A Story and a Cup of Tea

When my daughter was little, one of her favorite things to do was have a tea party. Since my mom loved them too, it became their “thing” to do together. Tea and crumpets consisted of anything to drink, (usually water, sometimes Kool-aid, often tea) and a snack item (Gold Fish, cookies, oyster crackers, whatever was lying around.)

Tea Party

They would sometimes play dress up, but more often than not, it was all about the tea set and the British accent, and being together.

My daughter is 20 years old now, in college planning on law school, but one of her prized possessions is the china tea set that her Mimi gave her.

Blue Willow Tea set

One year for my mother’s birthday, we created a huge book of short stories, back stories from my Sisterhood of the Sword Series. We called it A Story and a Cup of Tea.  Each story had a specialty tea bag that had some significance to the characters in the story.

Story and Cup o' Tea

I’ve decided to share the tales with you. The next few weeks I will post short stories from this collection.  So brew up a cup  of tea, sit back and enjoy.

This week we will enjoy a cup of tea called Rick’s Garden Brew. Heartwork Village Fans may recognize this sweet couple, they are Corey Chastain’s Great Great Grandparents.

Valen’s Journey

By LaDonna ColeValen

“Mimi!” Valen ran through screen door of the boat house screeching.  “Mimi, Papaw!”

“Whoa, there youngster.”  Rick snagged his granddaughter’s arm.  “What’s all this excitement?”

“Papaw!  I saw the deer family!  I saw the mommy deer and the two little fawns!”  Valen bounced into her grandfather’s arms.

“You did? In the meadow?”

“Yes, Papaw!  We have to tell Mimi!  She loves the baby deer!”

Rick laughed and touched the freckled cheek of his five year old grandchild, visiting for the summer.  She favored his wife, Shanna.  Red spiraled curls and mischievous green eyes shined.

“Mimi!”  The screen door slammed behind Shanna.

Rick gazed at his bride, she still stole his breath.  Hair piled in a messy knot of curls and glasses perched on the end of her nose, she sauntered to the worktable where dusty artifacts littered every inch of space and old books piled high in towers.  A sarcophagus leaned against the wall and straw filled crates spilled open.

Shanna broke into his favorite smile when Valen’s excitement reached her. “Hello, my two favorite people!”  Shanna enveloped Valen and kissed her nose.  “What’s all the commotion?”

“I saw them, Mimi! You said if I sat very still and quiet, they would come!  They did, Mimi!  They did!”

Shanna clapped her hands together with sheer glee. “Oh Valen, I’m so glad you got to see them!”  She escorted Valen to the worn leather sofa.

Rick settled beside them and listened to Valen chatter.  He and Shan stole smoldering glances over her head.  Resting his arm along the back of the couch, he fingered Shan’s curls while she listened to Valen’s account of the fawn’s antics.

Before long Valen finished her story and wandered away to another adventure.

Rick stroked Shanna’s cheek, she flushed under his touch like a school girl.  It reminded him of the moment he fell in love with her.Tsian and Rick

“I want to show you something.”  Taking his hand, she led him to the table.  “Look at this piece.”

“It’s beautiful.”  He fingered the workmanship of the pewter vase.

“It isn’t Terran.”

Rick locked his eyes on Shanna.  “You mean…”

“It’s Ampeliagian, Rick.”

He furrowed his brow.  “Are you sure?”

“Test it with your quantum EMF.”

“I will.”  He turned the vase over in his hands inspecting it from every angle.  “I didn’t think things could cross to this side of the veil.”

Rick dragged Shan and the vase to his side of the boat house. Pushing aside the large vinyl strips separating the lab from her artifacts, they stepped into his world of shiny surfaces and beakers.  Computers lined one wall and a table of electronic and magnetic measuring instruments mirrored it.

He analyzed the vase and shared a grin with Shanna when the needle spiked into the quantum range.  They were so engrossed in their work that they didn’t notice the sunset or passing of time.

“Where is Valen?”  Shanna stretched.

Rick looked up absentmindedly from his computer.  “Huh? I don’t know.  It isn’t like her to be away so long.”

“Rick!”  Shanna’s face sketched worried lines and her voice weakened with dread.

