I’m on the final edit of the novel I’m writing. In fact, I’m more than a third of the way through the final edit, and it’s only been a few weeks since I started reading once again from the beginning.
When I realized this, I was immensely surprised. The end has always seemed so far away. But now it’s not.
This novel came to me complete. And through all the struggles and slumps and bursts of creative energy and times of being blocked, I’ve reminded myself over and over: This novel came to me complete.
By magic. Through the power of goodness.
Back in 2005, I was living in Ayrshire, in Scotland, one of the most beautiful places in the world when the sun is shining. One evening, I was on a walk from my flat out to this 1400’s castle, called Portencross.
The evening sky was pink and lavender and soft blue. Colors in Scotland are vivid — so fresh and sharp and strong. The grass was green. The sand of the beach was terracotta and pink. The water of the Firth of Clyde was blue, blue, blue.
As I walked, an idea for an entire novel, complete with three separate story lines, flashed down to me from the sky. The impact of the inspiration was so powerful I gasped. I’d never in my life had an experience like this. Frantic to remember it all, I ran all the way back to my flat, telling the story out loud to myself and the sheep I passed so I wouldn’t forget it before I could write it down.
I’d never been an idea-woman before. My creativity had been an intermittent trickle. I’d been writing stories and novels and parts of novels for years, but plot ideas had been a scarce commodity. I’d feared as I finished one project that I wouldn’t have any more ideas, ever again.
So why did this story appear from the skies, as a gift? I have no idea. Why do we receive any unexpected, undeserved thing? Only because there must be goodness in the universe. But in the years that have followed that moment on the road to Portencross Castle, I’ve learned to shelter and nurture my gift story. When the writing was difficult, the plot convoluted, the feedback from my critique group negative, I’ve told myself: It came to me complete. I know the ending is in me, because it came to me complete. I know I’ll find my way with this certain character, because it came to me complete. As a magical gift.
My wonderful counselor, Jolene, set me on a path of painting to unblock internal logjams. One day, when I needed to be reminded that my novel was a magical gift, I painted this picture.
It hangs now near my desk, reminding me of the gift of this novel, coming down like a magic carpet out of the sky.