The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them.

It’s been a while… I’ve no excuses really, save one–but it’s a good one; I promise. And no, I’m not telling.

During my silence, I’ve been inspired to tinker with something very close to my heart. It’s a thing that has touched me to the core of my being and pulled out of me that which I never knew existed. Writing does that every now and again. (I recommend it highly if you’re ever stranded while on your journey through life.)

It’s common knowledge that you can’t write what you don’t know.  Frances Hodgson Burnett once said,

I am writing in the garden. To write as one should of a garden one must write not outside it or merely somewhere near it, but in the garden.

I’ve arrived in my own garden of sorts, and what has been unleashed… Well, if it touches you then I’ll know I’m onto something.

You Are Lovely

It happened one day. A plain, ordinary, day. Pools of golden light were not playing across the room. A roaring fire was not crackling in the fireplace. Forget-me-nots did not pass from your lips to my ears.

The day of the week is not important, nor is the exact time of day. In the end, it took three simple words, arranged as an artist layers paint on canvas. By anyone else, they would be meaningless—ordinary and lifeless.

As the notion went from an idea born of desire to a fully realized statement, they tumbled out, spilling themselves onto the floor in front of my feet to await their destiny.

“You are lovely.”

I grasped the inescapable conclusion as I gazed down at them, wondering at the intimacy. You knew how to let yourself into my heart—how to shape those three words into a symphony only I could hear.

They clambered up my legs and etched themselves on my soul.

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Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back.

The title of this post is just a thought running through my head at this particular moment. “Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back.” Plato actually said that and I’ll be damned if he wasn’t thinking of me when it popped right out of his mouth and someone jotted it down for later.

The thought is actually wrapped around a secret project I’ve kept myself busy with, and is probably meaningless to the majority of readers who pop by–ogle the Plato graphic, and wander off again.

For the rest of you, if you’ve been paying attention you’ll know that I’m working on an erotic scene, which is a genre I’ve never explored before in my writing. The scene itself has a lot of moving parts to it. It’s an exploration, a new experience, a last night together, and a goodbye. After a rocky  start, where I was in a panic that I wouldn’t be up to the challenge, things are beginning to flow better. A lot of that has to do with my genius collaborator–who shall remain nameless lest someone try to steal their heart away. (I don’t always play nice–fair warning!)

Thinking about the scene as it’s evolving, what have I learned as I yank the words from my uptight head? Well, rule number one–relax. If I’m not relaxed, everyone reading will be uncomfortable.

Is it really that simple, though? No, it’s not.

I can hear you head scratching and thinking, She’s nuts… Sex is fairly straightforward, right? Well, when you translate those emotions into writing, you might think of it in terms of making mad passionate love right smack in the middle of Times Square.

Any takers? Didn’t think so.

Of course, when you write a love scene, no one is getting arrested (I hope), but you have to open yourself up–becoming totally vulnerable in the process, and then invite people to watch.

It’s a process, and it’s one I’m finding has put me in touch with things I never knew about myself. I doubt my writing will ever be up to par with the big names, but it’s highly personal in a way I never expected. And for me, Times Square is looking more and more appealing…

 

We always long for the forbidden things, and desire what is denied us.

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been hashing out a scene. ONE scene…and it’s very near driven me to the point of madness. It’s a scene I’ve seen at least a hundred times in my dreams–each time with varying degrees of clothing, (yeah, it goes there.)

Now, while dreaming about it is all fun and games, actually pouring it out onto the paper is proving to be quite painful. And I know why. For my character–it’s a goodbye. And goodbyes are never fun. They rip the soul out and stomp it into the ground, leaving a pitiful heap of something once recognizable behind.

It’s more than that, however. Because if it were that simple, this particular part of the story would have been done a long while ago–probably right after that first hot and steamy dream. It’s an overwhelming desire to not let go. My brain says one thing, my heart quite another.