“Don’t worry, honey, she is probably watching TV.  Let’s go see.”

Walking along the dock, Shanna paused, then pointed.  “Rick!”

The canoe bobbed abandoned midway in the glassy pond. “Don’t panic, Shan.  Go check the house.”

Shanna sprinted, calling “Valen!  Valen!”

Rick thrashed to the center of the pond. Tilting the canoe toward him, he peered inside.  Valen’s daisy flip flop lay abandoned in the bottom.

The screen door slammed. Shanna sped to the pier’s foot, peeling off her clothes.  “She isn’t answering!” White skin pierced black water.  Diving and searching, praying and hoping, they desperately groped for their precious granddaughter in the recessed depths.

Memories assailed Rick.  Thirty years ago this had happened, except Shan was the one missing.  She had crossed over into another world, Ampeliagia, and lived several years as the foster daughter of a great king, the companion to three exceptional women, and servant to a god she curiously called, Juan.

Once again, he sought a red headed girl who had stolen his heart, but this one was his own flesh and blood. Plunging deeper each time, he penetrated the mysterious lake.  The moon and stars danced across the ripples, beauty mocking the frenetic search.

What if he failed this time?

No, he would not lose Valen.

After thirty minutes his muscles screamed in agony and he knew Shan was exhausted.  He sent her to the pier.

“Rick, it’s been too long.  She couldn’t…”  Shanna’s voice broke with the dread of her own words.

Rick dove again refusing to give up.  His lungs seared in his chest and with a mouthful of water he surrendered to the surface.

“Rick!”Moon water

Shan’s voice wasn’t coming from the dock or the canoe as he expected.

“Rick!”

Scouring the edges of the shadowy pond, he caught a snatch of white between the reeds.

“Rick, help me.”  Shanna, in the thick of the reeds curved over something.  “Rick, I found her!”

“Dear God,” he splashed toward Shanna’s voice.  She bent over the frail form and puffed into her mouth.

Rick slogged into the shallows and collapsed beside the lifeless body of his granddaughter. “Shanna, is she…”

“She has a pulse.  She’s not breathing.”  Shanna blew another breath.

The chest of Rick’s tiny grandbaby rose and fell as Shanna forced air into her lungs.  Willing his granddaughter to live, he cried.

Breathe.

He waited an eternity.

Water lapped along the shore.

Shanna forced air.

A bat fluttered across the sky.

Shanna forced breath.

A toad plunked into the water.

Shanna forced life.

Valen’s hand fluttered and she coughed.

“Thank you, Juan,”  Shanna whispered and cradled Valen upright.

Valen retched volumes of water.

“For my babies,”  Valen’s voice croaked, “for my twin boys.”

Her eyes focused on the faces hovering above her and registered alarm. “Where am I?”  She rasped out.

“Valen, honey, you’re here with Mimi and Papaw.  You’re okay, we saved you.”  Shanna cooed and smoothed Valen’s hair.

Rick’s blood ran cold in his veins.  The expression on his granddaughter’s face, he had seen before on his wife.

“Bor!” Valen’s little voice moaned in grief too deep for her years.

Rick buried his face in his hands.

“Bailen, Achbor!”  Her mourning cries broke the stillness of the night.

Shanna’s startled gasp drew Rick’s gaze.

“Did you say Achbor?”  She whispered.

“My son!  Do you know where he is?”  Valen seized Shanna’s arms and implored.  “Regolian will kill him.  We must hide them both.”

Shanna made a popping sound in the back of her throat and her eyes slid out of focus.

“She crossed.”  Shanna trembled in shock.  “She crossed over.  She was Achbor’s mother.”

Rick scooped his granddaughter into his arms and led his wife into the house.

“I can’t believe it. Achbor told me once I reminded him of his mother, Valen.” Shanna gaped at her granddaughter, mother to the man who adopted Shanna.  “She lived a lifetime in Ampeliagia, she’ll never be the same.  She’s not a child anymore.”

“If anyone can help her through this it is you.  Think of the bond you’ll share.  You both loved a great king, her son, your foster father.”

