Marta is a prolific writer and a noble soul whose acquaintance has blessed the writing of many a writers, including the yours truly. I, a moonlighting, conspiratorial writer, have often been inspired out of the non-creative phases by work of Ms. Moran. I know, people like Marta have some inherent catalytic features which can induce mere mortals to turn into creative intellectual powerhouses, if only they have a rare spark in them. I requested Marta to share her writing life which I am certain will induce many to write and also forewarn with the hard work which such a choice will impose on those who want to write believing it to be an easy profession. Writing is an art of hard work. It needs you to want to speak truth with such intensity and urgency that it far outbalances the chilling nights of loneliness. It isn't a fancy occupation, and not everyone gets multi-million dollar contracts, but still people go on writing. People, who have a heart with innocence which has a story to tell. Such noble hearts carry something in them which has to be told. Marta is one such noble heart and tell the stories which if not told is a loss to the world, and if not read, is a loss to the reader.
The Guest Post:
The Secret Life Of One Writer:
In many ways for me, writing is therapy. I can’t tell you when I started writing, for I don’t remember a time I didn’t write. I can tell you my first published work, my first interview, my first novel, how I write, and why I write, but when I began writing is a mystery.
My first published book was a collaboration with my grandmother, Helen Springer Moran, though she had died before I was born, I met her through her poetry, and her writing. The short children’s poems she wrote became the start of many of the verses that make up Wee Three: A Mother’s Love In Verse, though I expanded her verses and added additional ones. These short poems introduced me to the process of learning to think and write from the viewpoint of a child. Even those verses that belonged to a different era in our country’s history taught me how to immerse myself in the thought process, the joy, and mind of the child I used to be. Wee Three, went through three different additions, until I decided to split it into two books. Wee Three: A Mother’s Love In Verse and Innocence and Wonder.
Each review I receive, no matter whether it is a favorable review or a not so good review I am touched by, for someone took the time to share their feelings about my work and I learn something that will help me grow as a writer from them all.
Through my writing, my imagination can take flight. I discover new worlds and find the ability for a better understanding of people and animals.
I don’t usually choose a topic to write about, nor do I outline my characters as many do and those writers that do, do it well. My mind, doesn’t work that way, though I don’t think either is wrong, they are just different.
For example, when I wrote The Between Times, the story began with the world I saw forming in my mind after reading many current day news articles. As a result, a dark world populated with what might be, should all of these events I had been hearing and reading about grew large in my mind until one morning as I sat in the pre-dawn air, enjoying the view of the forest behind our house, and the quiet of the morning, the story took root.
From there it floated in and out of my brain, gathering a life of its own, until a few days later during the wee hours of the morning it took flight on paper, or should I say on my laptop. Jewell, Ben, Carlos, and Jamie took over, I was only the conduit for them to tell of their lives and show us their world. A world that had been built upon the seeds of choices and beliefs in today’s society. After the first draft of the story was written, I researched those parts of it that I didn’t know to be true, (i.e.) are there, in fact, enormous caverns and caves under and around Chicago? Yes, I know there will be those who will (and perhaps rightly so) question the fact that my research was done after the story was written. But, please try to understand, I believe I was only the conduit for their story. I did, however, discover through my research that there are caverns/caves in/under, and around Chicago. Did I read that somewhere before I wrote the story? When living in Chicago, did I hear about it? Possibly, I don’t know the answer to that question, but Jamie and Ben knew the answer to it, they knew about the caves and caverns under Chicago.
As I said, I write a bit differently than many. One day I might be writing children’s poetry and the next I will be deep into the mind of Dinky, my rescue horse, or a paranormal world. I might write a poem about two trees whose love for one another caused them to wrap their branches around each other and grow from two tiny saplings into one tree. Standing together entwined for a hundred years and more.
Speaking of Dinky’s book, some have asked how one gets into the mind of a horse? I honestly cannot tell you how I wrote first person horse only that when I was typing the story, it felt as if I were Dinky, living and remembering it. As I mentioned earlier in this article, when I write I am a conduit for the spirit of the tale that is being told. It is after the first draft that I will add some pertinent fact or facts to it that might be deemed necessary to help the reader understand.
