Sunday, June 13, 2010
Recharging your creativity
with Cate Masters
Summertime’s a conundrum for me. As much as I love writing, when the sky’s blue, flowers are blooming and hummingbirds humming outside my window, I want to be outside. Bringing the laptop outside is a temporary fix. The best remedy is to get away – no email, no Internet. Unplug and play. The reverse of our driven, connected lifestyle.
A few years ago, my family took a vacation to the tiny island of Key West, Florida. History’s ingrained in its streets. Strolling down Duval Street, I could almost imagine myself walking in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, John James Audubon, Tennessee Williams or U.S. Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Carter and Kennedy who’d stayed there. Visiting the Hemingway House left me with an odd sense of peeking inside the everyday life of the troubled genius who occupied it.
The biggest surprise came during a visit to the Keywest Shipwreck Museum. I had no idea its slogan, Where History Comes Alive, would be a virtual experience for me. While there, the history of the wreckers intrigued me so much, a story flashed in my head. What? You’ve never heard of a wrecker before? I hadn’t either until that visit, but the incredible tales of daring rescues by these men who salvaged shipwrecks, after first rescuing the ship’s passengers, inspired me to write Angels, Sinners and Madmen, a historical adventure novel to be released July 27 by Freya’s Bower: http://www.freyasbower.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11&products_id=246.
Her intense scrutiny made him uneasy.
“Did someone hurt you? So much you distrust every other who shares her gender?”
Her face, illuminated by the setting sun, appeared so innocent, so youthful. She could not possibly know of the terrible danger inherent in offering oneself to another. The intricacies of a relationship.
“Yes.” The lone word revealed more than he had ever shared with anyone else. He stood rigid, unwilling to display himself further through any action or language.
“Then I am truly sorry, Sam. To close yourself off in such a way you can never know happiness again. It makes me sad for you.”
His laugh was hollow. “You needn’t pity me.”
Her face hardened, her beautiful lips retreating to a thin, disapproving line. “No. You’re right. To choose such a life willingly is your own doing. You deserve no pity.”
This was the kind of woman he was used to. Whose tender caresses turned to merciless clawing, so deep his very heart was at peril. “Such harsh words from one who would have me believe—”
“I will not be so pathetic as to cling to false hope. To wait for you to sort out your feelings could take years.” She bowed her head. “I hold you to nothing, Sam. Forget yesterday, if you must.” She lifted her head to hold his gaze for a moment, perhaps waiting for him to open himself to her. In resignation, she turned and walked out.
Stunned, Sam stood there, looking at the closed door.
She knew him. She knew him completely, her sweet touch had divined his true self, had breathed into his mouth and captured the essence of his soul. Her openness, her honesty, entranced him more than her beauty.
Yet he still could not move, could not will himself to go after her, confess his feelings.
The sensation of being in Livvie’s arms could not be more opposite to his time with Helen. When Livvie looked at him, she exposed herself completely. Nothing else existed in the world. Her giving nature resulted from her feelings, and what she did not feel, she would not give. He knew it to be true.
If Livvie left Key West, he would likely never meet another near her qualities. Her inquisitive nature inspired him to share his thoughts, his world. He trusted her reaction to be true, not a response designed to please him. Her skills of comprehension and analysis exceeded those of many educated men. Were it not for the constraints of society, Livvie could have risen to great power, if she’d aspired to.
He had never encountered another girl like her. That was perhaps what frightened him most. Yet he still felt rooted where he stood, even as he saw, in his mind’s eye, her figure grow smaller and disappear altogether. One thought repeated in his head: I will never forget.
Even more surprising was learning how exciting I found it to literally bring history alive by placing fictional characters in real events and settings of the past.
Writing is a stimulating creative activity, but sometimes the brain needs downtime in order to function. So do yourself a favor this summer. Give yourself a much-needed break and get away. The alteration to your perspective will amaze you. Wiping clean the slate of your brain is like a mental reboot. You don’t need to travel as far as a tropical island. Simply step out your door, find a tree-lined path and let your mind wander where it will. You never know where it will lead.
Cate Masters writes fantasy/dark fantasy, historical, contemporary and speculative fiction, described by reviewers as “so compelling, I did not want to put it down,” “such romantic tales that really touch your soul,” “filled with action scenes which made it a riveting story,” and “the author weaves a great tale with a creative way of using words that makes the story refreshing to read.” The proud mom of three adult children, she currently lives in central Pennsylvania with her husband, Lily the dog, their dictator-like cat, Chairman Maiow, and dozens of characters inhabiting her imagination. Visit Cate online at www.catemasters.com, http://catemasters.blogspot.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.