Over the past few years, I have put together four quiet little books - fundraising projects, words strung between thorns of pain and frustrations to mark that there is a path here, there is deep, old magic underfoot. I wanted to be an author my whole life long. The world is stories, and I want to be one of the wild, wise magicians who can draw them forth and tell them on.
It isn't as simple as putting together some words. I've found that there is a different spirit to different kinds of stories, and each one must be met deeply and lovingly in relationship before the writer learns their magic.
A blogpost is mostly a leaf plucked, its veins traced, its path into light followed as it drifts away from the fingers into the world. (Although sometimes, it can feel like a whole tree being pulled up.)
A poem, a story, is a shell or a sudden red rose that tumbles in from the deep sea, bringing its own wonder, and what one must do is find the words to describe it.
A novel, now - it seems to me that is a long, careful tracing of ivy through forest, or of pearls dropped amongst white stones and leading, with frightened silent hopes, to the dark house where someone is waiting to be rescued. The reader must be guided empathically so they see the pearls, the tiny buds on the ivy, and so they emerge finally, clearly, from the forest.
The magic of a story doesn't sit in its words, but in the relationship the writer has with the story and how well they help create a relationship for the reader also.
My favourite books are those in which the plot is only one aspect of the experience. After I've done with the narration part, I wander on to explore the hills at the edge of the tale, and to visit secondary characters (oh, Astrin Ymris, how I wish you had a novel all of your own!), and to discover on my own the untold stories of riverside farms, distant houses, ocean songs, animals in the wild. Only a true magician can make a world beyond words.
I also care less about the story than I do about the way it makes me feel. The weight of it on my tongue. The touch of it through my blood. The shadows it leaves. This is the relationship; this is the magic.
Right now, I am a writer. I can put together words. But I'm still working on becoming that more amazing creature, a magician. I suspect it will take a lifetime.