Ranée

Here Comes the Sun

Here comes the sun
And I say it's all right
— George Harrison

Today is the first day of spring where I live. Phoenix that I am, I cannot help loving the symbolism of renewal and rebirth inherent in spring. This morning, however, I was feeling decidedly un-rejuvenated. I was thinking about the story I’m currently writing and how my guides have been signaling to me for months now that I should be writing about empathy and love, but I was saying, “That’s boring; I don’t want to write that shit and nobody wants to read that either.” Well clearly I’m full of shit because last week in a freewriting session, I ended up writing several pages all about one character’s love for another and it moved me to tears. I thought that this piece was backstory, but my guides told me outright in yesterday’s meditation to “write love” and I realized that what I’d come up with is actually the very heart of my story. Despite this, today when I was thinking again about this character, I was annoyed with myself for giving him a huge piece of myself, namely empathy and his capacity to feel things so intensely and to love so strongly.

When I sat down to meditate this afternoon, I felt Isis’s presence (a warmth that envelops me like being wrapped lovingly in an invisible blanket) and the message that I came away with in this session was essentially that what I have always deemed to be a curse—my intense empathy, the ability to feel others’ emotions—could actually be my greatest strength if I learn how to manage it and use it to help others instead of running from it or trying to shut it off. I will certainly need to develop a stronger “emotional armor,” so to speak, to protect myself from that onslaught of emotional energy and to be ever cognizant that others’ emotions are not mine even though I feel them as if they are.

How fitting that this realization comes today with the onset of spring. This is the next phase of my spiritual journey, I think—to embrace that empathy in myself and in my writing as well. No more hiding in the shadows; I have to let my true self shine. It’s a scary thought, I admit, but I have to trust that my guides will help me through it.

On Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 62

This week’s writing prompt is taken from the Beatles song, “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” The opening lyrics give us a description of two characters—a girl and a man. We’re told that the girl (who might actually be a woman) is “not a girl who misses much.”

She's well acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand
Like a lizard on a window pane

What does this say about her? Who is she? What’s her backstory? And who is this other character who emerges in the next line?

The man in the crowd with the multicolored mirrors
On his hobnail boots
Lying with his eyes while his hands are busy
Working overtime

What does the description tell you about him? Does the girl/woman spy him in the crowd; is that why we get such a detailed description of his footwear? Are these characters connected in some way? Your challenge, fearless writer, is to weave a story from these threads.

On Writing

Magical Mystery Tour

Series books are big in our house.  My eight-year-old enjoys following the continuing story of a character or characters and I think creating a series of books is a terrific tactic for writers of children’s and young adult books.  If you can create an interesting character (or group of characters) that appeals to your young audience, especially one that they’ll find funny, exciting, or interesting, or that they can relate to in some way, and as long as you can keep coming up with new tales of adventure, mischief, etc. for them to engage in, that’s highly marketable (and potentially very profitable). 

My son is really into stories of mystery, adventure, and magic as well as stories with humor.  He’s read a number of the Magic Tree House series of books, the Geronimo and Thea Stilton series, and the Bad Guys books, but he really loves graphic novels.  The combination of pictures and text seems to work well for his age and reading level.  He can get intimidated by unfamiliar words and lots of text, but with graphic novels, he can read most of the words himself and the pictures help him to figure out what’s going on in the story when he comes across words that that he doesn’t know.  Graphic novels also make learning new words easier and a little fun for him.  His must-haves are Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man and Captain Underpants series (he’s read all of them multiple times) and the Wings of Fire graphic novels. 

I’m partial to the Dog Man books because of their balance of levity and silliness and because, well, I’m a fan of comics, graphic novels, and superheroes myself.  It’s fun for our family to read these books together, do different voices for the various characters, laugh, and talk about the lessons learned by the characters (when that happens).  At the moment, the little man and I are reading Book 3 of the Wings of Fire graphic novel series and I think I like the books almost as much as he does, not just because I share his love of stories of magic and adventure but because I find the tale of this band of dragons destined to end an all-out war interesting.  Each of them has a distinct personality and very cool, innate abilities that they’re discovering as they try to fulfill a prophecy and they’re learning and growing as a family along the way. 

What types of kids’ and young adult series do you or the young readers in your life enjoy reading or writing and why?