librarian novel seniors

World of Magic



Are You Listening?


Last night I was consumed with creating a children’s story for my new writing group. It was so much fun, writing about newborn dragons and cherries popping in a bowl, I lost all track of time. My tea grew cold and eventually forgotten. It was only 2 inches away from my hands as I typed the story into word and prepared to mail it off. As soon as I hit send, my stomach went queasy. Perhaps one more polish was needed. The doubts crept back.

I got in my car this morning, turned on the radio, and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies were singing. No more doubts. How coincidental is that? But is it really coincidental?

Things like this have been happening to me more and more.

I was in a friend’s car last Thursday, driving toward the market, and I noticed she had a post-it-note with the words, Serendipity, Synchronicity, Coincidence, listed right in front of my passenger seat. I thought back to the Kushtaka, Tahoma and my last blog post and smiled.

Then this morning, on Facebook, a friend posted a link to a news article that immediately took me to a story I wrote many years ago. The images in the article were so similar to my story creation I couldn’t ignore it. So many of these events seem to be happening around me.

Today I looked each of these words up in the dictionary.

Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful manner. To count as synchronicity, the events should be unlikely to occur together by chance.

Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. Good fortune; luck: synchronicity, the events should be unlikely to occur together.

Coincidence is something that happens by chance in a surprising or remarkable way. (and all Whovians know you never ignore a coincidence, there is no such thing! Sorry, I’ve been a Doctor Who fan for years.)

As I notice these events more and more occuring in my writing life, the seridipty seems to unfold with greater frequency and in more unusual ways, like the song in the car this morning.

When I pay attention to these moments, it feels like an acknowledgement from my guardian angel or muse or simply from the universe. Thanks for listening. You are moving in the right direction.

So, I’m asking you….are you listening?

Invoking the Muse

Do writers have a ritual practice to prepare their minds for the creative process? Is there a magical ingredient that transitions them from daily life to writing time? Something special that will summon their muse?


Ritual defined by Webster’s dictionary means ‘any practice or pattern of behavior regularly performed in a set manner.’ Physicians prescribe a daily nighttime routine if you have trouble sleeping. Many religions use routine and ritual in their practices to symbolize respect and reverence.

What better way to invoke your muse than with respect and reverence.

 In my writing life, I haven’t truly established a ritual for writing. I do prefer to create with a fabulous gel pen; you know the one that just feels ‘right’. But I found for me, each story is different and to invoke my muse, the ritual is also different.


I have been writing Tahoma’s story since this blog began. Research at the Duwamish longhouse told me that there was a mystical being at the bottom of Black River named Sky-Taw. I knew I wanted this creature in my story but I hadn’t figured out where this puzzle piece would fit. It was relegated to the back of my mind while I worked on a pencil sketch of Tahoma in human form, and I wrote dozens of scenes moving the plot line forward.


Last night, I went to Linda Zeppa’s intuitive writing class I had planned on getting to know my villain with this meditation session. My muse had other plans. Linda began the session talking about the sun. The meditation began with a progressive relaxation, filling yourself with sun, putting your troubles in a box and crossing into a world filled with sunshine. My muse crossed me over the bridge to Black River filled with moonlight. She has a mind of her own! The starlight and moon beams danced on the ripples of the water and then swirled above the water coalescing into an iridescent human form with a face of a heron. Tahoma thought it resembled his mother’s face. And the creature asked “Are you lost little one?”  It was more of an emotional experience than a visual, but I had instant access to Sky- Taw. I wrote as furiously as I could and when I returned home that night I laid out all the emotions in Tahoma’s heart. When he saw this creature, he was calm and at peace. It resembled his mother’s face and communicated with his mother’s voice. The creature wanted to care for the young shape-shifter and appeared in the image that comforted Tahoma in that moment.


I awoke today elated with my break through. While doing the laundry, the television was on in the background. Discovery channel had a program about an Alaskan triangle where planes have been lost, similar to the Bermuda Triangle. The last five minutes of the show, as I settled down to pay attention, they spoke of the Native American Tlingit’s belief in a creature called the Kushtaka. This land otter man can be malevolent or comfort a lost soul so they do not freeze to death. Through illusion, this creature can appear as a loved one. My jaw hit the floor. This is what I wrote about in my meditation session.