Shanna fingered the burgundy ringlets splayed across Valen’s face and longing flashed across hers. She was homesick for Ampeliagia. Rick determined in that moment to find a way to open the door between the two worlds.

The End

If you want to know more about the outcome of Rick’s determination, read Heartwork Village Stories, Holding Kate Trilogy~ The Torn, (due for release in October) The Keepers, and The Source and visit HeartworkVillage.com. To read about Shanna’s adventure in Ampeliagia, watch for the Sisterhood of the Sword Saga, Threshold: Tsian the Wise.

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Words of the Fathers

I have been blessed with a lovable dad, a example of excellence in a step father, an adoring father-in-law, and many wise mentor-fathers in my life. Their words have collided inside of me to bring about a treasure trove of wisdom and phrases to live by. I would like to commemorate the Fathers in my life by sharing some of the quotes and stories they have spoken and lived before me.

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Reverend Donald Ray Brothers

Daddy and Me

My daddy is one of the most lovable and fun people I have ever known. His jolly nature and passion for the Word draws people. He loves sharing jokes and pranks. I get my happy from my daddy.

That is so good, it would make a minnow slap a whale!

Another phrase that I heard him repeat often…

You are a Brothers!

I wasn’t sure what that meant, growing up, but the way he said it made me believe it was something awesome to strive to live up to.

The Brothers Family

The Brothers Family

You’ve gotta hold your mouth just right.

Those were his words of wisdom when teaching me how to fish. I can still see him jiggle the line and stick out his tongue. He taught me to hunt, fish, pray and love people.

My favorite daddy story is about the time he heard the audible voice of God. Here it is in his point of view.

“My daddy and I were hunting for deer in Colorado and I walked up the side of a mountain, over it into another valley and back up the next mountain. I was looking for tracks and signs and ended up farther away from camp than I had planned and got turned around a bit. So I tromped back up the mountain and spotted the road and headed toward it.  I finally got back to the camp site and realized I had lost my wallet out in the wilderness. My hunting license, deer tags, my driver’s license and all my money, gone!

I got mad at God. Everything that had gone wrong in my life crashed in that moment. All my regrets and all my failures bubbled up into a ball of rage and feelings of being rejected by God. I knew he had turned his back on me.

“You’d do it for my dad, but you won’t do it for me!” (Referring to the year before when his dad lost his wallet and God told him right where to go to find it.)  

So, I set out retracing my steps the next day, hoping I could find it. I walked and walked and knew it was a hopeless situation. I had covered miles and miles the day before. But, I was so mad that I wasn’t any good to anyone back at the camp anyway. I finally gave up and sat down and leaned my back against a tree.

With my head low and my shoulders drooped, I grumbled and mumbled to God about how worthless I was and what a failure I had been.  I felt I would be better off dead and buried than to live a life out of God’s favor. I squeezed the gun in my hands and thought real hard about what to do with it next.

Suddenly, I heard a deep voice as clear as I am talking to you.

“As I did for your father, so will I do for you!”  

I was startled and raised my head. My eyes landed on a dark object just down the hill in front of me. Upside down in the position of a tent, was my wallet. I couldn’t believe my eyes!  Or my ears!  I jumped up and started whooping and hollering and praising God. Tears ran down my cheeks. I rushed back to the campsite and told my daddy the story and we both danced around, embraced, and bawled our eyes out thanking God for his love, forgiveness, and provision.”

Papa and Dayla

Thank you, Daddy, for giving me a legacy of faith and a heritage and foundation based on God.

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Harry Lee Gordon, RPh

Harry and Mimi

Perhaps the most intelligent person I know is my step father, Harry.  More than just an appreciation of intelligence, he has given me a sense of integrity, a mentality to strive for excellence, and the love of the endless pursuit of knowledge.

Early in our relationship when things were not going so well, he took me to my room and sat on the edge of the bed and told me. “We are a family now, your mom, your sister, my girls and I. We are going to make it through this transition. Everything is going to be okay.”

