Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dear Reporter, What Sacrifices Must I Make?

Mr Reporter,
You asked me what sacrifices I make for the sake of my writing.

The answer is simply, ‘I sacrificed a normal life.’ Nothing keeps me from my writing.

All day, and half the night, I’m locked in my study. Dark drapes on the windows block out any distractions daylight might bring, and I’ve stilled the pendulum on the cuckoo clock so time stands still. My gilt-edged mirror now faces the wall. I turned it around on the day a dishevelled Miss Havisham-like creature stared back.
Silence is my preferred companion, but I’m not totally alone. Spitzli, my mini Schnauzer, sleeps contentedly at my feet while my muse draws words from my fingertips, like a leech sucking blood.

The isolation is fine. I have plenty of imaginary friends to entertain me. While writing The Unhewn Stone, great vistas opened up for me, filled with peasants and noblemen in 14th Century Switzerland. When it became too hot in my Australian study, I took a plunge in the icy waters of Lake Luzern. Well, I didn’t, my innkeeper’s daughter did; an evil knight dunked her for being a witch. But, I cooled down on snow covered mountain slopes – come to think of it, it got pretty hot up there for my poor Stefan fighting a young soldier in the blizzard. We did shiver in the cold while waiting on a muddy track for torch-bearing soldiers to reach us, in the pre dawn.

Have you been hungry enough to eat wild boar from a spit in a forest, Mr Reporter, surrounded by your enemy? Have you been locked in a dungeon with a wizened old crone and only a hunk of stale bread and mug of ale to share between you? I have. It took quite a lot of figuring, in the confines of my study, to work out a suitable means of escape from that jail. On the other hand, have you danced like a fool among peasants in a medieval square or searched an alchemist’s lab and found barrels of silver and gold?

Some sacrifices are worth it.

However, Mr Reporter, by sacrificing a ‘normal life’, I’ve donned the cloak of guilt and selfishness. I do feel for my family. I hardly see them. Thank goodness my husband is a wonderful cook or I wouldn’t be as robust as I am. The ironing is piled high, a small sacrifice since I use this as an escape; a respite from writing. 

Christmas and birthdays are a blessing. On these occasions I venture out into the rest of the house and clear away the cobwebs, polish the floors, wash the windows and air the dog. I fill the house with roses and gardenias cut from my husband’s garden and bake a cake. But those little pleasures are fleeting and vanish too soon. I return with Spitzli to my study, boot up the computer and disconnect the phone.

Since I left the Middle Ages, I’ve been quite lost. I tried to get a grip on reality by writing a draft for a modern murder mystery, but that didn’t feel right. Then joy of joys, along came a majestic dragon queen, evil to her claws. She is hovering now over the forbidden boundary separating Pravlica and Zares – my two realms of Fairytale and Reality. At least one of my characters must cross over.  Oh dear, the ironing must wait. I’m trapped in a new story where hidden danger and betrayal fester in the deepest darkness. Chaos reigns. Writing is so liberating. #

We must do lunch...sometime.

You'll find me at My Imagination 
and My Blog , MuseItUp , and Amazon


Edith Parzefall said...

Hi Wendy, let the cobwebs and ironing grow and write on! While you ignore the world, the world will enjoy the fruits of your hermit's imagination.

Rosalie Skinner said...

Hi Wendy, I am glad you air the dog occassionally. :)I hope she doesn't snore and disturb your quiet.
Great post.. so glad you make all those sacrifices...The world is a more entertaining place because of your words.
I will leave you in your self imposed exile now... Write on!

Unknown said...

You poor tortured soul!! All there by your lonesome. Hehehe. Actually it's my preferred way of existence and I love the atmosphere you've created for yourself and that adorable little baby curled up next to you. Great post my dear. You do have a special charm people adore. I know I do.

Unknown said...

The room of exile sounds like heaven to me. Real life always interferes with mine. And I like silence and alone, too.

Keep the books coming, and escape into the dream world that flows from your fingertips.

Wendy said...

The real perk -- Writing brings me wonderful friends like you!!. How lovely you all stepped into my study. Sorry Spitzli jumped up on you but, well...her tail hasn't stopped wagging. It can't be easy being a dog in my world. :)

Edith, I'm going to take your advice about the ironing. Who will see my crushed clothes while I'm alone in the study? :)

Rosalie, Spitzli does snore sometimes, and that is so soothing it causes me to nod off. Then it's my snoring that wakes her and she paws my arm to get me typing again.

Karen, speaking of tortured souls, it's true, being alone is painful, isn't it, until characters appear and then we can torture them instead.hehe.

Lorrie, maybe you are in a better place for writing than I am, since the best stories come from real life. :)

Marian Lanouette said...

I too love my solitude while I write. Loved the post. Marian

J.Q. Rose said...

Perhaps if you stepped out of your writng world more often, you could go shopping for "permanent press" items and never iron again!! Even more time to play with characters. Super delightful post.!!!

Wendy said...

Marion, I'm glad I'm not alone in my love of solitude while I think/write. So many people I know say they need music to keep them in the mood. I was beginning to think I'm odd. :) Maybe we are.

Janet, lol. Step out of the writing world? Oh dear me, no! Too scary! You never know what you'll find out there in the real world. Just ask Lorrie :)

Unknown said...

LOL, Wendy! My family always jokes that if I had a kitchen and bathroom in my writing room, they'd NEVER see me! Great post, by the way.

Emmie Acton Cooper said...

Hi Wendy,
How I envy your solicitude :) Great post!

M. L. Archer said...

Aww...just keep writing! I love your stories!

Jacquie Rogers said...

The cool thing about your travels is you take me with you, and we've never even met. :) I loved The Unhewn Stone although that witch-dunking was scary!

Wendy said...

Diana, it's no joke. My bathroom IS right next to my study but I don't drink much and I never eat while I'm writing. That's probably why my photo looks a tad

Acton, I'm so happy you dropped by. Sometimes I wonder why I don't achieve more, given all the opportunities. :)

Michele, okay! lol.

Jacquie, we'll meet one day. Let me know when and I'll unlock my study door...if I find the key. Yes, the dunking wasn't nice but I was having a bad day. hahaha.

LJ Roberts said...

Thank you, Wendy, for wonderful imagery and a delightful post. It's also nice to know there are other fans of silence.

Wendy said...

LJ, when I had a bigger study I had floor to ceiling books like you have. They helped to lock in the silence and yet, like you, I never felt alone.

Thank you everyone for stopping by.

So Mr Reporter, you see there is one sacrifice I did not have to make: I did not have to give up my True Friends!

Pat Dale said...

So fun reading this post. I've been there as well, and have the scars to prove it. It's a terrible price we writers have to bear for our craft, but worth it in the end. LOL

Wendy said...

Hi Pat,
So nice of you to visit me in my dungeon...I mean study...hehehe. Getting there is half the fun.