I watch people, animals, plants, trees, the way the clouds move, and snow falls. All of it stirs in my mind and becomes a character, a line from a poem, a story, or a novel. A puddle in front of me, a bird flying overhead, a bug crawling up the fence post, my horse standing in the middle of the field quietly looking off into the forest behind the fence, and the movement of life builds in my mind until the time comes when I can stand it no longer, and I must put it on paper.
Dinky: The Nurse Mare’s Foal took two years and about seven rewrites before the story became a book. Before, I could tell Dinky’s story, I had to understand his early days. I had to know what it felt like to be ripped from your mother and shuffled, from place to place filled with fear. In order to do this, I had to write a great deal of his mother’s story first and understand how his mother felt, what she saw and how she lived. (I hope to have Dinky’s mother’s book finished sometime this year.) After the first draft of Dinky: The Nurse Mare’s Foal, I was lucky to have a brilliant author and professor look at the first three chapters and give me some much needed advice. He told me to read a variety of books, among them Jack London’s, Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White, to name a few. It helped me to have a better insight into writing from the perspective of an animal.
Presently, I’m working on multiple books that are in various stages of completion. It is the story that screams the loudest that gets my attention. Yes, I actually mean that, for they swim in the proverbial, primordial soup, waiting and building in my head until they shout I am ready.
This year, besides Dinky’s mother’s story, I plan on finishing the prequel to The Between Times, (Darkness Descends) (which unlike many of my books I have been researching for two years, for the beginning of the book is based on an actual coup that was planned by a group of millionaires in nineteen hundred and thirty three.) That small part of the book is based on true events, the balance of the novel will be based on current events, in order to build the world that became The Between Times. However, Rebecca, Ben, and Jamie, and the lives they led are swimming in that primeval broth in my mind as we speak, begging me to get on with it. Still some things must wait for all the pieces to fall into place before the story can be told.
One could ask how I ever manage to finish a book if I am writing so many simultaneously. Well, when I reach a certain point in the tale, I stop working on all other books. It is then that I focus my time and energy on that one book.
Writers begin in many ways, each has their own method, and not one of them are wrong, just different.
For me, all of my poems, stories, and novels are built upon a line, a thought, a world, or a vision, something that has been whirling around in my mind until it finally begins screeching at me. I’ve been known to stop on the side of the road and write down either whole poems or bits of stories when they shriek too loudly for me to ignore them. In the book I co-wrote with Saket Suryesh, A Walk Through Nature, the poem The Yeti Screams In Pure Delight, was written on the side of the road, for it was one such poem that would not wait.
I am never without pen and paper and carry at least one small journal with me at all times. Jotting down the emotions that I feel when I look at the beauty of life, or see a scene unfold in front of me. In my head, I am always writing. I begin each day writing in my journal, during the day at work if a line or a verse comes to mind I will write it in my journal. Sometimes I will write entire scenes and once nearly 2500 words flowed out of me for a new novel I am now in the process of writing. I don’t have a particular time of the day I spend writing, this depends on the muse, whether I am at work or at home, and what life is throwing at me at the time. But, I do usually sit down and write at least one hour a day, every day. What I write that day may not be worth reading, but by writing each day I keep in the groove so to speak. If possible I usually write in the morning after I feed the horses, cats, and bird. I find my mind is less crowded with the events of the day in the wee hours of the morning.
There isn’t a day that I am not reading something, each book teaches me how to be a better writer while transporting me into other worlds.
All of life is what sets the backdrop for my work. I don’t have any particular rituals, unless you call opening myself up to the world and sitting down and writing each day a ritual. I am extremely lucky that my husband is so supportive of my writing, even taking on more of the household chores when I am nearing completion on a book so that I don’t have to leave my muse and hope I can regain it later. There is one other thing I suppose one could call a ritual, is when a story isn’t flowing I put it down for a while. I might paint, take pictures, make video’s, listen to music, or meditate, knowing that, at some point, the story will flow again, when the time for it is ripe.
If I make it sound easy it isn’t, it requires enormous amounts of time, energy, care, and yes a skilled editor.