At the time I did not value or even believe his words, (angsty teenager), but time and consistency won me over. He was right. We were okay. He wanted me to know that he was not going anywhere. He was going to stay. That is just what I needed to hear in a time when everything had been turned upside down in my world. I didn’t want to hear it, but I needed to hear it and he knew that intuitively.Lighthouse viewing

Through the years he lived in front of me a life of integrity, success, and provision and is one of the people in the world I admire the most. He has claimed my kids as his own grand kids and has loved us and taken care of us in so many precious ways. His generous heart and goodness bind me to him as a daughter.

I see how he adores my mom and it is good for my soul.

1007121846b-1

Mom and Harry stroll along Tybee beach.

My favorite Harry story is about a Christmas Carol and a curse.

Every year it is a tradition to go to the Christmas Eve service at First Christian in Wichita Falls, Texas. They put on a pageant, the choir sings and it ends in a candle light service. This year the choir sang Carol of the Bells and it seemed to go on and on and on and we were all hungry and ready to get to the party foods that mom had prepared. We finally left and started back to the car for the traditional party.

I mumbled under my breath, “I thought they would never stop Harkin’ those Bells.” Then realized I had said it a bit too loud. I cut my eyes up to Harry.

Instead of a lecture on good manners, he replied. “Yeah, enough of those damn bells.”

I threw my head back and laughed so hard that tears sprinkled. To this day we can’t hear that song without thinking of that statement.

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Larry Dean Cole

Pa and Dayla

Oh my, if there was ever a man in this world who knew how to show me love it was my father-in-law, Larry Cole.  He claimed me as his daughter-in-law before his son and I were anything more than friends. He has lavished love on me and my children from the beginning and no one in my life has ever accepted me the way Dad did.  There was never any doubt that I was his. He loved to call me “Daughter-in-Law.” It was his way of claiming me in the family and holding me there.

Larry

He worked harder than any one I know. He was always about the business of providing for “my bride” and making sure everything was just so. He loved to give gifts, but hated taking them. He loved the holidays and wanted all of us to

His favorite gift ever? We put a snow man in a bottle with instructions. He loved it!

His favorite gift ever? We put a snow man in a bottle with instructions to dump the water into the yard at the first sign of freezing temperatures. He loved it!

be together.

Family was everything to him and he instilled in me a sense of family loyalty and showed me how to be a loving and affectionate mom.  By embracing me into his fold, he showed me the importance of a close knit bond between family. His passing was unbelievably hard. I cherish the moments, the years, the holidays and the love that we shared.  Pa, you aren’t here to read this blog, so I will heart-mail a copy to heaven so you can read it there.  But I know these words are not new to you. We have spoken and shared our bond out loud through the years. No regrets, no love withheld.

Just let it seek its level.

Anytime we went to him with a problem, those were his words of patience and advice.

I just want to hear LaDonna sing, I don’t care about all those other people up there.

He was my biggest fan.  I got to sing at his bedside the night he passed away. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was singing along in his heart and so very proud.

You have done an incredible job with those babies.

He told me often how proud he was of me for raising his grand babies to be good people who love Jesus.

He was the strength and glue of the Cole Clan. It was in his embrace that we found shelter, family, and home.

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The words of the Fathers resound in my full spirit tonight. I have been blessed to have such amazing men raise me.

My Pawpaw, and my daddy as a boy.

My Pawpaw, and my daddy as a boy.

My Pawpaw and Grandma Choate

My Pawpaw and Grandma Choate

Peacocks and Prose

Have you ever had the feeling someone was watching you? You know that weird sensation that creeps up the back of your neck and makes you turn your head to search out the culprit? That happened to me one day while I was at my desk.
My spine tingled and I slowly turned my head to the window beside me to see two beady eyes staring at me, 15 inches from my face. Those eyes were attached to a peacock.

A peacock!baak

He turned and strutted forward through the alley and was followed by a train of peacocks and peahens. I stepped outside and watched them strut through the neighborhood around the corner and over the back berm in a colorful parade. Occasionally, they would return and meander along the same path. Such pride and confidence exuded from them, I felt like a commoner along the procession route of a royal caravan, gawking at the splendor of true beauty.

