After I finished my first novel, I had several lengthy, insightful conversations with Oprah Winfrey. Our dialogue was the stuff of legends – and it took place entirely in my head.
I was raised on magic. My father always had a book at hand. I grew up with words as close as blankets, as nutritious as carrots or spinach or milk. They were necessary things, inviolate.
I finished my first novel when I was forty years old and the shock of it, the rifting amazement, nearly carried me away. The pages hadn’t begun as a Book. I hadn’t intended to be a Writer.
Most writers are seekers, restless. If we were satisfied with the here-and-now, the exactly-as-it-is, there would be no call to wander, to imagine otherwise. We pick at all the seams. We pry the edges of “what if?” We are good at doubt and wonder, at the possible and maybe.
The blank screen. The blinking cursor. The sudden, irresistible urge to dig out that last chocolate bar from the Halloween stash in the back of the pantry. Writer’s block can take a lot of forms, but it still plays the same old tune, a tick-tock insinuation that maybe, this time, the words are really gone.…
Twitter is the consummate writer’s salon. Like the salons of old, it is a forum for the exchange of ideas. That alone is a boon to writers – the ebb and flow of “why” and “how.” Politics, philosophy, science, religion and gossip intersect in the slipstream, the crisscrossing currents. Between the spoken and implied, we discover characters to hatch, plots to ripen, settings to evolve. The daily unfolding of millions of lives is a trove awaiting plunder.
Lake Eola Park, in the center of Orlando – a world away from cartoon Disney – makes me wish that I could draw. Some places demand the bold strokes of acrylic, the definitives of ink, the texturized weight of Bristol paper. Nothing but a painter’s hand, a drafter’s arm will do. The precise skills I am lacking.