Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Missing the Magic

Marty Ann Dee
(my nom de plume)

I used to be a writer. I'd published a mediocre novel and I was working on a good one—a spy novel set in Vienna in 1933, between the World Wars. Based on a true story Dee uncovered while writing a biography, we had actual letters, journals, newspaper clippings and telegrams that described a suspicious death that was never resolved.

Letters describing a possible murder.

We'd read them all, and together we'd figured out what could have happened.

Old Viennese documents

A year ago we were in Vienna, researching settings. I have two notebooks full of descriptions: cafes, streets, courtyards, foods, smells, landmarks.

Erwin Sarkoti passed secrets in this cafe.

I'd written such detailed back stories for my characters that I think about them now, and wonder how they're doing, even though they're just imaginary friends.

Clara wore dirndls like these.

Their cars, their hairstyles, their outfits, the way they took their tea, how they walked and talked—it's all neatly stored in computer folders, filed under "My Book."

In those days I wrote blog posts about writing, taught Write Stuff Workshops, and poured over books like Make a Scene, The Plot Whisperer, and Write is a Verb.

Writing isn't so much a verb for me now—it's a noun. It's a pile of papers I packed away in February—for later. Sometimes I miss my writer self.

"When you're writing, you're creating something out of nothing ...
A successful piece of writing is like doing a successful piece of magic."
—Susanna Clarke

Is there something you love doing that you've set aside?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Mamma Sass said...

I've stalked your blog for several years now. Love it!

I've put aside several things -that I long to pick up again: studying Russian, genealogy research, writing, and oil painting...even blogging.
It stands to reason as we have adopted and moved numerous times (from coast to coast) in just the last three years...but I so wish to get back to these things.
It's a goal to get going again...

Diane said...

This too shall pass, as they say. Just think of all the things you are doing now instead of writing as a new form of research. You'll have a new depth to your writing when you go back to it.

I've given up lots of reading because of the stage I'm in right now. That's very hard on me.

The Grandmother Here said...

To everything there is a season.

Betsy said...

I've thought about this alot over the years. It seems as if women are always needing to reinvent themselves. I think it's ok.
It is the up and down pattern of our lives and cyclical nature of our hormones.For many years we are pregnant, PTA presidents, have massive Church responsibilities and families that determine how we spend our time. Interspersed throughout are the individual moments that you grab like crazy to locate your true self again when you take a class or try something new.

Men's lives seem much more linear to me. They seem to have trouble when they retire because what they did for 40 years is all they know.

We are the lucky ones, trying on a new self occasionally and having the fun of seeing how capable we can be. But it is so very hard to anticipate getting your life back when you are placed on hold once again.

So glad to have you blogging again when you can.