Well written prose often leaves me feeling the same way– in awe of the author as they strut across the page in phrases as colorful as a peacock’s quill and words so flowery and exquisite that tears sprinkle. But how do we, as novelists, get out of the way and let the story shine through without our pride parading through the pages like proud peacocks? A difficult task, but if we can master the art of prosaic storytelling, then we might actually have a reason to strut.

Here are some tips to fill out our tail feathers and help us become the “Cock of the Walk” in prose.

peacock

Quill 1: BE CLEAR

The best prose is constructed in a way that is easy to follow. The meaning is clear and the words don’t distract from the message. Roz Morris says it this way. “Good prose doesn’t try to put up barriers. It might make interesting word choices and deploy an image stylishly, but it wants to be understood – deeply and completely.”

Murky example: Washing her mane, the rain barrel water became clouded spilling it over onto the pernicious puddles of printed mud and squishing between his appendages.

Say what? Who washed whose hair where and why do we care about mud squishing? The murky example has unmatched phrases and modifiers. We get the idea of the picture the writer was trying to create, but since it is so poorly constructed and the word choices are sketchy, it leaves us confused and frustrated.

Pristine example: Jose scooped a bucket of water from the rain barrel and poured it over Lisa’s head. Rivulets cascaded down her shapely back, dripping into the cloudy water and splashing over the edges of the wooden slats to the muddy red dirt…

All of the phrases have proper modifiers and it is clear to the reader who is doing what and where. It makes us curious and leads us forward into the story. We don’t get tripped up by the word choices and we know this is about two people in a specific place and time, doing a specific action. Even better, we want to know more about Jose and Lisa’s relationship. The writer led us down a path, stimulated our curiosity and encouraged us to turn the corner to see what comes next.

Clarity in writing is our first quill.

peacock

Quill 2: HIDE YOUR RESEARCH

Even the most experienced writers have a tendency to show off their hours of research. Unless you are writing a term paper for a college professor or a professional journal, we really don’t want to see facts spilled out on the page. It becomes preachy and disrupts the flow of the story. I know you put in hours and hours of research for a single sentence sometimes, but it’s better if we aren’t made aware of it. Don’t make your reader think, “Ooooh, this guy is a great researcher.” Keep the reader engrossed in the story.

Preachy example: Kim earned her nursing degree, that took her two years at a fully accredited school before she could take her NCLEX test for state licensure, so she knew exactly what symptoms of the diagnostic code for Undifferentiated Schizophrenia were present in her step-father.

Really? Is that what you want us to take out of this story?

Engrossing example:

“Aliens?” Kim clarified.
“Yes, they’re running through the back door with pink umbrellas!” Her stepfather’s eyes bulged and he pointed with one hand and protected his face with the other.
Kim whirled around, there was nothing coming through the back door. She slowly turned back to face her stepfather and chills crawled up her spine. He was hallucinating!  Years of nursing school lectures kicked in and she was overwhelmed with a sense of dread. Dad was schizophrenic!

Details add flavor to the story, but too many unnecessary facts will lull your readers to sleep or give them unexplainable urges to fling your book across the room.

peacock

Quill 3: KEEP THE BEAT

Words have not only rhyme, but rhythm. Listen to the pace your words are setting. Are you creating an intense scene? Your pacing should be quick and the rhythm choppy. Do you want to pull the reader into a melancholy mood? Long pensive sentences that evoke emotion are needed.

Tosca Lee is genius in this excerpt from Havah. Take note of the rhythm and movement of the words and how they evoke a certain feeling.

“A bird trilled. Near my ear: the percussive buzz of an insect. Overhead, tree boughs stirred in the warming air. I lay on a soft bed of herbs and grass that tickled my cheek, my shoulders, and the arch of my foot, whispering sibilant secrets up to the trees. From here I felt the thrum of the sap in the stem—the pulsing veins of the vine, the beat of my heart in harmony with hundreds more around me, the movement of the earth a thousand miles beneath. I sighed as one returning to sleep, to retreat to the place I had been before, the realm of silence and bliss—wherever that is.”
Lee, Tosca (2010-07-16). Havah (p. 3). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Could you sense the pulse of the words? She has used the feel and cadence of words to create an ethereal sensation of birth into a new world.

