It always surprises me, how often I will simply fall into a piece of writing. How my creative self leads me without my even being conscious of it most times.
At the moment I am winding down physically and relaxing more. Partly this is due to impending Christmas celebrations, and also because due to a rather annoying injury I sustained at a trampoline park while bouncing with my children, I have very little choice but to take it a bit more easy until I am healed. Yet while my body is chilling and doing little of anything strenuous, my brain is working overtime and coming up with far too many ideas, more than I can realistically keep focused on. Instead, I am doing my usual of punching notes and ideas into my notepads and ‘phone, and apparently using my free time to write about writing, rather than just, you know, writing!
Our family does not do Elf on a Shelf. However, we have, for many years, had a small and amiable elf come around our house from the start of December to leave chocolate coins in hidden places, along with rhyming clues for my children to find them. It has become quite an elaborate ruse over the years and “Merry the Elf” has quite a back-story. He even has a favourite book which he talks about with the children sometimes. This year he got himself an Elfpad and an Elfmail. The children send him messages every day and he replies. Also this year he sent them a chapter of his much talked-about favourite book, and they absolutely loved it. They asked for more!
And so, it would appear, that despite the many writing projects and ideas that are currently buzzing around in my head and clamouring for my attention, I am now writing an elvish fantasy for my children, sending each chapter via email every evening for them to read each morning. It is a genre I have never approached before and in which I feel rather out of my depth.
It is wonderful! I have no plan. I didn’t even sketch out a basic idea before I jumped in head first and started telling the tale, and yet even if it ends up being the roughest, messiest, most random piece of work, it will also be one of my most cherished. It is something I am doing solely for my children. I am sharing my creative self with them, and pouring my love and ideas and joy of writing into every hurriedly-typed chapter, (which I also have to do rather sneakily in snatched moments, so they do not accidentally see what I am writing!)
Perhaps I will edit it eventually, put it together as some sort of book. Maybe I can get it “published” in some manner just for them. I’m certain that they know it is me who is writing it, they are both plenty old enough not to believe in riddle-writing, chocolate-bearing elves any more. Yet we keep up the pretence without fully acknowledging the truth, immersing ourselves completely in the joy of the moment. This bond that we share, their thirst to read the story that I have created just for them and my desire to create it, makes it feel like maybe, just maybe, there really is such a thing as magic.