Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The first one

The first book I ever loved and still hold in a very special place in my heart is the Chronicles of Narnia.  I remember reading it and falling in love with the wardrobe which opened itself to a very magical place.  If you've seen the movie you know what I mean, but before the movie were the books and only my imagination.  I also remember that every closet, closed door, or closed wooden item became to me a chance to get into Narnia.  I opened all of them with great excitement and frequently greater disappointment.  I'm sad to say, I never got into Narnia through a wardrobe.  I did visit there often within the doors of my mind however.

While I can't say for sure, but I think that my Dad introducing me to this masterpiece of writing first beyond any others crafted my love not just of reading, but also of writing.  The idea of being able to jump into pools of water in the Wood between Worlds was intoxicating.  Though to be honest I didn't remember that aspect of the Chronicles until I was older.

But imagine for a moment what it was like to be a child and being able to open a book, any book, and step into such a magical place where animals talked, wicked witches played havoc and lions brought about life.

I believe that every avid reader has the same sort of memory.  We always remember the first book that showed us the magic of our imagination and the richness of worlds beyond our own lives.

I also believe that Narnia was the inspiration for my first hideaway as a child.  There was a small empty place underneath the stairs of one of the homes I had lived in on the cusp of being a teenager.  I had found it and still, despite several years passing since the first closet I had opened in the hope of finding Narnia, I had opened that small closet door one last time with the same hope.  As I said before, I never found it, but instead I made my own Narnia.  Except there wasn't talking animals, nor were there wicked witches hoping to dominate the world.

No, in my world there were women who didn't dismiss a child.  Women who were strong, powerful, and kind to me.  My first hero lived there and for the life of me I can't remember the name I had given her.  She was my companion, even when I left my little hole in the wall.  She went to school with me, she listened to all my music, heard me talk to my friends.  She was there when I did a concert and clapped harder and stronger than anyone in the audience.  I confided all my secrets to her and she gave me the strength to grow.

I have since outgrown the childish fantasy of her as my friend.  Now, she's my favorite character of all that I have created.  I measure all of them to her.  She is my muse, my inspiration and at the age of fourteen I finally called her Lady Nyx.  A fitting name, a grown up named coming from a mind of (or so I believed at the time) a grown-up mentality.  Yet, even now that I'm 30, there is no other name I can give her that would fit quite the same way.

Still, when I think of her, I always remember I found her when I couldn't find my beloved Narnia.  I'm much too old to be searching for wardrobes, closet, pictures, or little rings to that could pull me from one world to the next.  Instead, I look to the Chronicles themselves, opening the pages and absorbing the words as if it was the first time all over again.  I'm that little girl sitting on my Dad's knee listening to him weave the words into a magical world that only I could see.

It's my turn now to take the place of my father as I open the first pages and weave them for my children in the hope of sharing with them the first magical gift I ever received.  While I will  never tell my children this, I hope one day to find them to be opening every closet, closed door, or closed wooden item in the hopes of finding their version of Narnia.  In fact, I hope that all the children of today do the same and never stop believing in magic.

Saturday, 28 August 2010


Okay, this should be short....I hope.  I just have to get it out of my skull before I collapse in my bed.

Memory Lane!  Curse you.  Once again, my book is haunting me.  I kid you not, I'm in the car today and all I was thinking about was Memory Lane.  I had to get my house ready for a guest who never showed and I was cursing about the fact that I couldn't write in Memory Lane.  I was driving to an appointment and I was irritated because I'd rather be writing and I won't even get into how the kids kept me from doing it.  Then, just to make it worse, my goal of cutting out enough words to have it at the 89,000 words mark failed unless I can find some relief in the first four chapters which I just now remembered weren't subjected to my carving knife.


Will this torture never end??????

I think what makes it all the more difficult is that I really like my book.  It brought me to tears yesterday in fact.  I kid you not, I was reading a powerfully emotional chapter and wanted to bawl like a baby.  I didn't, can't imagine explaining that to my kids.  No, no, don't want that.  Of course, it's a good sign that I wanted to cry, but also a bad sign because I can't be sure if I'm crying because it's emotionally provoking or because I wrote the damn thing. 

One last thing about Memory Lane.  The biggest crux of all in my opinion.  This book has a lot of swearing.  When I say a lot, I mean it.  I think there is at least one cuss word in every scene.  So what happens when I get into the mind of Alex?  I start to cuss about EVERYTHING.  This is, of course bad, especially considering that the kids are with me all the freaking time.  So I have to bite my tongue throughout the day.  It's a shock that I don't have permanent grooves in my tongue from the effort.

Anyway, that's where I'm at now.  I'm going to carve up the Epilogue then attack Chapters 1 - 5 to inch me closer to my goal word count.  Which of course will cause me to have to do the most painful of all things, cut out complete scenes.  Just writing it makes me want to bang my head against the keyboard fruitlessly.

And through it all, the only thing I keep thinking is that, I asked for it.  I want to do it despite the emotional, mental and physical stress it is putting me through.  (On the positive side, I've yet to have a flare up from my wrist....now hopefully I don't jinx myself).

So that's my rant for the night.  Damn Memory Lane!