October 23, 2011

Why Writing, of All Things?

Three days ago was the National Day on Writing. I'm not entirely sure which nation the national bit referred to, but I decided to participate via Twitter by telling everyone in 140 characters or less why I write. The result:

Because stopping is akin to suffocation, and continuation is my truest expression of joy. #whyiwrite

Now, since 140 characters to describe a lifelong obsession (or passion, whichever implied level of sanity you prefer) leaves very little room for elaboration and I do, after all, have this lovely little blog, I thought I'd put this week's post to good use. :D

About a year ago, I received a tip saying that, if I really wanted to write things that mattered to me, I had to know why I was doing this crazy thing called writing. I pondered that, thinking about what it was about the call to create with words that my heart responded to so readily.

About a week later, I witnessed a conversation between a friend and her friend that amounted to little more than a war with words. Everything they said to each other was designed to hurt, to pierce, to destroy. Being a writer, I love language, using it effectively and with style, bringing new meaning and new perspectives to others. When someone uses a phrase unfamiliar to me; it excites me. When someone places words in an order that makes them sing; it thrills me. Words have such a power for good, because they not only create, but invite the audience to create with them. They are healers, encouragers, inspiration and innovation, full of breath and endless possibilities. When I heard the war, I heard a symphony used for genocide. The tools of life bent on murder. Reeling in the aftermath, I tried to focus my thoughts and emotions, tried to say what I wanted to scream, and ended up writing four paragraphs of poetic prose (poetic voice in the form of prose).

Then I realized that what I had written described why it is that I write:

October 10, 2011

Nøkken, Stromkarlen, Fossegim, Oh My!

Five or so years ago, I remember reading about various mythological water monsters and coming across one mentioned in passing called a "Neck". No joke. The name struck me as odd, and the book I was reading had infuriatingly little information on the creature, so it awoke my curiosity. I would like to say that I promptly researched everything on Necks and became and expert, but I hadn't the slightest idea how to search for information on it, not only for the very obvious coincidence of its name, but also because I didn't know where these creatures were from. So, I kept the fact of their existence in my head as a quirky bit of knowledge that I could show off to impress people (or make them go away, depending on the people) and did nothing more with it. When I came up with the idea of this series, my mind nearly immediately turned back to the mysterious Necks and I knew that I had to talk about them first.

Oh dear. I'm giggling every time I write the word "Necks". Please bear with me; I find a better name very soon, I promise.

Between now and that first encounter, I have purchased a really, really big book called The Dictionary of Mythology. Everything I have looked for in it I have found, no matter how obscure. So, when I started researching Necks, I went straight to that book, moseyed on over to the "N" section, held my breath, went a bit too far in both directions, and then finally found my water monster. And I quote: