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Monday, October 17, 2011

Magical Monday: Why I Write Fantasy—After All These Years, Finding the Most Important Reason

I deliberated a while finding a topic for today’s post. Nothing I considered appealed, and then the theme came from that very indecision.

I’m struggling with practically everything lately, while I assist my 85 year-old mother through the last of her life. She suffers from severe dementia, which has numerous complications ravaging her body. Last week, her doctor placed her under hospice care. As her only immediate family, it is difficult to keep enough vitality in myself to support, comfort, and enjoy her at this stage as I truly wish. My life has been turned upside down and quickly reduced to the bare minimum of what is essential and what is healing.

Learning what activities revitalize my spirit has been a process of trial and error. It’s much like times I’ve been both tired and hungry, standing in front of an open refrigerator door, too exhausted to imagine what I want to eat, requiring direct sensory input to make the decision. In the past weeks, desperate to strengthen my crumbling spirit, I’ve sampled all my usual pastimes and activities. Most gave me an ill feeling, like considering a distasteful food. The effort to determine what worked further drained my limited strength.

Then, I attempted writing new material on my current novel. Many folks advised I wouldn’t be able to concentrate, and it was difficult to begin. But, after a short while, my characters invited me to travel along with them as they rode dragons over mysterious lands and learned ancient secrets of their fantasy world. Chapter after chapter rolled smoothly off my fingers. My mind felt clean and rested, rather than cluttered and tired. My lungs relaxed and filled more fully. Magical.

As I analyzed the release my writing gave me, I considered how I might feel if my characters faced real-life dilemmas, with pain and suffering they had no special powers to circumvent. The stark parallel to real hardships would, for me, strip away the healing nature of my creative process. I need the larger-than-life expanse of fantasy. Stretching my imagination to create new worlds is an exercise that delivers a drug-like rush to my mind. Normally, I think of that as an addictive process, but now…it is purely healing.

Out of the hardest times, you come to know yourself better. I am grateful for that much.

(This is cross-posted at The Speculative Salon.)

~ ~ ~
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. She is the author of the novel, TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE, the first in a trilogy. Part two, TORTUGA TREASURE is contracted for release in January, 2012. Look for her first of an epic fantasy romance series, SEEKING A SCRIBE: ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS ONE, to be available early 2012.


Read my books; lose ten pounds! said...

good post. I appreciate it, I am going thru similar things.

Vicki Batman said...

Hi, Marsha. I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. Not an easy time. So I'm sending hugs your way.

When Handsome was diagnosed with cancer, all thoughts of writing disappeared. I was lost. So I did writing related things and set a deadline for when to start again. I think I improved.

I'm glad to hear your characters called you forth and you continued your journey.

Roseanne Dowell said...

I found I did some of my best writing when I went through something similar with my dad. I feel your pain. You and your mom are in my thoughts and prayers.

Lindsay said...

I've been able to write at times of exhaustion and stress, and experienced something similar to what you write about so eloquently. Brilliant post.

"the bare minimum of what is essential and what is healing" -- both are important.

Deborah H. Bateman said...

I am sorry that you are going through this tough time with your Mom. I lost my Mom two years ago, so I can sympathize with what you are going through. The only thing that really helped me was turning to God for comfort. Many times I would be by myself and be feeling the hurt and pain. I would turn on some Christian Music and could feel the presence of the Lord with me as though he had His arms around me. I pray that God will comfort you, keep you, and give you strength during this very difficult time in your life. Blessings, Deborah

J. D. Brown said...

Marsha, it's wonderful that you are able to write through all this. Writing was an emotional outlet for me growing up.

Stay strong. *hugs* and best wishes.

Kara Ashley Dey said...

I am so sorry Marsha. Watching our mothers slip away is probably one of the most painful things ever to endure. My mom passed a couple years ago after eleven years fighting cancer. Maybe those parts of your mother you may no longer see, those enchanting elements of her, are still out there riding those dragons up into the blazing sky and over the frothing seas. You take her there. Much love and hugs. Praying for you and your mom. -Kara (Ann)

Anonymous said...

Hello Marsha - perfect post for an imperfect time...but then even those lessons can be moving and perfect in their own way.
I'm so glad you've found a healing outlet. And, one you're very familiar with.

Christy McKee said...


At some point we all must go through what you are living with now. I've been there- my mother's seven year battle with cancer came with the greatest of highs and heart sinking lows. Like you, I escaped to my writing almost every day which reminded me that life goes on even when we're struggling in our darkest days.

My prayers and with you and your mother.

L'Aussie said...

Hi Marsha. My heart goes out to you. I know what it's like with an ailing parent but I've no experience with dementia. You sound exhausted. I had a large family to share the care, physical and emotional sharing of the load.

I'm so thrilled you found some solace in writing. Your suffering will no doubt translate to more feeling characters. I wish you all the best for activities to revitalise your at times flagging spirits. I hope you know your many blogging friends care and I'm so pleased you're sharing this journey with us.

Take care...

Denise <3

Marsha A. Moore said...

Thanks you all for your kind comments and words of encouragement.

Denise, it is tiring. My schedule is less predictable than usual for that very reason. But, the most important things are getting done, and I'm grateful for that much.