Now, in contrast read this example. Try to spot the mood that the author, Heather Burch creates in Halflings.

“Exhaustion squeezed each muscle, depriving them of strength. Likewise, it pushed at her consciousness, promising failure. When she thought her lungs might literally burst, a momentary, blinding flash of light sparked above her, as if the universe were snapping a picture of her dilemma. Within seconds of the spark of light, a sound descended.”
Burch, Heather (2012-01-31). Halflings (Kindle Locations 47-50). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Quick paced, choppy consonants, we are running along with the character.

Now read this excerpt and see if you can spot the problems with rhythm.

“I needed to keep running away! Trying to escape from the weapon wielding intruder was difficult at best, heaviness settled around me drifting down on the backs of wafting snowflakes, tiredness overcame my senses and weary muscles strained to carry my body away from the murderous assailant. How had this happened? My imagination surged trying to make some semblance of reason as I continued forward in my hasty and unsighted escape to freedom’s beckoning voice.”

In this paragraph we understand the character is running away from a murderer, but we don’t get any urgency from the sentence structure and word choices. There is almost a sauntering feeling to the words.

Compare to this account:
“Run! Move those feet! The murderer lunged closer, his knife scraped my leg. I leaped away and tore through the snow covered parking lot. Tired, exhausted, I forced my legs to move. The murderer chased. Why me? Why did he choose to come after me? I dashed into the ally, bounded over a fallen trash bin, and streaked toward freedom.”

We are carried away with the character, immediately immersed in her panicked retreat. Instead of gathering facts, we feel the urgency.

Listen to the rhythm of your words and use them to create emotion, atmosphere, and moods in your prose.

Keep these three quills safely tucked into your collection of ideas and knowledge. When the time is right, pull them out, dip them into the ink well of your muse and write better prose. Before long we will have a train of Prosaic Peacocks to strut around the publishing world.

What Quills can you share with us to help improve our prose?

Images from Word clip art.

The Muse in My Closet

There is a little fairy that lives behind the curtain next to my desk.  Tucked in the darkness of the space-saving-organizer-unit, she hibernates unseen most of the time.  I call her Gladys.  She is timid and happy to stay sequestered away most days.  It is difficult to do my job without her and often I have to coax her out of the closet with chocolate.

I am a writer and Gladys is my muse.Muse

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could call on our muse to come out and sit on our shoulders while we write?  Then tuck her away in a closet until the next time we crack our knuckles to type in our novels.  The muse in me is a persnickety little creature who shows up in the weirdest moments; when I am in the tub, or sound asleep, or driving, those times when finding a keyboard to type on are nearly impossible.  This causes a big problem.  When I need to write, the muse is often absent.

How do we encourage our creativity to appear when we need it?  Here are a few simple steps to coax Gladys out of the closet.

Feed Gladys

Just like any other fairy, Gladys needs nourishment.  She doesn’t eat peanut butter sandwiches (contrary to popular opinion). She needs inspiration. Three particular morsels will nourish Gladys above all others.

     Nature: The beauty of creation, vast and powerful, will give my inner muse weeks and weeks of creativity.

Hammock view
The ACTUAL view
from my hammock!

It doesn’t have to be the Grand Canyon or the white sands of the Bahamas, just the view from my hammock is enough to purge the dull and help my inspiration soar to new heights.

Plus it’s free! Even better!

Find a cozy corner of nature near your neck of the woods and invite your Gladys to come out to play.

     

     Art: Creativity begets creativity.

Another way to encourage inspiration is to indulge in various art forms.    I love to listen to or play music, engage in the dramatic arts, (opera, plays, the symphony, rock out at a Red concert, or simply play the Civil Wars on my MP3.)  I douse myself in beautiful paintings, colors, photographs. One live Celtic Woman concert gave me inspiration to continue a 5 book series.

Potter piano
Art passed down through my family.

There are so many ways to indulge in artistic expression, find your favorites and fill your down time with artistic activities that will feed the machination.

     Books:   There is nothing better for enhancing your writing, than reading those who do it well.

Every writer has his own way of putting words together.  Read them, chew on them, read them again, study them, take them in.  I read my favorites up to 5 times.