So what do you do in a situation such as this? You remember that writing is an exploration of self. Actually, most of the times I’m shocked by where the journey takes me. Once you think that way, there is really only one option–and that’s to finish the scene and ultimately to let go…

 

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart…

You’d think that would be the simplest advice to follow, right? WRONG. Why? Because sometimes your heart turns into a fire-breathing dragon, hell-bent on destroying everything you create–that’s why. But I digress, because this time I went through a very different kind of torture to get my heart to breathe onto my paper.

First off, I have to admit that a few days ago–I turned into something of a word snob…bottling up my very being and stealing it away, leaving my writing empty and soulless.

Let me explain.

A lot of my creative writing revolves around a twelve-year-old Bulgarian girl named Annie. I write her for an online role play, based off the world of Harry Potter. She’s completely head over heels over a boy named Kerry and at the moment, excelling in her magical endeavors at school.

A month into school and she’s got the world at her feet–literally. An amazing boy, a magic wand she’s learning to use, and the security and seclusion of a magical boarding school to explore both…or so she thought.

There comes a point in any writing where you have to take a hard and fast look at where you’re headed. For Annie, that moment came in the form of a study space.

Annie followed their coven head down into the depths of their coven. When he motioned them inside, she looked around and squealed with delight.

“Can we really have this to study in, Professor?” The room was perfect in every way, private and quiet. It was bound to be a place for learning about more than just charms…

Hey, in her defense, she was thinking about taking up painting.

Okay. Maybe not. The important thing here is that, as the story progressed, she was called on that thought and it created a huge problem–both for Annie and myself. What do I mean? Well, it turned out to be the literal equivalent of:

Go To Jail! Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $100.

As a result, I couldn’t write, no matter how desperately I wanted to. As a matter of fact, I’d been ankle-deep in another section of Annie’s story that is coming at the end of the year–and I just could not continue.

I left the role play that night, not really knowing how I felt about Annie getting caught thinking impure thoughts by a Professor–but with the deep realization that it bothered me. A lot.

The next day, after I had time to process my own ideas about what happened, I knew exactly what was wrong (no, I’m not going there), and I had to figure out how to write Annie in another way based on the new developments in her life. I ended up taking her in an awkward and strange direction, and things like this popped out:

Annie waltzed in after Kerry and fell instantly in love with the furnishings provided for them in their little nook. “It’s perfect,” she said, collapsing into the other easy chair and dropping her bag on the floor next to it. “We’ll get a lot of studying done in here.”

She glanced at him, admiring his profile as he checked out the room, and shifted her gaze as his focus returned to her. “They did a great job.”

Annie struggled to concentrate on the nap of her tweed skirt, running her fingertips over the bumps and ridges. She sighed and retrieved her wand. “I’m ready if you are…”

Not that bad, you say? It is for Annie. Writing a character you know so well inside and out gets tricky as  you wade into uncharted territory. For Annie, she turned into dry kindling. If Kerry had held an open flame, she would have caught fire in that room and instantly been turned to ash. That entire section of her role play got worse and worse, until it was downright painful to continue.

And it was noticed…by the one Annie cares about the most. Her Kerry.

Now–here is where writing on your own can’t compare to collaborative writing. When you go off into uncharted territory with your characters all by your lonesome, there isn’t anyone (usually) to call you on it and say, “Hang on, your character just ran off the rails here.”

But when you collaborate, and build characters in a format such as a role play, there is always someone there who can raise an eyebrow when your character does something unexpected–causing you to reassess and wonder what just happened.

When Kerry asked Annie in the role play what was wrong, I knew it was time to come clean.

Annie looked around the room before stretching out her own hand for his. She gazed deeply into his eyes and took a deep breath. He’s not blind…and he deserves to hear it, even if he thinks you’re silly.

“When we asked Professor Semplen about this room,” she lowered her eyes. “He said something to me, in Bulgarian, stressing that the room was just for study. It might not mean much coming from your Western background. But to me…” Annie pulled her hand back and wrapped her arms around herself.

