewrite. I look forward to sharing much more but am excited to be embarking on a new literary adventure.
Of course, the day that I’m finally struck with a creative brainwave for a short story that I’d love to write, my computer decides to fail me. New characters are clamoring around in my mind, playing tug-of-war with my emotions and using my mouth to speak their emphatic heartache, begging me to write their story, and I can’t seem to get a good wifi connection. I sincerely hope the trail of creative breadcrumbs I’ve left for myself will be enough to find my way back at a later date when I can log into Google Docs and get to work. It’s always a danger with writing. I can’t wait to get to know those characters, interview them over a cup of coffee. I want to learn their names, who their friends are, where they grew up and why they made the choices that they did. But for now, it’s enough that they’ve stopped shouting and we can all get a good night’s sleep.
This short freewrite was the product of a quiet afternoon shortly after relocating to Indiana. It’s a welcome reminder. Whoever you are, don’t ever forget to practice your pirouettes. Happy Friday.
She was so giddy she felt lightheaded. Her toes barely brushed the floor as she bounded from kitchen to living room to bedroom with her arms splayed in what she imagined was a graceful arc above her head, like a professional ballerina. She’d never wanted to be a ballerina but in that moment she was so happy that she could have pirouetted with the best of them. Anything was possible. The sky was the limit and she had such grand plans. The last time she could remember being so intensely full of yellow joy, she’d been eleven and had just discovered the truth about Santa Clause. It had been the best Christmas she’d ever had and she was too happy to care that it had been her parents leaving those gifts under the tree all along. Mom and Dad were Santa but it didn’t matter because they’d just given her the most perfect, most magical Christmas she could think of.
A lot of people seem to think that the most tortured souls are the most beautiful, that from great tragedy springs great art. By that definition, I wonder if I’ll ever be a great artist. I hope not.
Maybe the reason this theory gets passed around is because sadness is one of the easiest emotions to evoke. Everyone has felt pain even if it wasn’t the emotional kind. To be human is to hurt and people are used to trudging through the trenches of life. There are plenty of occasions for grief but that’s not the kind of story I want to tell. Someday, I want people to be smiling when they put down a book with my name on the cover. I want them to have a taste of this immense joy that I feel.
What do you think? Is it possible to make something beautiful without making something sad? I think so. The world shines so much brighter when seeing it through happy eyes. Tears of joy are considerably better for the skin and the soul.
This freewrite was born in creative writing club in college. The character clicked her way into my consciousness and is loosely based on a few of my own Halloweens growing up. I still remember my sister and I spreading our treats across the dining room table and dividing them into piles for us and for the candy fairy who only came once a year while we were asleep on Halloween night. We were a little disgruntled to give up a portion of our sugary treasure but looking back, we always seemed to get the better end of the deal.
Her tall high heeled black boots clicked rhythmically on the cold concrete as she walked, a steady metronome for her thoughts. The red and gold leaves strewn on the path in front of her seemed to leap aside as she passed as if afraid of being trodden on by her heels. It was nearly 7:00pm. The sun hadn’t yet dipped behind the mountains but already, little toddlers in Walmart Elsa costumes and Spiderman masks were scattering over the trimmed lawns that hadn’t yet lost their color.
She watched them as she walked. They were so excited. She remembered being that small and being just as full of anticipation for the mountains of sweets still to come. She was never allowed to keep all her sugary treasure from the evening’s dance from house to house. Her parents always made her pick her favorite ten pieces. The rest, they said, was for the Candy Fairy, who always came in the night. Every year when she woke the next morning, her extra candy would be gone but in its place would be a present. One year, the candy fairy brought a beautiful leather bound copy of her favorite story, the Lord of the Rings. She still remembered when she first felt those velvety smooth pages, smelled that alluring scent of a new book, sweeter than any candy to her.