  • the first read through is quick, just for the story
  • the next time I try to get inside the author’s head (plots, world building)
  • then I will read to absorb the voice and points of view
  • again for the flow, the pacing, the vocabulary.

Each repeat brings new revelation.  If you want to be a writer, study successful writers.  Feed your muse with jobs done well, teach her how you want to write.

Discipline Gladys

Oh that minxy little muse will lure you into all kinds of resistance!  She must be controlled.  My worst distraction is when she decides I need to sketch out my characters, or scenes.  I am a terrible drawer…zero skill…but Gladys insists on making me draw, paint, decorate, rearrange, sign up to direct the church play, spend hours at the piano or guitar or ukulele.  All fine and dandy, but I should be writing!  Not playing around with Gladys!  She is a mischievous fairy and lures me away to la la land every chance she can.  So, I must set boundaries for how much time I will allow Gladys to monopolize.

“Gladys!”

“Lalala…doesn’t your pretty blue guitar need new strings? Let’s string her!”

“Oh, yeah, I guess I need to… GLADYS!”

“Hey, look!  We could paint a butterfly on that board and it would make the Scriptorium so pretty!”

All things
Gladys actually got me on this one!

“oooOOOooo, yeah!  I have just the shade of blue in my paint box!  What? NO! I need to write, Gladys!”

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*Gladys will take me for long journeys down distraction lane, if I don’t rein her in and make her behave.

Daily talks with Gladys

It’s fun to think of my creative side as a playful fairy, but the truth is I do recognize a higher power at work in me at times.  A separate and other author of creativity. Without him there is nothing fresh or creative in the entire world.  One writer said it like this.  “If He would decide to hold his breath, all flesh would perish and man would return to dust.”  Without his breath, (the word inspiration actually means ~to breathe in) creativity ceases to exist.

reaching
Creation of Man Michelangelo
Public Domain

So have daily talks with your true inspiration, your higher power, develop regular spiritual interaction with your muse.  As He breathes creativity into you, your words will become inspirational and significant.

Each writer has rituals that work best to release creativity into artistic words.  Ask your fellow artisans what they do to keep creativity high, then try it.  The muse demands attention, I can’t wait to see what she inspires you to do.

Now, I am off to find Gladys…where did I put that chocolate?

Please share the one method that works best for you for keeping your creativity fresh.

I am LaDonna Cole and I am a Blue Monkey, Writer, Nurse, Therapist, Mom, and Ukulele singer extraordinaire!  I write fiction/fantasy including Heartwork Village Stories, The Blood Singer, The Sisterhood of the Sword Saga, and many other yet-to-be-seen-by-the-human-eye works. Check out me and my imaginary peeps at www.HeartworkVillage.com,immortalportals@wordpress.com, and www.facebook.com/LaDonnaColeAuthor

This blog first published on ObeytheMuse.com

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Why?

eyeWhy do you write?

The question that rivals fingernails on a chalkboard to me. It is a simple question that people, other writers, keep asking. Over and over as though by asking it on various writer sites, they will finally find the answer for themselves.

It grates on my nerves because I don’t know the answer. I don’t know why I write. I do know it is extremely personal and private. The process of digging up emotions and truths from the trauma of my past is painful, cathartic, but ultimately riff with the stench of toxins being released, dealt with, purged.

You might as well ask, why do you bathe? Or why do you vomit? Or why do you go to a therapist? Extremely personal and obviously intrusive, this question drills into my protective shell and makes me feel defensive and exposed.

Why do I write? Because it is my purpose on the planet. To not write would be akin to giving up.

Why don’t you write? Is a question that makes more sense to me. Writing is obvious, like breathing, a necessity that I don’t consider, I just do.

Here are some writer quotes about writing. Maybe we can glean something from them.

People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.

~Harlan Ellison

Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent in the human condition.

~Graham Greene

There are three reasons for becoming a writer. The first is that you need the money; the second, that you have something to say that you think the world should know; and the third is that you can’t think what to do with the long winter evenings.

~Quinton Crisp

So we write for discipline, therapy, because we need money, we have something to say, and we need something to do. That pretty much sums it up!

Why don’t you write?