Writer’s crack is real! No, this isn’t about the pants-sliding-down-while-you-type crack, like the plumber’s crack of comedy gold. We’re talking about things that put you into a frenzy to write a newly inspired story. Every writer has triggers, and if you’re lucky you can find them and use them to get out of a slump.
A couple of years ago, while browsing through a used book store, I found a book about English fairy tales and–of course–purchased it. (That’s it, up on the need-to-read shelf. The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries by W. Y. Evens-Wentz.) The subject has always fascinated me; it was not my first, and certainly not my last such book. Some weeks later, on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I had a moment to crack it open. The introduction (Yes, I read introductions, prologues, glossaries, appendices, and maps.) was both pleasantly surprising and completely cringe-worthy, in the way of dusty, old, and almost forgotten books. Apparently, I had in my hand a recent reissue of a book that JRR Tolkien had referenced for his world building. Even more pleased with my lucky find, and hopefully under the influence of a little mystical foresight, I happily delved into the first chapter…
AND FIRMLY SHUT IT, bookmarked on chapter two. The after images in my head, while my body lay snugly anchored on my couch with the book clasped in unmoving hands, spun like leaves heralding the start of a stormy spring. The stories! Characters! Battles! Lighting, tempests, swords, grief, love, fear, and loss that is an ache that pierces to the soul’s depth.
I held completely still. The overfull brain must not be disturbed. A new/old world sloshed against the sides of it. For a dry and dated tome, first published in 1911, it held a surprising lushness.
I was aware of movement deep in my psyche. There was something lurking in my mind. Lurking like an elder god and getting called to the surface. The Leviathan rises, or worse…
Unfortunately, I already had three multi-book story arcs that had been clawing at the insides of my skull, rudely pushing each other out of line and snarling to be first. I closed that wonderful book HARD–like the doors of Tartarus–just to preserve my soul from the punishments I likely deserved. It contained the breath of Titans snoring, and (as anyone who has lived with a chronic snorer learns) I heard the sound of something nearing an awakening.
It sits on my shelf, unobtrusively, but whispering to me I quiet moments. I know that like Pandora, I am doomed to open it…
Eventually. For now, it sits. It’s writer’s crack, or something like.
Hopefully, a story is really in there, but I think I may need to be a more experienced writer to do it justice. It’s not the only story I have saved for later in my career. For now, I have my other stories that I am currently passionate about, and willing to learn on.
This past weekend I added three more of The Lost Library book series to my shelf, risking collusion among them. Myths are my weakness, and my wellspring. I–apparently–like to live dangerously.
And that, folks, is about as close as I get to a written book review. Not an Amazon review (I’ll do those anytime for books I like, especially for independent authors), but an actual blog review. It’s not my thing, and lots of other people do a really good job of them. And despite the heavy-handed use of metaphor in this post, it really doesn’t begin to describe what was happening to my brain.
But, I am curious if this has ever happened to any of you?