Monday, December 7, 2009

Thoughts on Magic and Spatulas

This is not the best week to write my introductory post on making magic. I’m wrapping up my current rough draft, but there is a swamp of scene worksheets, loose ends, and emotional arcs gone awry between me and the end. Decking the tree and trimming the halls were lovely, but they cut into writing time. And I’ve procrastinated by reading about the fate of my favorite local grocery chain.

Of course, this is the season for magic. Target sells it for $9.95 plus tax while supplies last, but I must provide the batteries. I can fill my house with more lights, addictive ditties, and tiny model people than the It’s a Small World ride at Disneyworld.

But that isn’t helping me make magic. So I think about the spatula part of the title, and my mind immediately goes to a quote from author Robin McKinley on the subject of writing, “…on good days you'll fly higher than a peregrine cruising for dinner, on bad days someone will have to scrape you off the floor with a spatula.”

That feeling I know. Some days I plummet from cumulus to concrete with the speed of a diving peregrine. My husband uses pick axes, spatulas, and encouragement notes attached to the office wall to exhume my spirit. It works, but we both know if I want to soar again, the work is up to me.

This is where the magic comes in. It isn’t in the finished story. It is in the struggle. For me, it is magical that I manage to crawl from a warm bed at 5:15 in the morning so I can write for a couple hours before heading into the day job. It is magical to find the will to continue after rejection letters and hearing the odds against any artist of any type ever being able to devote over forty hours a week to the art. It is magical that I’ve been able to squeeze out over three hundred words when my brain is in a funk.

I think there is a type of magic involved whenever people find the strength to do what they must: the postmaster directing the torrent of Christmas cards; the farmer venturing into the frozen morning; the student slogging through exams to get a step closer to graduation; the nurse bracing herself for the unexpected wounds; the electrician looking out for coworkers who’ve been zapped one too many times for normal brain function.

In this magical season, I hope you can find a spatula to scrape yourself off the floor and the strength to strive toward your passion. If not, you can borrow mine. It’s used but still pretty fantastic.


  1. Woohoo! Congrats, my dear on your first post! :D Thank you for coming along on this fantastic voyage! :D

  2. Sissy, That was great!! I love how you talked about both families in the article!!! I can't wait to read more. I love you and miss you!!