The sweet memory of magic

In 2004, I wrote a YA trilogy over the course of six weeks. The trilogy retold a story I’d begun as a vampire-obsessed high school freshman.

I ignored the trilogy for a long time and for many reasons. I’m not a writer, I told myself. I just wrote some stuff because I was bored and broke in the middle of nowhere.

When my mom died in 2010, I remembered all the times she’d encouraged me to write professionally and hated myself for waving her off every single time. I started editing the first book in my trilogy not because I suddenly saw myself as a writer, but because it was important to me to do this one thing in my mom’s memory.

I edited the book as I edit my contracts, parsing the story down to its barest essence instead of letting it breathe as fully as it needed to. 78,000 words became 52,000 words, and those 52,000 words were released as The Monster’s Daughter.

Over the last eighteen months, I’ve tried dozens of strategies to force myself to edit its sequel. I’d written a trilogy, by damn, and I needed to publish a trilogy.

I told myself it was OK to pause editing the second book if I wrote a new, unrelated book. I wrote the new book and still balked at returning to the second book of my trilogy.

I released a non-fiction ebook while beginning work on another non-fiction project. A few weeks ago, I set aside the non-fiction book in progress to work on a new fiction project. Anything to avoid returning to my trilogy!

The deeper I delve into my new project, the harder it becomes to imagine returning to my trilogy. It’s not that I don’t love the trilogy or its protagonist, Ginny, who made otherwise excruciating loneliness tolerable. I do love the trilogy, and I love Ginny, most especially when I am lonely or aching.

I love the trilogy the way I love Edward Scissorhands, The Bridge to Terabithia or The Escape Club’s “I’ll Be There.” Once, these things were my everything. They occupied my mind, my heart and even my aspirations, both for what they were and for the layers of meaning I added to them. When things are deeply beloved, it’s hard to look at the past they belong to head-on and embrace that it’s the past. The moment is gone, the moment’s magic transformed to the sweet memory of magic.

As I wrote to my friend El, to whom I first confessed I was thinking of letting The Monsters’s Daughter stand alone:

I think I was afraid of letting [Ginny] go, but it’s impossible to let her go; she lives in me, now and forever.

Watching the words pour out of me for this new project just makes it so clear that I need to follow whatever voice is singing to me right now . . . not try to catch a tune playing miles away, now.

Ginny and The Monster’s Daughter were once my everything. Today I set them free, with a sigh and a butterfly kiss, as I turn my ears toward the music that plays for me now.

Bon voyage, Ginny. Bon voyage.

  1. August 14, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    “I think I was afraid of letting [Ginny] go, but it’s impossible to let her go; she lives in me, now and forever.” This is exactly what I was going to say to you … you’re not letting her go, she lives in you and in everyone who has come to know her.

    And those words that are pouring out of you right now? …. feel the vibration. Live it. Love it. ♥

    • August 19, 2012 at 6:38 am

      This beautiful comment was the last thing I read before falling asleep the evening you posted it. It heartened me so. I am thankful. ♥

  2. August 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Me, the non-writer, wants you, the writer found, to know what hearing your process gives to those of us still learning to play with our words. It helps to know there are no right ways to write and that there are no absolutes. Thank you for sharing your goodbye to Ginny.

    • August 19, 2012 at 6:40 am

      Part of me wonders how it took me so, so very long to reach this conclusion, but the fact it did serves as an excellent reminder that assessing these things and asking these questions day by day is important. I hope I heed what I’ve learned here, acting on instead of just understanding it on an intellectual level! 😉

      Thank you for sharing your goodbye to Ginny.
      Thank you so much for helping me share it, and feel a little more the goodness than the sadness.

  3. August 14, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    I love this, and that you were able to set her free just as she is. You know how her story goes, and that’s the most important thing. You’ve shared a part of her with us, and for that gift I thank you… Not to mention the gift of a book that both Megan and I could read, share, and cherish together. ❤

    • August 19, 2012 at 6:41 am

      Thank you so, so much, Christine, for reading the story, for sharing it with Megan, and for helping me breathe a sigh of relief with your words above. I am so grateful. ♥

  4. carol
    August 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    I often feel my writings are like children I have carried around inside of me (sometimes they kick alot!). Just like my kids I have to let them out into the world and then the world affects them and hopefully they affect the world. Sometimes the path my children take is not what I envisaged for them, the path veers widely from what i’d hoped! BUT I am proud of them and when people say “are they yours?” I can hold my head high and think yes,I had a part in making and moulding them……..well done for letting Ginny go.Sending best wishes and hoping you will soon catch hold one of those amazing thoughts in your head and give birth to another good idea xxx

    • August 19, 2012 at 9:39 am

      the path veers widely from what i’d hoped!
      This is always what it’s like for me! I’d planned one thing and they do another, but then I discover so much through what the end up doing. I love that. (I don’t love that WordPress ate my original comment to you, but c’est la vie, eh?!)

      Thank you for your well wishes, Carol. ♥

  5. August 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Perhaps she will come back to you and demand that you edit her story again. Perhaps not. I suspect that trusting yourself holds the key. For the moment you have released Ginny but who is to say when or whether you will next need to find her.

    • August 19, 2012 at 9:37 am

      Ba.D. was saying that I shouldn’t call this “goodbye” so much as “farewell.” Either way, it’s important for me to send her off now. Maybe it’ll be like that butterfly quote, where if you love someone you set them free, and if they love you, they’ll come back. I can’t say I’d be sad if that happened. 🙂

  6. August 15, 2012 at 6:38 am

    If writing the trilogy led you to this place you are in right now, then it was part of the process. Embrace where you are now, and let the magic of today lead you to the next place.

    • August 19, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Writing the trilogy kept me going when I felt so, so alone without internet or local friendship, so I will always be grateful for it.

      When I posted this, I felt so sad, because I felt like I’d regressed to the me of those evenings I spent typing the sequels instead of sleeping. That me hated to let this go. This me loves the writing adventure she’s on right now . . . and is grateful for her supportive friends. ♥

  7. August 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I completely understand! There may be a time when she comes back to you, but for now you have to follow where the creativity leads you. Good luck with your writing! 🙂

    • August 19, 2012 at 9:47 am

      Thank you, Andrea! I do think there’s a time she might come back to me, but it feels so, so wonderful to embrace that that time is not now. 😀

  8. John Erickson
    August 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    You did right by Ginny, back when you first started her on her way, and recently when you decided to let her be. Don’t be surprised if she shows up with new tales of new adventures someday. I have a feeling she may still have something to tell you. 😉

    • August 19, 2012 at 9:49 am

      You did right by Ginny, back when you first started her on her way, and recently when you decided to let her be.

      Thank you for this, John. This comment made me wonder if she might in fact be able to make an appearance in what I’m writing now. If it happens (and it could), it would be delightful to me. If not, perhaps I will return back to her in her own (new) hometown someday. ♥

  9. August 15, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Thank you Deb, you are one of my best and favorite teachers.

    • August 19, 2012 at 9:53 am

      And you, you have a way to always make my days THIS much brighter. Thank you, Valentine, with so much love.

  10. August 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    You have a way with words that touches our hearts and make us feel that we a part of your story. Beautiful. This words lingered in my thoughts, “Ginny and The Monster’s Daughter were once my everything. Today I set them free, with a sigh and a butterfly kiss, as I turn my ears toward the music that plays for me now.” It is hard to let go of something so wonderful. Have a blessed day!

  11. August 29, 2012 at 7:54 am

    choice of picture…is #classic. 🙂

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