"MAKING THE UNCOMMON . . . COMMON"
Throughout grade school and high school, my English teachers encouraged me to be a writer. They said, “Your papers are so well-structured; your ideas, well-developed; your paragraphs well-written. Well, well, well! But each time I sat down to write, my inner critic shooed away creativity before it grabbed a foothold. The belief that I wasn’t creative became reality and I settled into various jobs, technical writer, database architect, teacher, and counselor. My desire to be a novelist smoldered beneath the surface of my consciousness . . . and waited for that belief to change.
The years between found me on a spiritual path, the sort of path that someone with a husband, two kids, dog, home, and full-time job, had time for. I think they call us “work-shoppers.” Malls didn’t tempt me (well, a little), but learning did . . . and practicing—prayer, meditation, energy work, shamanic journeying, even animal communication. I was a metaphysical potpourri until I journaled myself through Sonia Choquette’s Your Heart’s Desire, and rediscovered the seed that had been planted long ago—the desire to write.
Writing, is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Some days I’m a hollow bone while words and ideas come unbidden, and others I’m a gardener, pruning and replanting rows of vegetables. Either way, when I’m writing, the stars align, tears come unbidden mid-scene, and flowing energy fuels steady progress on what often feels like a never-ending project. When I sit down to write, images appear and words follow, or vice versa. The two are intertwined.
In one of C.S. Lewis’s essays, he answered the question about how he came up with such imaginative characters and meaningful stories. He replied that images would appear in his mind, such as a an English school girl having tea with a fawn, and from there he wove a story that unveiled the messages within him. Lewis cautioned writers against starting with a moral then writing to promote it. Rather, he encouraged writers to embed meaning inside them, then write whatever story strikes them. He promised that meaning would come through.
My hope is that the characters and happenings in my novel, The Lost Language, and my to-be-written books touch readers and connects the message in my heart with the message in theirs.
Elizabeth Wolf Barnes
The Lost Language