09 June 2010
Jessa Slade visits my Realm on her FORGED OF SHADOWS blog tour
Ever since I started writing seriously, I’ve had a writing altar. It’s a place where I put all my treasures, my creativity prompts, my dreams, my successes, and even some of my more spectacular failures. It’s not a particularly fancy altar, just a stack of plastic trays which hold—among other things—my dictionary and thesaurus, the folder with all of my rejection letters over the years, and printed notes on my stories.
Those are the building blocks of my writing, but it’s the top shelf—the aerie—from where the inspiration takes flight. (Or plummets to its doom, but that’s only on the bad days.) Here’s a picture of the altar on my desk:
A bit chaotic looking, I know. An accurate reflection, I suppose, of my creative process. But when I pause from writing to look up, there are little details that lift my spirits.
First, in the foreground is a note card my mom sent me after I sold my first book. It’s art from Gerhard Glück, called “Feuerreifen,” which I believe translates to ‘ring of fire.’ The picture shows a snail preparing to jump through a fiery hoop. I love this picture. (Mr. Glück, if you’re out there Googling yourself, please email me. I’d love to link to your website, if you have one.) The snail’s shell is festively painted in stars though there’s hardly anybody in the audience. I imagine most of them have gone home since it’s very late. From the smoke coming up, it appears the ring has been on fire quite some time while we wait for the snail to make her move.
It’s a perfect, if not particularly subtextual, representation of my path to publication.
In the very back of the altar, almost wallpaper, is the collage of my work in progress. This one is for FORGED OF SHADOWS, my current release and book 2 of the Marked Souls. I always thought collaging was silly—until I tried it! Now I love to go through trashy, bright and glossy magazines (with scratch and sniff perfume strips!) and find words and images to represent my story. It helps me hold the whole story in my head at once, which can get tricky over 100,000 words. When I start to falter, I can just look up and get a burst of color, texture, key words, and power words. Then back to the computer.
Lastly, on the first shelf down from the top shelf, I keep a copy of my current release. A friend who saw my altar asked why the book—the real live book!—didn’t have a place of honor on the top shelf. It took me a awhile to think why. But I guess it’s because the book—as wonderful and glorious, as dream-come-true as it is—is really just the last wonderful, glorious step of a long and often inglorious journey. The altar is where I make my offering to my writing. The book is my offering to the reader.
I wonder, does anybody else keep a sacred place of sorts, a home for your dreams? Maybe it’s a notebook or scrapbook. Maybe it’s a box of precious memories or future plans. I’d love to hear how others inspire themselves. And maybe you can post a link to a photo of your place in the comments so we can share.
Thanks, Leontine, for hosting me today.
GIVEAWAY: Let’s give away a copy of Book 1 or 2 of the Marked Souls to a random commenter. If you’re not sure which one you want, check out the opening chapters at http://jessaslade.com/ Giveaway ends June 13th 2010.