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  • Writer's pictureChar Seawell

Spontaneous Epiphanies

I knew I wanted to write novels, but I could not finish what I started.

The closer I got, the more ways I'd find to screw it up.

Steven Pressfield, author, The Legend of Baggar Vance

All my life, I have adhered to the belief that there are two types of creatives in the world: those that work by perspiration and those that work by inspiration.  Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, might define it as those who put their butts in a chair and those who don’t.

Since I have the attention span of a gnat, I have always lived in the “inspiration” category of creatives.  I once read that the Creator has assignments, and if we pass on a creative suggestion, it will get passed on the next, perhaps more willing, participant in the co-creation of a work. 

Somehow I found that comforting.

So for mostly fifty plus years, I simply observed the world and waited for a story or scene to unfold before me filled with human goodness or inspiration and then composed or written to capture that moment. I just waited patiently for the muse to direct my path. And that worked for years until a vague sense of dissatisfaction began to creep in.

Perhaps in a desire to see if I could persevere in something…anything…I started this blog.  For almost 100 weeks, with some exceptions, I have persisted.  During that time, I quit every week, I composed farewell letters, and I covered my ears and sang loudly to avoid those 3 am creative assignments.

But I showed up.

And then a funny thing happened.  I started showing up for the novel that haunted me all these years, and I am realizing that now my focus now needs to be on completing that work as it moves from its birth to its development.

So for awhile anyway, Tuesday Epiphanies will morph into Spontaneous Epiphanies… coming with their own time table, which will probably be very sporadic.. I figured out I needed to free up space in my busy, easily distracted mind to fully embrace this novel until it is polished and complete. The characters deserve my full attention, and I know they will let me know when their story is ready to be shared. I have come to love them deeply in this journey, and they feel like old friends now.

During these last two years, I have been humbled and lifted up by your support and encouragement.  I have felt you with me every step of the journey, and every time I was ready to throw in the towel, one of you would respond in a kind way to a post, and I thought to myself…okay…one more…

You have blessed me beyond measure, and I will continue to hold you close to my heart.

I am leaving you with the prologue to the novel, Water Skeeters, which opens on a trail in the North Cascades of Washington State.  Rachel Colburn and Emma Love will meet in that wilderness, and Rachel will emerge on the same trail a few days later a transformed woman.

Water Skeeters - Prologue

Can you hear the humming?

The soft breeze is thick with the searching appetite of mosquitoes and the laser scope scent vision of deerfly and yellow jacket.  Soaked in the sound, strangers have gathered here – their deepest fears submerged at the bottom of their backpacks, rolled into tight balls for easy transport - tucked as space fillers into the corners. They skate on the surface of their thoughts like water skeeters, poised on the tension between air and water, balanced on their teetering need for acceptance, yet desperate to remain unknown.

The path before them is steep - a ragged scar in the landscape that carves its way down through thick pine, huckleberry, and dry summer air.  They step out and down, their backpacks lightened by the counsel of the instructor - only one of everything needed: one cup, one bandana, one extra pair of shorts, one extra shirt, one extra jacket. They do not want to enter the wilderness overly encumbered, she announces.  And so they leave their discarded possessions in the back of the van.

As boots hit the trail, the sound of gathering acquaintance fills the air, and voices from the East Coast and West Coast co-mingle on the path and get tossed back to the rear of the line where she places herself, always places herself, so as to avoid scrutiny and connection.  Invisibility is only guaranteed here as the last in line.  Fearing a stumble on the steep trail, no

one ventures a glance back, their gazes minutely focused on the rocky path. And so, she is able to do what she has always does best.  She observes, listening carefully for land mines hidden within the words.

The road that had carried them here through the river valley was quiet…only the occasional rush of a truck’s breeze, with a trailer’s wind momentarily rocking the sturdy body of the bus.  Trapped like captured insects behind the glass, they had sat straight, facing forward and silent, traversing their fears carefully, frightened of what what might tumble down the slopes of their thoughts, what beckoned from the tenuous ground.

But here, now on the trail, it is different.  Tentative conversation clutters the air, drifting through the leafy canopy.  Like small fry dashing out into unknown waters, these strangers dart in and out of connection, feeling their way, clinging to the illusion of their anonymity.  As they journey downward deeper into the scar, these tiny forays into the mundane begin to weave a fragile spider web of commonalities. 

But the differences linger out in deep water like fish of prey awaiting a moment of over confidence, a hunger for vulnerability that will draw them out into dangerous waters.

As she listens to the rhythm of their footsteps and watches the swirls of dust dance around their feet, she realizes she knows something they do not.

They are not alone.

Here, on this path, songs emerge from the landscape like brushstrokes on a painter’s canvas. Old songs from the ragged pine, the columbine, the Indian paintbrush and the forget-me-not.  Old songs that seem familiar but are rough and watery like the creek that bubbles through the undergrowth.  Old songs that weave quietly and ceaselessly through trail conversations, seeping into the strangers’ bones and whispering of restless sleep.                                 

Can you hear them?


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2 comentários

16 de abr.

I'm so happy for you that you have reached this milestone in your journey! Your prologue captured me immediately with your usual beauty of the written word, and I can't wait to read the finished novel. I have read each of your Epiloguers and loved each of them. I look forward to anything you send out there while working on your novel. ❤️


16 de abr.

Intriging, you do seem to pack a lot of new interesting paths to follow in this new journey in a new land and connect. Are you like me, enjoy instant gratification, or as close to instant as possible. I am up day and most nights delving into something new to try when there is a room full of UFO's. I look forward to this finished novel because you have found the secret, the other things can wait their next turn, this is a desire you feel passion for and you will now stray from it, y'all hear me!!!!

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