In the midst of this long, ongoing season of deep stress and exhaustion, I keep being amazed by the wonderfulness of God. What I love is when he provides those lovely, unexpected moments that make me laugh outright, or tear up with sudden beauty and gratitude, or just plain feel like hugging the world.
So often he sends those moments through my family.
One of the hardest pieces of the past very hard month has been lack of almost any time to write. This after the first couple months of the year when I felt like I'd dived back into some creative work with more zest and vitality than I'd felt in years. The novel I was writing -- yes, I just used the word novel -- was almost compelling me to the computer every late night and early morning, begging to be written even in tiny snatches. I loved every scrap of the time I got, even as I began to realize the writing time tunnel was narrowing to an almost close again. For the past few weeks, any writing time I can squeeze has been of the writing anything quickly for pay variety since I'm busy trying to fight wolfish creditors (where are Taran and the sword Dyrnwyn when you need them?) and to help keep food on the table.
Frankly, I miss my characters. I miss them so much it almost aches. But there's nothing I can do about it at the moment beyond keep missing them, and keep mulling their story in the late night snatches when I can't sleep.
This morning, the sweet girl was talking to me about one of her own stories. Yes, she's a story-teller and writer too, which I love. She was explaining something to me about one of her characters, who is eighteen, but not quite an adult, she explained earnestly, because in this world, you didn't really come of age until you were twenty. My tired brain thought that sounded familiar. And then she said, wonderfully casually, "You know, kind of like Serenity..."
Serenity is one of my characters. She is a princess, set to inherit a throne she is not quite ready for. Her wise mother is the acting regent; her beloved father has been missing for years. She's 19, on the cusp of 20, the age at which she will be considered old enough to become queen. She's trying to become ready for her royal responsibilities in the face of an imminent war. Circumstances have forced her to have to choose a suitor from the very people they most fear.
And she's real. Not just real to me. Real enough for my lovely nine year old, who has heard more of the actual written story than anyone else in the world, to mention her name so casually that it took me a few seconds to realize what she'd done. Real enough for my daughter to use her story as a frame of reference for her own creative story. Real enough that my daughter keeps encouraging me to write again because she wants to find out what happens to Serenity and to Winifred and Garron and to all of the peoples of Radmost and Charis.
I'm not sure there's a better gift someone can give a writer than to care about the story they're trying to tell, and to love their characters. What a great gift that was to me today.