Was it synchronicity or reverence to my muse that led me in this direction? I’m not exactly sure, but it brings me back to my first blog post. Perhaps my writing ritual is to trust and have patience that the puzzle will come together when it is time.

A Balancing Act


Writing breathes in every corner of my life. Stories steep in my imagination every moment, day and night. So it is a natural conclusion that other parts of my life sneak into my writing. And, when my life is thrown off balance the repercussions are reflected in my writing life.


The first signal the scale was teetering off balance was the avoidance to typing up my novels. I excused it away instead of attempting to find a solution. I filled my days networking and socializing. Stir in a major family crisis and my daily life was spread thin like jam over toast. I was overwhelmed as the scales toppled with task lists, emails and a full calendar. My morning pages became stiff and sluggish.

Thankfully, I am surrounded with angels watching out for me in the form of amazing friends. One very special friend advised me to take a deep breath, ground myself, and take one step at a time. My translation was to ‘unplug’ (from the internet, the phones, and the schedule) and take a mini retreat. Writers retreat to the woods all the time to finish a novel and commune with their muse. Conveniently I live next to acres of wilderness. My house is hugged by trees; so it was quite easy to pick up my camera and my dream catcher notebook and go for a hike. Sunshine filled days gently guided me back to my ‘Me-ness’ and quieted the panic and confusion. My life was feeling more in balance, the writing flowed and the joy filled every fiber of my soul with buoyancy. However, my resistance to typing remained.

Time to check in with my ‘Wellness Angel’ of a friend, Diane. She is a certified Holistic Health Coach, and would know how to ease the resistance. We talked for a bit and I explained how typing was cold and sterile for me. She asked if I was aware when my least creative time during the day was and immediately I had the answer, mid-afternoon. (The times I schedule social activities and errands and email.) She advised me to schedule the typing time in that slot so I felt less conflicted about the loss of creative energy. Could it be that simple? I pondered the suggestion as I drove through the mountains toward home. It was another gorgeous sunny day in the Northwest, something I treasure, and it seemed like a waste to spend it in my office typing. Drifting in my window with the sunlight came the simple notion of typing outside. I could feel the corners of my mouth turning up. Laptops are portable; no one said the rule was to type at your desk!  Then there is the bliss of living in the woods where WiFi can’t reach me, even on my deck.

The Borg had it right, ‘Resistance is Futile’. Resistance abated. Balance restored. The past few days I have been HAPPILY typing my novel amongst the birdsong and sunshine and living one page at a time.

A Blog is Born!

   Creating a beautiful piece of fiction is like steeping the perfect cup of tea. You need to trust in the blend of tea leaves and have patience as it steeps in the hot water. Non-fiction writing, however, freezes the ink in my pen. Whenever blogs come up in a conversation, I politely smile and nod. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that blogs are wonderful tools for a writer. You can capture a new reader, cultivate a following, and market your new story. But they are non-fiction creations. Not exactly my cup of tea, but my muse insisted that if I wish to gain a reputation as a fantasy writer, I must start to blog.

I signed up on WordPress and gave myself a deadline of April 20th, 2010; a tribute to my grandmother’s birthday. She is the guilty party that began my addiction to books and the art of good storytelling. The next course of action was to make a cup of tea.

A few days passed, and I faced my fear down and wrote a few first drafts on paper. Unfortunately, they each sounded like a stiff 4th grade essay on ‘What I did on my Summer Vacation’. It was like pulling teeth. In fact, at this point, a trip to the dentist sounded like more fun. The first drafts were shoved into my top desk drawer and I moved on to a fiction project. I was aware I need to trust the words would flow for the blog.

My friend, Beth, invited me to visit a wetlands that hosted a group of nesting herons nearby. The prospect of hiking in the fresh air and using my camera energized me. The writer in me hopped on the internet to research the area and the herons. I poured over a beautiful website that values and honors the Great Blue Herons and The Black River Riparian Forest.

