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Several years ago, a handyman was fixing my dishwasher. He had recently returned from some work in Byron Bay.
“There’s a lot of work up there,” he said.
Byron Bay is made of backpackers, surfers, hippies, and hipsters. There are probably more Reiki practitioners than there are residents. The tourists save the economy. The sign at the town entrance says,
Welcome to Byron Bay.
Cheer Up. Slow down. Chill out.
“Yes,” I laughed. “Too many yogis and not enough practical people to repair stuff.”
On leaving my house, out of the blue, he asked me what sort of work I did.
“I’m a writer,” I replied.
At that point, I had not written anything new for quite a while. I only write as inspired. If there is no direction then I don’t write and even the desire to write seems to leave me.
For no apparent reason, he said earnestly, “You are a sweet woman. Write something lovely for the world.”
He was quite a bloke and the comment seemed uncharacteristic. I wondered if the esoteric culture of Byron Bay had affected him. As if his words had a power of their own or perhaps they were noting an arrival, I started writing again that evening. What I wrote was the first chapter of Waldmeer. I had never written or considered writing fiction. I was not a fiction reader; except for teenage years spent reading Mills and Boon romance curled up on the bed with my girl cousin in school holidays.
As I write only what I am “given”, I am always interested to see which characters appear and what happens to them. I find it really funny when I am told amusing things that will happen or that people say, especially silly things. I find it sad when people refuse to grow. I find it wonderful and satisfying when healing and love happen. I have total confidence in the direction of the story because of where it comes from.
I have repeatedly been told that the story and its process must be fair; fair in the sense that everyone will be treated the same. Everyone will be treated directly about the issues they are working on. Everyone will also be equally valued from a spiritual sense. God does not have favourites. No one is ever seen as unworthy of every opportunity to change their minds, regardless of how many times they have turned their back on those opportunities previously.
A friend said to me, “No one in Waldmeer is safe.”
He meant that every character would have to meet their Maker in terms of their underlying thoughts and intentions. While it is true that no one gets to hide, it is, also, true that there is no need to hide. Hopefully, that is what is gradually discovered in the book.
On finishing reading Waldmeer, a relative said, “There is a little bit of each character in all of us.”
I thought that was a very succinct and humble observation.
Another friend said, “I want to be Amira and I want to live in Waldmeer.”
Amira is our collective spiritual self; her intentions are good, mistakes are easily corrected, and pride is not an issue. She knows that pride is a luxury we cannot afford. We are all drawn to our truest selves and we want to live in safety, peace, and happiness even though we are generally quite mistaken about what will give us that.
Apart from being fair, the angels (or whoever it is that tells me what to write) also instruct that the story and its lessons must be simple. Sometimes, they explain to me a complex spiritual idea in sophisticated words.
Then they say, “Put that in the book simply.”
Not an easy task. Only when something is truly understood can it be explained simply. Fortunately, they do not leave me alone in the task. They give me both the ideas of the story and the words to use.
The fact that Waldmeer Series has been written as an ongoing blog is unusual for fiction writing. Normally, novels are written and rewritten many times before even a page is published. Although I carefully edit each blog post before it is public, once it is posted, it remains unchanged; that is 115,000 words which have not been altered since it began (except for an occasional word and some grammatical editing). The Waldmeer Series videos on YouTube have had over a million minutes of watch time in the first year of being posted.
Sometimes, when a section is finished, a thought pops into my mind, That’s the best thing I’ve ever read. Obviously, I do not really think that it is the best thing that has ever been written! However, I think it is the angel’s way of telling me, It’s done. Then I can leave the section in peace. Until they start talking again…
“Isn’t it the wrong time of year to prune roses?” said my neighbour, two weeks ago, as we both took our bins out. “Should I be pruning mine too?” he asked with the willingness of an eager apprentice. He is a long-time househusband. He has run his house and children and acted as a support person for his wife’s busy career as competently as any housewife could. However, he is not quite so happy with his garden. Although respectable, he says it is lacking in comparison with other gardens he admires.
“No, don’t prune your roses,” I said. “It’s still summer. It’s hot. It’s the wrong time of year but you know me; I garden by instinct.” Continue reading “Growing Success – writing”
One of the wonderful things about writing fiction is that we have complete freedom to be as honest and blunt as we feel is necessary to get across an idea. The reader never knows which bits of a story are fictitious and which are true. There is an immunity to story writing which nonfiction does not have. The latter can, generally, not maintain the same sort of freedom due to concerns of hurting others or defamation lawsuits. Continue reading “Together: Writing as Co-Creation”