Saturday, December 12, 2009

Writing and Crying

This morning, I was reading through an old book I've read many times before by Charles DeLint called Memory & Dream. It's a gorgeous bit of magical urban fantasy short story collection that takes place in Newford, a city up in Canada, and featuring a lot of really cool characters. De Lint has also written longer books about a lot of the characters who appear in the book, which is sort of a themed short story collection. While it's not a novel, all the stories have the same feeling of magic and fae beauty.

I was reading one story about a writer who plants a story tree, wrapping it in a poem first and then whispering stories to the seedling. The writer pesters friends to tell it stories and by the end of it, the acorn is a sapling ready to be planted.

I wound up in real tears afterwards. This is SO the way I want to write, this mythic magical fiction that is also somehow realism. Since I'm writing my novel, I am trying to read things that are written the way I want to write, to set the mental mood in that direction. I do that with poetry-- I am most inspired to write good poems when I'm reading Anne Sexton, for instance.

My novel thus far has one full chapter, 46 pages, and 16,905 words. I've started it out with a faux newspaper article, and I have these really cool plans for it. I've been gathering photos of San Antonio and the other important elements of my setting and I have those scrolling through my screensaver. I also made a playlist of songs that work with the mood I'm trying to create.

When I started the novel, it was about a year ago and I think, if I remember correctly, I had just read one of Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire books. The beginning tone of it, thusly, was that quirky kind of funny snarky tone. I am now slowly weeding most of the more snarky bits out of the tone because that's not really where I want to go with it.

I want it to be mythic, to make you go into downtown San Antonio and see the magic there, the ghosts. There are a lot of them, in fact (or fiction, however you want to read it).

They are happy tears. I am so glad to be finally really doing this, breaking through that mental block I have had about sitting down and doing something as frivolous as writing a novel. I've put it off for so long, and there are many things I've wasted time on that I could very well have been working on this, far more frivolous things than writing. But I think it's probably a fear thing; if it's all just in your head and you can tell yourself you're too busy to write, then you don't have to risk not doing it right, doing it well.

Neck is out. Tears are happy.

I so want to be Charles De Lint when I grow up.