It was just another Santa Claus, another Easter Bunny, another Tooth Fairy. She knew the truth now about where those wonderful gifts came from just like she knew the truth about who set the presents out under the tree every Christmas. She had long since stopped going Trick-or-Treating although she still got dressed up and went out with friends. It was odd. There was a deep sense of nostalgia which ached in her stomach. She missed the days when the Candy Fairy had been real and yet, in some ways, it still was. She had seen behind that curtain around the same time she’d discovered the truth about Santa but she could still feel the magic that had fueled the happy glow in her six-year-old eyes.
Now, she watched it bloom in the wake of dozens of costume clad kids all with orange plastic Jack-o-Lantern buckets swinging from their arms or bouncing behind them as they skipped from house to house. They were all so intent on their treasure hunt. Their parents and younger siblings in strollers trailed behind them, keeping their distance while still close enough to be considered a watchful eye.
None stopped to wave to her or catch her eye. She didn’t expect them to. Even when it wasn’t Halloween people rarely grew so friendly as to be called neighborly. Not to her. She had long ago been branded as odd. People kept their distance. By now, she barely noticed except around children. All the adults in town knew to stay away but there was still the rare occasion when some little person hadn’t yet been taught to keep away from the weird witch girl who lived on Luna Way up on the hill.
It was hardly her fault. She wasn’t a powerful evil enchantress. Strange things simply happened when she was around, not all of them good.
I recently came across one of my favorite childhood books, The Dragons Are Singing Tonight by Jack Prelutsky. As I skimmed through it one poem caught my eye. I think these words ring true for all sorts of magic. Dare to believe in the impossible.
If you don’t believe in dragons,It is curiously trueThat the dragons you disparageChoose to not believe in you.
This was the product of a quiet afternoon with nothing to do but play with words. Someday, I’d love to be a character like this.
She’s measured and reserved, always on her way to something important. She flits through life in perpetual motion, like a hummingbird. Her bright wings only ever stop for a second or two while she sips the sweet nectar of a trumpet vine. That’s all the time she allows herself to catch her breath and refuel. Then it’s off to the races once again, those wings beating so quickly they are a transparent blur as she buzzes through the day.
“Luck favors the prepared,” she’s known to say as she shoulders an enormous purse that she borrowed from Mary Poppins. And it’s true. She is never unprepared and eternally lucky. She’s ready for anything, whether it be a runny nose or a boring afternoon. All she needs is right there, tucked away in that magical, impossibly large purse of hers.
She can always produce a pen and notebook out of thin air and books tend to follow her wherever she goes, fantasy novels mostly, like they’re hoping she’ll stumble into their crisp pages and take up residence there. Maybe someday she will.
There’s something magical about the air just before the light fades. The Sun has gone down but the day is still slow to retreat. Evening seeps into the world like ink onto a page and a charged hush dims all but the electric periwinkle of a wild blossom. In that crackling moment, everything is clear and sharp and exactly how it’s supposed to be.
This was a freewrite I wrote one quiet evening while sitting on a park bench watching the Sun retreat from the treetops. However, there were plenty of other lights that came out in the twilight. This was the product of some happy, random dabbling with words. Enjoy!
The silence of the smallest fireworks
pirouetting in the air
on soft summer nights.
That sparkle in my peripheral
letting me know that I’m not alone.
Twinkling to life,
startled by my footsteps
and always travelling up.
Their journey begins
on the tip of a blade of grass.
They flare to life around my knees
before flickering out of existence
on their quest for the stars
like angels pointing the way.
There are some views that will always take your breath away as long as you’re paying attention. The scene from the air over Colorado is one of these and inspired this freewrite.
“I love my life,” she thought as the horns of the Rohirrim sounded in her head. She was thousands of feet in the air, the monolithic metal wing of the plane visible out the window to her left. Beyond it she could see ancient grey peaks contoured with white snow and wreathed at their base by a blanket of warm green velvet. They jutted up from the Earth to create shallow basins for dozens of glittering snowmelt lakes.
She knew that’s what they were, flaring a blinding golden light, like mirrors in the evening sun. She’d visited enough of them to recognize their glassy surfaces even from this height. As she watched, her mouth slightly open in an awestruck ‘O,’ she couldn’t help but think of the beacons of Minas Tirith blazing to life and lighting a path from the people of Gondor to their comrades in Rohan.