Saturday, August 04, 2007


"Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else." - Glorian Steinem

I am finding it increasingly difficult to remain in the real world. I have just finished reading the final Harry Potter book and I am having difficulty climbing out of it. Plenty of books have come and gone in my life that have left no impact. I can remember most of them, but they did not come to be a part of me. There have been books, however, that left me reeling. This feeling does not necessarily come from a heavy or intense story, but usually from the sense of being fully immersed in its world. When I finish a book that has claimed me, it is often like coming up for air. Part of me wants to be out, to be done, to be back on firm ground and part of me is longing to be back deep inside.

But the strangest thing has happened to me this week. I have been inhabiting two books at the same time. One was Harry Potter and the other was my own manuscript. The characters in one of the books were bringing me along with them as I read about their lives, and the characters in the other have been taking up residence in my head. I don't feel like it is me writing this book. I feel like it is being whispered to me. When I am not writing it whole scenes appear before me, and sentences, paragraphs and snippets of dialogue swim by in quick succession. When I am writing it I don't always know what is going to come out until it is there on the page. If you watched me reading it back you would see me shaking my head in surprise.

So the result of all of this is that my head is a bit full of fiction. There is scarcely time or space for anything else. There was simply no question of stopping reading or writing so the rest of my life has suffered. I find myself being angry at my 'real' life because it gets in the way. I missed a wonderful bit of conversation the other day because I was dealing with something at work and I couldn't stop to write the words down as the came to me. I've said before that I needed to stop writing so that I could get by in my daily life. That's still true! But now I want to give up the daily life to make room for the writing. Oh, to be able to sit down and focus on one thing at a time!

Reading this back it sounds quite negative and that is not how I mean it to sound. I am deeply, passionately in love with my book. I was deeply involved in reading Harry Potter. I am happiest and most in 'the flow' when involved in such relationships with books. It is just overwhelming sometimes. I have never felt like this about a piece of my own writing before. I have had wonderful feedback from a few friends who have read it and from Mark (he's even asked me what was going to happen next a few times - a very good sign as it is a VERY woman-y book!) I know that I am going to have to come up for air sooner or later, but in the meantime, you'll have to forgive me for any absence. I've returned from Hogwarts, but that was only part of me. I'm still not fully here. I'm afraid I've become lost in another book, and this one is going to be much more difficult to leave behind.


Amber said...

It sounds like your muse has a hold on you! Take it and run. :)


Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

I was out of town last weekend and then bought Harry Potter at the airport on the way home. (Finished it today.) I've been home for a week, but feel like I'm just now coming back, having been immersed in the world of magic. And go with your muse! I long to write a book that draws me in so completely...

Frida said...

Wow - when people say that about a book they are writing I always wonder "is she being literal or figurative?" but it doesn't really matter - i think it is amazing that your story is flowing and your characters are speaking and I hope you can press pause on as many other things as possible in order to make the most of it

anna pieka valentine said...

I love what you said about feeling like it's not you writing the story~ the way that pieces just come to you, and the surprise when you read back over what you've written. This is my favorite thing about writing~ it's only in the process of doing it that you really discover what's possible...

Tori said...

How blessed you are to be able to be fully engulfed in this world of words. If you ever would like someone else to read your manuscript. I would LOVE to!

deirdre said...

Oh, I love that moment when the story takes over and begins to tell itself. It's happened to me a few times - I live and breathe the story and it whispers in my ear. It's magical.

Boho Girl said...

i have yet to read the latest Harry Potter but i too find myself being fully submersed into Hogwarts and not quite wanting to come back at times... ; )

i've been thinking of you loads and am going to call you very soon.

i love you meggie!


ps. still listening to your YUMMY cd.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, that sounds WONDERFUL! I'm so jealous. :) And I can't wait to read your book--it sounds like these characters DEMAND to be brought to life. The very best kind of book.

chest of drawers said...

It´s taken me 3 days to finish the Harry Potter book this and it´s going to take me a while to (want to) come back to the real world.

Maddie said...

I understand exactly what you are
saying - i feel the same way
as I have been working on a book -
and you need a large amount of
isolation for this -

check out this quote from
Nadeem Aslam (my latest blog
post - first link on his name)


He prefers to write in absolute isolation, draping the windows with black cloth and not going out for weeks at a time. He says, "I always think of the silence and the darkness of a root that enables the flower to grow."...."The only time I'm ever fully alive is when I'm writing. When I'd finished this book, I felt like a cage from which the songbird is being removed. For a month I just didn't know what to do.";

are we not so in tune with
one another lately?


Planethalder said...

I fully get where you're coming from - except the other way around. When I'm writing (fiction) I often get frustrated by the characters that inhabit every nook and cranny of my mind because they won't leave me alone for a few hours to get on with my real life! Doesn't stop me dreaming their lives and writing though.