Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Teaspoon and the Ocean

Metaphor #1: This week I poured my teaspoon of creativity into the ocean of the world of commerce and judgment.

Metaphor #2: It’s the first morning without training wheels, and my beautiful child is wobbling down the road headed for skyscrapers and calculators.

Can I … should I … go for three? No. Enough already. I sent my first work of fiction off to be judged by an impartial panel. It was time, but now I want to call it back, enfold it in my arms and protect it from the harsh glare of day. (damn metaphors anyway … they just won’t stay away … actually, that one fell into the cliche abyss.)

The story of Sarana’s Gift is a new one for me. Two years ago, while trying to write something rational, a different something else, unknown and completely irrational, took over. I tried to put it away but it kept tapping me on the shoulder so I decided to play.

It started with someone … a young girl … riding a silver-white horse through the forest and then running … running … running … trying to get into a house she found … a house with no doors. Why was she running? I had no idea.

Then she found herself in a long, dark tunnel with no way to get out. It was impossible. The next morning, the story demanded its due again and offered me a way out of the tunnel. So, on I wrote until she wound up in another pickle with no way out. It was another impossible situation.

Next morning, another solution and another impossible task. This went on for awhile until it wound up being about 20,000 words of adventures in a fantasy world. Then, she woke up from a dream, looked around and apologized to her mom for being a jerk. What?

I didn’t know what to do with this strange bit of story so I thought maybe it was a fairy tale that I was writing for my granddaughters. Since they were going to spend a few days with me, I polished it up a bit and caught the girls in a quiet moment and started reading it to them. The silver-white horse fascinated the younger one for a few moments before her eyes glazed over. Then, they were both off to other things.

“Well, that was a nice try that didn’t work,” I thought to myself as I packed it away. Life had changed and I was packing everything away, moving on to a new life in a new place.

About a year later I was definitely in a new life in a new place … just not the one I had planned. During the unpacking, I found the story. In the midst of a tower of boxes, I sat down and read it thinking I deserved a break and I could just read it once more before packing it away forever.

Somehow, the story clung to me, calling me to give it time and space to grow. I had time so I sat down and began once more to write, again following more than leading. I never knew where it was going … or why.

Eventually, a structure formed and I started reading bits and pieces in a writer’s group. A trusted colleague read it and seemed to understand what was trying to be said. During the major rewrite that followed, I started to finally understand what was developing.

So, now, here it is out in the world. I can call it my child but it feels more like life struggling up through the concrete, reaching for sunlight, on its own path. It sounds almost too woo-woo but I feel more like the channel than the creator. I just hope my pipes weren’t too rusty, that they were clean enough to let the story be what it wanted to be.

Free advanced reading copies are available until 1/29/2016. Go to www.saranasgift.com to request yours.

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