Of Gods and Magic

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I’ve been beta reading two novels that were written by friends. Well, more than that really, but two in particular. I’m struck by a few things. First by the absolute quality of the writing. Second, I am amazed by the stories. Finally, I feel rather astounded they value my opinion.

Both of these works are so delicious I go back time and again and re-read passages just to savor the words like letting rich chocolate melt slowly in my mouth. The words and the stories just delight me to no end.

Perhaps what is most astounding is that I have been included in such a very elite circle of writers. We discuss writing and characters like housewives would sit around a kitchen table discussing a favorite cookie recipe. The writing chat is so friendly and familiar and yet we are discussing breathtaking worlds and adventures. One tosses out her magic is intended to accomplish such and such and I realize this premise threads through the series and will at some point bring down entire armies. It sounds so simple and yet I know how striking this effect will be. Having read her first chapters I understand how emotional and gut wrenching this will be to the reader. Just a small encounter leaves me breathless and here we are moving towards a titanic clash of two cultures. Yet, she paints her word picture so vividly I smell the grass and the smoke, I see the moon reflecting off the snow, I hear a mouse rustling in the leaves and she transports me into her world with a siren song.

The other sweeps me up with her characters and magic, drawing me into a world I want to get lost in, if not live in. I watch one of the gods dancing and playing about like a tiny kid goat with no care in the world. The other god hovers close, waiting to sweep down and claim his prize, only to be thwarted by the cavorting spirit of the playful god. Caught between them and powerful men who would also possess her is a young woman mourning her dead husband and world, while she is forced to survive in another time with constant reminders of what should have been.

I read these lines and wonder at the creativity and the imagination behind the skill.

Then I give thanks for these friends and their generosity in including me in this circle of gods and magic. I marvel to be so honored and blessed.

Then I listen to the words of Barbara Rogan as I ponder making Project X more simple and focused; turn it into something it is not. She asks me why I would do that and says make it better, but celebrate what it is: a big, sprawling, fun-packed wild-eyed fantasy. And I set loose the magic and see where it takes me.

I’m not sure why this surprises me, but everyone who was going to help me move this weekend has had something come up. The plan was to move on Saturday. I do have one friend who will loan me her stock trailer, but her back is messed up so she can’t lift anything. She will park it here Friday and I can load it Friday night. I was going to finish loading it Saturday morning and we would move everything around noon so my one friend who could help would be available. She has a birthday party in the afternoon.

Today we all get notified we will be working mandatory overtime Saturday until 3:30. I never get overtime. That’s one reason I switched departments.

Interestinger and interestinger.

My horror is the thought of me loading everything in the stock trailer and having to let it sit for a day or two and either it rains or people break the lock off and steal everything. I really do hate living in town. However, I will have to pull an all nighter Friday to get it loaded with the smaller stuff so Jamie can help me load the larger items Saturday or Sunday.

But as with all things in life, this will happen whether I am ready or not.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Jessica

    Oh man, be careful with the heavy stuff.
    Nice post on your friends!

  2. JES

    I don’t know if the first chunk of this post is referring to CompuServe. But I remember similar feelings when I first wandered into that joint. Couldn’t believe that this had all been going on for years, in the dark, unbeknownst to me. And then having found it, I was surrounded by the most amazing writers — published, soon-to-be-published, and never published.

    This was in the 300-baud modem days, when I was easily impressed by anything I found online :). But CIS was way beyond any of the more meager other lit/writing resources I’d encountered.

    Anyway, whether you’re referring to CIS or not, this post does a great job capturing that feeling.

    My horror is the thought of me loading everything in the stock trailer and having to let it sit for a day or two and either it rains or people break the lock off and steal everything. I really do hate living in town.

    You may be pleased to know that city folks are just as freaked out by the idea of leaving something out in the open on a country road. Because, like, those people carry guns and knives and stuff. Heavy-duty locks won’t bother them, either; they’ll just shoot them off. Or drag the stuff away with the teams of oxen they’ve always got at the ready, waiting for the next townie sucker to come down the pike. 🙂

  3. Jessica

    Hi Julie,
    Thanks for the birthday wishes! Tomorrow he’s having his first “real” party with other kids. I’m very excited and hope he has fun. Of course, being only four, I’m sure he will, lol

  4. Julie Weathers

    Jessica,

    Thank you for your concern. It’s one of those things that just needs to get done. On the plus side, I don’t have to do weight training this week.

    Thanks about the friends. They are so very talented and I have been truly blessed to be a part of their stories’ progress.

    J

  5. Julie Weathers

    John,

    You might remember Beth Shope and Lisa Norman from Books and Writers (CIS)

    Anyway, whether you’re referring to CIS or not, this post does a great job capturing that feeling.

    You guessed it. I am constantly amazed at the talent and professionalism there. They and the Secret Brotherhood of Writers have kept me going when I thought it wasn’t worth the fight to write.

    “You may be pleased to know that city folks are just as freaked out by the idea of leaving something out in the open on a country road. Because, like, those people carry guns and knives and stuff. Heavy-duty locks won’t bother them, either; they’ll just shoot them off. Or drag the stuff away with the teams of oxen they’ve always got at the ready, waiting for the next townie sucker to come down the pike. :)”

    Stop watching Deliverance.

    When I was at the house I was alone most of the time so if I wanted to get up at 3:00 and go out walking in the arena, I did. Cram my nightgown in my Wranglers and slap on some shoes and a headset and just go walk. Or sit out on the back porch and drink tea. Sleep in a hammock if I felt like it. Most of the time I forgot to lock the doors and never thought about it.

    If I wanted to check a horse, I didn’t think anything of walking out the to the stalls in my nightgown. Probably not a good idea to be strolling around outside like that here.

    If I wanted to work all night on the house, I did and didn’t think a thing about leaving my wood and power tools out.

    Here I have to double check the car is locked and the apartment is locked and still worry about getting broken into. Some punks broke into my son’s pickup here and stole the stereo I gave him for his birthday out of his truck. They also stole his army jackets he had left in the truck and some of his army equipment.

    I’m just not a city girl and I don’t think I ever will be.

    I’ll stay here for a year to keep an eye on Will’s apartment, but after that I am heading to the hills.

  6. JES

    Stop watching Deliverance.

    As a friend would say, “Mphm.”

    Truthfully, I knew I’d probably passed the point of no return when I found myself actually falling back on the bed, laughing, while watching a Ron White concert on Comedy Central.

  7. laughingwolf

    both books sound like the kind i’d wanna give up bits of my life to read

    …was closer, i’d help, but am pretty useless, for now, after that fall, thursday….

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