I got the words for my title from an email sent by Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month). He wrote yesterday to buoy up all of us would-be novelists and urge us to keep writing whether or not we actually achieved the goal of 50,000 words last month. I personally fell far short of that…a mere 6,014 words.
Whose idea was it to make November National Novel Writing Month anyway? I mean, really…c’mon. Thanksgiving weekend alone eliminates at least two days of writing…and if you were cooking dinner, maybe two more days for shopping and preparation. Wouldn’t January be a better month? But I digress. [See Blog 4 – It’s Hard to Be the Bard for more rationalizing, hand-wringing and complaining about how hard it is to write.]
Of course, I am pleased with the first five chapters I wrote, and delighted that my co-author exceeded that. We have begun in earnest a novel we’ve only been talking about writing for months now. And that, after all, is the point of Grant Faulkner’s encouraging e-pistle. We need to take heart because we “created a beginning.”
”[T]he transformational magic of creativity”…Faulkner’s words have been spinning around inside my head since I read them. Isn’t that just a beautiful turn of phrase that makes you stop in your tracks and think?
First of all, transforming, transformative, transformational…any form of that word is awe-inspiring and magical to me. As a child, I only thought of magic in the most literal sense. One of my all-time favorite TV programs was Bewitched. How my sisters and I wished we could simply twitch our noses like Samantha Stephens and transform the kitchen sink full of dishes into a spotless, porcelain basin. As I’ve aged, I’ve broadened my definition of magic to include more than just feats accomplished by witches, warlocks, magicians and Jedi warriors.
My friend and co-author, Nina, refers to the ability to grow things as magical. I always took my green thumb for granted, figuring anyone could make things grow, but I have to admit that I rather enjoy the idea that it is, indeed, my magical powers that transform seeds, soil and water into a beautiful flower bed or luscious vegetable patch.
I’ve also come to view cooking as magical. Think about it. A cook takes various ingredients, that uncooked are inedible, and transforms them into a delicious meal that nourishes and sustains us. Okay, it takes more than a twitch of the nose to produce a tasty dish, but, however long it takes, the result is undeniably transformative and magical. [If you’ve ever eaten a badly prepared meal, you know I’m right.]
In addition to her gardening and cooking powers, my sister, Mary Ellen, also has magical abilities of a different sort. She can take a box of old or broken holiday ornaments and glue various pieces together to create something new and altogether delightful. She replaced the missing hat of a nutcracker with a small tree ornament resulting in a whimsical new character in my Christmas collection. Mary Ellen can also take 13 cartons out of her attic and in a few hours transform her home into a Christmas Wonderland.
What I’m saying is that anything that can change or transform something from one thing to something totally different is indeed magical and creative…old clothes into a quilt … seeds into a flower… …words and phrases into a poem, play, or novel. I think not everyone recognizes his or her own creativity. Especially as we get older, we take for granted all we do and we certainly don’t see it as magical at all. Whether you string words together in a phrase that inspires, or you knit a ball of yarn into a sweater, or turn some boards and nails into a treehouse, you have done something quite magical. Believe me.
Perhaps I didn’t write a 50,000 word novel this November, but the pansies I planted in October are flowering, the Thanksgiving dinner I cooked was a success, and the 6,014 words I did write got the story started. I even posted to my blog three times and was rewarded with some wonderful comments and emails from people I’d lost touch with…now that was magical.
Thank you for your words of encouragement, Grant Faulkner. I will keep writing because, for better or worse, I do believe in the transformative magic of creativity. I do. I do. I do.