Archive for December, 2011

Walking the Labyrinth

Friday, December 30th, 2011 | Labyrinth Walks | 2 Comments

“But you who were born of the mountains and the forests and the seas can find their prayer in your heart

And if you listen in the stillness of the night you shall hear them [speak] in silence…”

Kahlil Gibran, THE PROPHET

What do we seek, when we step onto the spiral path? A blessing sometimes, or an answer to a question. Sometimes we simply seek a moment of peace, a moment out of time, outside the busy aspects of our lives when we can reflect in silence and find a moment to ourselves when no one and nothing makes demands on us.

As the New Year begins, it is a lovely time to seek the solace of the labyrinth, to examine our own souls, to ask ourselves questions as we enter the circle, to wait for their answer. Sometimes a clear answer comes, and sometimes we are greeted only by silence.

But silence is an answer too, perhaps a better answer than something more concrete, if we learn to listen to it. The silence of the labyrinth can teach us to hear ourselves better, to hear our answers when we need them. The best answers are born in silence, whether they be solutions to a problem, the path out of a challenge, or a way to make a piece of art better.

We step into the labyrinth for all these reasons, and for none of them. When we come into that sacred space and face ourselves in silence, sometimes we find answers that we were not even seeking. And that, for me, is one of the most exciting things of all. Unsought answers lead to better questions, to better work, to a better life.

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Following the Stream of Thought

Friday, December 23rd, 2011 | The Writing Life | 3 Comments

Where do the streams of our work lead us? Where do they come from, and where are they going?

These are truly random questions, drawn from the myriad of random thoughts that are flowing through my mind today. They are questions without answers, as all the best questions are.

I do not know where my work comes from, or where it is taking me. That is part of the joy of the journey: not knowing. Always following the stream of consciousness that leads to the next story, to the next character, to the next world that has yet to be born.

I love following that stream. I have been doing it all my life, during all the years when I wrote only for myself and my Muse. Now that I write novels for others to read, I  do it still. There is music in the stream that leads me onward. I can’t see where the stream will end, if it ever will. I follow it through dark forests, through deserts where the stream dries to a trickle.  I follow the stream of my thoughts, the stream that runs through my life, knowing that I will find the next character along its banks. Another world to enter, another life, another story to tell.

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Year End Thoughts

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 | The Writing Life | 2 Comments

Thank you so much to Gabrielle Carolina for hosting me on her lovely site, The Mod Podge Bookshelf.  This post looks back at the year we are finishing up, about the work I have done as well as the work I hope to do next year. It is lovely to reflect, and Gabrielle was kind enough to ask the right questions to help me do just that… a little Eleanor, a little Regency romance, my thoughts on what is most difficult about being a novelist and my resolution for 2012. Just click the link below to take a look…

http://themodpodgebookshelf.blogspot.com/2011/12/2011-author-wrap-up-with-christy.html?spref=tw

Juggling Worlds: A Fiction Writer’s Adventure

Friday, December 16th, 2011 | The Writing Life | 5 Comments

Image Credit:

http://www.123rf.com/stock-photo/juggling.html

This week I have had the pleasure of living in two worlds: the world of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the world of Regency England. As I write the Regency romance series Shakespeare in Love for Sourcebooks, I find myself immersed daily in a past that I have visited often as a reader, but only now have come to live in as a writer. I have been exploring the challenges of bringing Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew to life in a new way and in a new setting, this time in Regency England just after Bonaparte has been defeated and my hero returns from the war. Anthony Carrington comes home to an arranged marriage to a woman he likely would have never chosen for himself.  Caroline Montague, the daughter of his commanding officer, will be left penniless and alone upon her father’s death if Anthony does not marry her. He agrees to take her on, in spite of her wild ways, and a great deal of Shakespearean fun ensues.

Of course, in his efforts to control and dominate his bride, Anthony does not resort to starvation as Petruchio does in The Taming of the Shrew. And Caroline does not conform to her husband’s demands, but struggles to be accepted as an equal, something unheard of at the time. So needless to say, I am having a ball mediating between these two, knowing always that true love will triumph in the end. One of the wonderful blessings of romance.

The second world I have been living in is, of course, Eleanor of Aquitaine’s. True love does not win in Eleanor’s world, and power, the by word of Eleanor’s life,  is almost always elusive. This week I had the pleasure of answering questions about Eleanor and her world for RT Book Reviews. Thinking of Eleanor and reminding myself of all the reasons I adore her, why others adore her as well, is always a joy, and no more so than when people ask me about her. She is an amazing woman with more facets than we fiction writers will ever fully explore.

Image Credit:

http://www.123rf.com/photo_9406430_yacht-and-blue-water-ocean.html

It is always a joy to move between the worlds of my fiction, to explore my characters’ lives and to take part in their adventures. And there are always more stories shimmering on the horizon, along the edge of the ocean of imagination on which I sail. I look forward always to the next port, the next elusive shore on which I will wash up, only to discover the next story that is waiting to be told.

I have said it before, and no doubt I will say it again. I am a lucky woman indeed.

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Giving A Gift

Friday, December 2nd, 2011 | Gratitude, The Writing Life | 2 Comments

Photo Credit

http://day1of1.wordpress.com/2011/07/09/the-gift/

As I wrap presents for my loved ones for Christmas, I find myself musing on the beauty of gift giving. There is a wonderful feeling of joy that comes from preparing a gift for a friend, choosing it, wrapping it, and then the pleasure of watching them open it in front of you.

Writing a novel, revising it in the last pass, is a bit like that. Though I don’t know many of my readers, I work hard to hone my craft and my plot for them, I make sure my characters’ voices are clear and lucid, I make the book the best I can.

Finishing a novel is something like preparing a gift for a friend you will never meet. Writing a book is putting together ship in a bottle, and sending it out onto the waves, hoping that the bottle won’t break, that the waves will be kind, that your ship will wash up whole on another shore.

I am grateful for being able build that ship. The act of creation is a gift, too, and I am happy to receive it.

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