Thursday, 24 November 2011

Celebrating the Magic

Christmas is peering around the corner. This year especially, it seems to have come round quickly for my household. I feel almost ambushed by its sudden approach.

I'm not a religious person but I do believe in the magic of life. It's in my sack of greatest gifts along with health, children, choice and imagination. Putting aside the shopping and materialistic side of the festive season, Christmas has always held a magic for me. Maybe it's because my parents made a big effort to set the day apart as something special, hiding even the decorations until a week before the big day. Christmas Day was one of the few times of the year when my family would spend the whole day together without the thought of preparing for the next day. We would sit around in our pyjamas, giving and opening gifts, eating things that probably weren't very good for us (nuts and raisins, mince pies, chocolate), and watching our fill of festive TV. My mother would cook up the traditional lunch, serve it at the traditional time, and then she would promptly fall asleep. There was nothing unusual or grandiose about our celebration but those twenty four hours were like a colourful snapshot of our family, the three of us in the best of moods on the best day of the year. This was true magic to me.

So I wanted to share some of that magic with you in the run up to Christmas, extend a welcome to my family snapshot. There'll be books, films, photographs and much more in Fi's Magical Advent Calendar. I'll kick off on the first day of December. See you then.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Leftovers

Years ago, I convinced myself that a novel I was writing needed to be a story within a story. I carefully constructed a storyteller and two deities who guided the story he was telling. I took great trouble to craft my whimsical introduction which I hoped would draw my readers along the corridors of my tale.

A couple of weeks later, I came to the conclusion that although I loved the rich imagery of what I had written, it wasn't really necessary. If anything, it was actually preventing the reader from getting to the story and probably throwing in some confusion as well.

Did I rip up the unneeded passages? Not at all. I filed them away, hoping that I might find a home for them in some future story. I have files. Ok, I have a whole host of files of ideas still waiting for a home. Some of these are fully written passages. Others are scenarious. Still more are characters. Sometimes, I merely have a title or phrase. I see these as my treasure trove, a glittering cavern to reach into for inspiration. Nothing ever goes to waste. Perhaps I'm guilty of hoarding (my husband would point to the unpacked boxes that have travelled with us through the last two house moves) but I don't care.

Never despair that a passage written or a character found will go to waste just because they don't fit with your current work in progress. The muse has simply thrown you a gift. File it away in your treasure trove until you find a fitting shelf to display it on.