I had an epiphany this morning…and I’ve been waiting all day to think about it. Now that I’ve finished work, made dinner, and showered I can finally take some time to give it thought. It’ll seem rather obvious to some of you, and I’ll admit that many close to me (and my writing) have said as much recently, but sometimes you just don’t get it until you get it. But let me start at the beginning…
One of my favorite writers to follow is Deborah Harkness, author of the “All Souls Trilogy.” I follow her on both Facebook and Instagram. I admire her creativity, the world and characters she created, the adventure she took me on. Harkness lives and teaches in Los Angeles, but this week she is in my very favorite city in the world…London, of course…for the paperback release of the third book in her trilogy, The Book of Life. While she’s in London doing readings and meeting other writers (which already sounds like heaven to me), she’s also been visiting all the places which her heroine, Diana, visits while in London during the third book. All week, as I’ve devoured the photos and updates, I’ve felt pangs of envy. Now, according to Julia Cameron, envy is a signpost to what we really want…and that’s probably why the epiphany struck.
This morning, as I pined over another artsy photo of one of Diana’s London destinations, and was wishing I could be living vicariously through my characters…I suddenly realized, that’s exactly what I should be doing…and could be doing! My novel is set in this very town. I know which building Elle lives in, where she finds the body, what restaurants she likes to go to, and where she finds the final clue to solve the mystery. I could trace her days and footsteps through this area…that’s why I set it here. So why aren’t I having as much fun with my heroine as Deborah Harkness is with hers? And that’s when I had another realization…for whatever reason, I have not let myself (for some time now) love and believe in my characters as much as I should…or used to.
So this epiphany was both inspiring and disturbing. Disturbing in that I realized my love and obsession with my characters and their lives has waned or been forgotten…inspiring because I remembered how easy it is to touch their lives and be with them, if I’d only let myself.
I’m going to spend some time tonight thinking about what happened to make me forget that love and how, in my fast-approaching new life with its new job, remodeled house, and refurbished arm, I might rekindle that love. What I realized today is that when I look at other writers and am envious of them, it’s not so much their success and slick book covers and book tours that get to me; it’s the connection and joy that they have with their art and characters that I envy. This could be disheartening, except today I also remembered that I used to feel that way too…and might again with the right conditions and nurturing…which all love needs.