Great Blue Herons are magnificent birds standing 4 feet tall with a wing span up to 6 feet. Surprisingly they weigh less than 8 pounds. Long graceful legs are used to wade through the wetlands to fish. Frogs and snakes are on the summer menu as well. My research also revealed that the Native Americans, Duwamish peoples, lived along the Black River for centuries until around 1916. This is when the Lake Washington Ship Canal was opened and the Black River dried up. I bundled up all this research, secured it with a silk ribbon and tucked it away in the corners of my mind

Sunshine warmed the day of our trip to the Black River site. Cedar chips lined the path through the brush and down towards the wetlands. I moved towards a clearing and glanced over the water. At the water’s edge I found a blue heron perched on a log. His blue-gray plumage mingled with the muted shade of gray-green lowland brush. My eyes scanned the trees until I spotted another a few feet higher. The cottonwoods towering above us had just started to leaf, concealing the nests. A few wood ducks and Canadian geese lazily swam by as I continued to be mesmerized by the herons. Bonnie and Clyde, a pair of nesting bald eagles circled high above the cottonwoods. It was difficult to believe I was standing moments away from a crowded shopping mall and a business park. Fresh spring air and silence enveloped me as I soaked it all in. The reality of the moment mingled with the research I had bundled in my mind.

The following day I attempted to write another draft of my first blog post. I wanted to convey the heron’s beauty and all the emotions dancing in my heart. The words remained stiff. Trust and Patience.

Hopefully the words would flow in my writing meditation group hosted by Linda Zeppa. Her group meets on Tuesday evenings. Linda begins each session with a guided relaxation and meditation. Afterwards, the members begin to free write. That evening, Linda’s voice instructed me to zip up all my worries and concerns in a backpack and leave it by a large tree and then enter the forest. Her voice faded as I entered a vivid dream state. I was falling from a nest, tumbling down. I could feel the air skid over my body. Linda’s voice found me in the forest and invited me back into the meditation room. Had 20 minutes passed already? The group slowly reached for pens and paper to begin writing. My hands couldn’t move fast enough. When everyone in the group had finished writing, we took turns reading whatever spilled out on our papers. This is what my pen spilled.

Tail over head, falling. Air zipping by. Tuck and roll, tuck and roll. Splash. I’m head first into muddy water. I shake it off and gasp for a breath but the air is stalled. Eagle talons hurtling straight for me. I hold my breath and squeeze my eyes shut in terror. I see a bright white light but no pain. Am I in shock? Dead? There isn’t any pain, but my body is tingly.  I open my eyes and see thousands of stars in the sky. Straight up in the towering cottonwoods I see my nest. The nest my bully big brother pushed me out of. I looked down and scanned my body for injury. Why do I have 10 talons? Why are they fat and pudgy? Hold on, this is wrong. I wiggled my talons. Yep, those pudgy things are mine. I scanned further up and my legs appeared thick and pink. Very thick and whoa…Holy fluff and feathers! Is that mine too? Guess I’m not the littlest brother in the nest any longer. I tried to preen my feathers but I was bald and shivering in the cold air. Can my day get any worse?


These meditation sessions always bring me amazing gems for fiction writing. I adore getting consumed in my character’s life. I unconsciously added my vision to my bundle and re-secured the silk ribbon. I made another attempt at non fiction that evening when I got home. Not even a heavenly cup of jasmine tea would coax the words to flow so I went to bed.

2 A. M. and the bundle with the silk ribbon jostles me from my dreams. It has steeped long enough and is ready to reveal its special brew; the hook for a magical young adult fantasy. The baby bird falling from the nest is a heron fledgling. The fear as the eagle approaches triggers a dormant shape shifting ability inherited from the Native Americans. A morsel of information simmers to the surface. This heron colony is special. They do not migrate. In fact they have a new group name, Coastal or Pacific Heron, the fannini subspecies . My mind shouts out, Duh! They are Native American shape shifters. Why would they migrate? Details are nestling into place. My shapeshifting heron is now a 15-year-old boy. Another morsel bubbles up to the surface. My friend Elaine, made a comment in a conversation about Young Adult Fantasy being a hot ticket for a fantasy writer. I hadn’t even realized I had tucked that into my bundle.

This story has me buzzing with energy. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

April 20th has arrived and the trust and patience I had in the word flow brought me a new fantasy story and somehow to the end to my first blog post. Now I think I will celebrate with a cup of tea.

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