“It was as if he were suggesting that we…” She felt her face erupt in a volcanic heat, which slid down the length of her chest. This is impossible to explain without making it sound completely awful. Annie decided it would be better to give the simplest meaning of her exchange with Holoc.

“That I should think about charming something…other than you.” Annie sank lower in her chair. “It was as though he were saying that I’ve been too affectionate and all of the professors have noticed. They must all think I’m— bezrazboren.” She realized that came out in Bulgarian. “Uhm, it means a girl who is crazy over boys or something similar to that.” She shook her head and stood up, pacing once more in the cozy room.

“They’re watching us, and they think I’m—that we’re,” she stopped, realizing she was probably not making any sense at all, and faced him.

“Do you have any idea at all what I’m talking about?”

Right here is where game play stopped and the work of dissecting characters and motives began. Who said what? What were the motivations behind what was implied? It was a very detailed and long conversation about the realities and thought patterns of a handful of different characters.

When the work of picking apart their back story was complete, not only did Annie realize she was pulling away and being completely irrational–I was able to see where the motivation for her to behave that way was coming from and just like that, I needed to write…and boy did Annie react to the good news.

Annie listened as Kerry spoke; every word washing over her like a soothing lullaby. Halfway though, it dawned on her that she had been completely and totally overreacting.

Kerry’s distress over her mini freak out rolled off him in waves—and that feeling was worse than believing her coven leader might have insinuated she was…easy.

Annie had a choice. She could decide to go back to her own life, where she was expected to look and behave a certain way and never deviate from that…or she could forge ahead and enjoy her new freedom and the world view only her Kerry would be able to give.

The choice was simple. There was only one thing she wanted; one thing she desired from the time she was seven. And he was standing right there in front of her, pleading for her to come back to him.

So she did. When he stopped talking, Annie wrapped herself into him, holding on as if he were her life raft. “You’re right,” she whispered into his ear, inhaling the scent of him—running her fingers greedily through his hair.

“Forgive me, Kerry.” She kissed his neck, tasting his skin as she moved up to his ear. “I don’t know what I was thinking.” Her lips slid over his jaw. “Somehow I got the idea that all of our professors thought I might be…” She met his lips and savored the sweetness of his breath before pressing her mouth to his.

Annie kissed him for an eternity. She kissed him until all thoughts of their professors, their families, their school, faded away, and her world was filled with nothing but the two of them sharing their embrace; each desperate for the other in ways only the two of them would ever fully comprehend.

The only thing that mattered—is that he wanted her, and she would be there for him…always.

When she finally pulled away, she felt that familiar blush. Tingley warmth radiated throughout her entire body and she relished in it. Slipping her hand into his, Annie led him to their love seat.

“Kerry,” she breathed, leaning into him so she could nuzzle his neck as they spoke. She let her arm rest on his chest while her fingers danced around the hollow under his Adam’s apple. “You are my soul mate. I can’t promise you that I’ll always be perfect…or rational,” she gazed up into his eyes, desperate for his forgiveness. “But I love you. I’ve always loved you, even before I knew it was you I was in love with.”

She kissed him once more, delighting in the soft contour of his lips under hers. “Moya edna lyubov…”

That was Annie’s last post in that particular thread. I’d say, not only did I grow as a writer and learn things about myself and my character that I might not have, (had I not gone through the process with someone I trust)–but the breathings of my heart also managed to make it beautifully onto the page.

 

 

 

 

You are tired, (I think)…

At this very moment in time, while the sheeting rain lashes out at my window, and I’m listening to the keyboard tap, tap, tapping vaguely disguised hints… This is what is running thorough my mind.

You are tired,
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.

Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!)

You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
Just tired.
So am I.

But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart—
Open to me!
For I will show you the places Nobody knows,
And, if you like,
The perfect places of Sleep.

Ah, come with me!
I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I’ll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.

e.e. cummings