Grits and Purls

Spinning yarns about the grit of life

I’ve done it again, gone and suspended my disbelief and lost myself in the pages of a J.K. Rowling novel. To prepare for the final movie in the Harry Potter saga, my husband and I recently watched the penultimate film in the series. In watching in it I realized how many details I had forgotten, how many wizards names were lost on me. So, I did what any reasonable person would do, I retrieved my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and started reading.

A dangerous thing to do because now I am lost among its pages. I am again sucked into the amazing world that Rowling has created. I marvel at her writing. Few novels captivate me like hers have. I never skipped school to read a book, even though I was a bookish kid, but I have taken vacation days from work to read HP novels the day after their release. No books have held my attention on a second read, like these—sucking me into their world so completely. Even when I am trying to read for craft, I forget my goal, and end up reading for the story.

When I do manage to put down the book, one of two things happen: I envision new scenarios and plots for the characters that Rowling has created, or I long to perfect my writing craft and produce a world like she has produced. Although I am a paid writer, I have always longed to be a real writer (which I am pretty sure means rejected, impoverished and misunderstood—not sure why I long for this so much) .

Long that is, until I really think about this kind of writing requires. It requires lots of solitude, time at the computer keyboard and at the notebook carefully plotting and planning and fact checking and rechecking. It’s hard work. Having the time to do this work would mean that I wouldn’t be doing something else, and I do love things I do. I love my work; I love learning and writing about science and interacting with all the people who I meet.

I wouldn’t trade the 24-7 job of Mom and Wife for anything. I have learned so much from my daughter, and I know she still has much to teach me. You wouldn’t believe how much I learned today about the monster with the big teeth and small arms that was headed toward the chocolate lake in the picture she drew. And, falling in love and embarking on this journey called marriage has been one of the most awesome things that has ever happened in my life. No, I wouldn’t trade any of that for all of the quality writing time in the world.

Eventually I’ll have plenty of time to write. Right now I’ll have to sneak my writing time as I can get it, snatching my inspiration during my commutes back and forth to work. Maybe I can even find a few hours here and there to write in my favorite coffee shop. Meanwhile I have a 4-year-old who’s willing to teach me how to unleash my imagination, a husband who appreciates a really good story, and a chance to read a few more pages of Deathly Hallows before bedtime tonight.

© 2011 Michele Arduengo

2 thoughts on “Escapism

  1. Ken says:

    Rowling is one of the best storytellers I’ve ever read. And don’t give up on the “real” writing just yet. You can still do it 🙂

  2. Michelle–I can really empathize with your desire to spend more time writing and less time reading the words of ‘real’ writers, but I do think that the more we read quality work, such as Rowling’s, the better we will be with our own words. And you’re right, marriage and a family take up a LOT of time, but it is time well-spent.
    Some day you will have the opportunity to write when you want to write, without worrying about your other duties/responsibilities….mind you, even at my age I’m still waiting for that time to present itself. But I live in hope!

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