by Ann Gimpel
I was in the beauty shop the other day and my hairdresser carted out lots of little plastic bowls for the various colors we streak my hair with. She chatted about mixing a little of this and a little of that and said she cooks the same way. Then she grinned and said she was probably a witch in a former life.
I can sure relate to that one! Not so much mixing hair color, but cooking. I rarely use recipes. Just sort of toss things in until it tastes right. It’s probably not accidental that Ceridwen and her cauldron show up in some of my books. Not that she was a witch, but she was the Celtic goddess Shakespeare probably used as his prototype for the witches in Macbeth hovering over their cauldron.
Back to cooking. Many years back, I baked a lot of bread and made pastries and pies. I still do, just not as much. Bread dough and pie crust are two items that are different every time you make them. I look for a certain consistency and manipulate the flour/water balance until I have what I need. In many ways, writing isn’t all that different.
I start with characters (my ingredients). They have to be fresh, the best I can obtain, just like when I cook. Then I mix them together in unique ways, add heat and tension—not too much, just enough—and voila! A novel emerges in much the same way I pulled bread or a soufflé from the oven. Thank goodness I can alter my books until they feel “right” to me. If I blew the timing on that soufflé, or overcooked the bread, there wasn’t much I could do to remedy the situation.
Creativity, whether in the kitchen, at the keyboard, or studying a grimoire for a handy spell, taps into right brain fluidity. That’s the side of the brain that does math and listens to/appreciates music. It’s also the side that allows writers to enter their fictional worlds and make their characters come alive. The linear, left brain function is what allows writers to edit and cooks to assimilate a recipe before they begin tinkering with it.
How about you? Where does your creativity lie? Is there something you yearn to do, but haven’t?
Here's a little from my soon to be released paranormal romance to show you how my imagination has been running.
Aislinn Lenear lost her anthropologist father high in the Bolivian Andes. Her mother, crazy with grief that muted her magic, was marched into a radioactive vortex by alien creatures and killed. Three years later, stripped of every illusion that ever comforted her, twenty-two year old Aislinn is one resilient, kickass woman with a take no prisoners attitude. In a world turned upside down, where virtually nothing familiar is left, she’s conscripted to fight the dark gods responsible for her father’s death. Battling the dark on her own terms, Aislinn walls herself off from anything that might make her feel again.
Fionn MacCumhaill, Celtic god of wisdom, protection, and divination has been laying low since the dark gods stormed Earth. He and his fellow Celts decided to wait them out. After all, three years is nothing compared to their long lives. On a clear winter day, Aislinn walks nto his life and suddenly all bets are off. Awed by her courage, he stakes his claim to her and to an Earth he's willing to fight for.
Aislinn’s not so easily convinced. Fionn’s one gorgeous man, but she has a world to save. Emotional entanglements will only get in her way. Letting a wolf into her life was hard. Letting love in may well prove impossible.
Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent. Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Several paranormal romance novellas are available in e-format. Three novels, Psyche’s Prophecy, Psyche’s Search, and Psyche's Promise are small press publications available in e-format and paperback. Look for two more urban fantasy novels coming this fall: Fortune’s Scion and Earth’s Requiem.
A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.
Learn more about Ann Gimpel on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.