Go With Your Gut

I decided to write a novel for my Nanowrimo.  I wanted to incorporate witches and magic into my novel. A few of my friends said that I needed to have a magic system. Not just magic but an entire, functioning magic system.  I freaked out fully. I decided to abandon my project. All the work and planning will be flushed down the toilet.

Then, I went to the Folger to see “I Put A Spell on You”. While I was there, I spoke to a practicing witch. Her name is Annie Finch. She was there to read from her book called, “Spells”. So, after an introduction, I pulled her aside and asked her if I could talk to her about “witch stuff”. Considering my sister introduced us (as it was my sister’s program), she didn’t have a problem.

a subtle nod to Deborah Harkness (book is from 1647)

I explained to her that I was writing a book…blah blah…magic system…is it really necessary.  She looked at me. Like, really stared at me. I explained, “You know, like if you are a water elemental and you pull water from somewhere, then there has to be an after effect, no or yes?”

She was confused. She laughed and said, “No. you don’t need any type of system. None of the witches I know have this entire ‘magic system’. It’s usually a dab of this here and a dab of that there but no system.”

I felt a weight lifted. I was relieved. She saw the look on my face and laughed. We made small talk and I voluteered to send her some of the stuff I was working on…I mean I have an actual practicing witch willing to look at my stuff. (This goes to the credence that you need to do your damned research people!)

me in straight up stalker mode with the super cool Annie Finch

The next day, at the bus stop, one of the women I chat with-when we see each other-told me her roommate was a practicing witch. Just for shits and giggles, I bounced the magic system off her and she said the same thing, “Uh, no. There’s no need for all that.”

All the research, all the Pinterest pages and all that stress was for naught. I talked to a voracious reader and he told me that Jim Butcher has a wizard in his books that simply says simple spells. He also has “Laws of Magic”.  It’s not all that complicated.

Next time, as my sister says, “Go with that inner  critic, the inner frustrated teacher and make your edits and corrections there.”

Nanowrimo is Upon Us…

I’ve planned the book. I’ve written out everything. I even made a Pinterest page for inspiration but somehow, I’m not feeling it.

Yeah, I’m not feeling Nanowrimo. I’ll do it. I believe one of the texts I read says to basically write, even when you don’t feel like writing.

I have no advice to offer except this-take care of yourself.

Writing can be lonely. You and your brain are allowed to create worlds. You even live in them while you work on spilling the words on the page. But, it’s just you. So, since Nanowrimo is all about writing for the month of November uninterrupted-check out some Nanowrimo events! Don’t feel like you need to sit inside and write alone. Hell, go to a write in and talk to other writers-just make small talk and see where it goes.

I have an accountability person. She is going to hold me accountable for my writing and I’m doing the same for her. Like a check in buddy. Because, I have to say right now, I’m not feeling it.

And that is the secret to everything. I know I’m not feeling like writing (as I write this post like a gun is being held to my head). I feel like I’m forcing myself to do everything or anything. I’m taking a brief break from class, work and responsibility. Tonight, I’m going to see an event at the Folger Shakespeare Library. (See all this below)

I Put a Spell on You

Annie Finch and Kiki Petrosino

Annie Finch and Kiki Petrosino

Monday, October 28, 2019, 7:30 pm

Folger Theatre

Two poets explore the realms of witchcraft and womanhood in all seasons of life. Accompanying the reading is a display of rare books on witches and magic from the Folger collection at 6:30pm.

Annie Finch is a poet, translator, librettist, editor, and critic. Her books of poetry include Spells: New and Selected Poems and Calendars, shortlisted for the Foreword Poetry Book of the Year Award. She is also the author of The Body of Poetry: Essays on Women, Form, and the Poetic Self.

Kiki Petrosino’s three books of poetry are Witch WifeHymn for the Black Terrific, and Fort Red Border. Recipient of a Fellowship in Creative Writing from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Al Smith Fellowship Award from the Kentucky Arts Council, Petrosino is a Professor of Poetry at the University of Virginia.

Hopefully, this will pull me out of my writing rut. I’m going with a fellow writer and she’s a good person. She’s got a relaxing energy around her.

One other thing-here’s some writing advice from Neil Gaiman. He seems like a really nice guy.

Take care.