Rachael Pruitt Guest Post
Dreaming the Dawn: Writing an Arthurian Novel
When I, a new author, say it’s “all about the reader” I mean that as the highest compliment I can offer to my fellow tribe of dreamers. Most writers are avid readers and this blog is dedicated to those of us who would rather curl up on a cozy sofa with a good book than skydive from a California cliff, surf the North Shore of Oahu, or kayak among the Andaman Islands. I salute us all--even those of us who like to skydive, surf, and kayak, as well as read.
If I have reached you, the reader, enough to make you care about the characters who dance across my pages, then I have done my job. I am often asked what inspires me and what made me take on the rather daunting task of writing an Arthurian novel. I’m happy to share some of my personal story in the hopes that my musings may support and encourage each one of you to honor your own dreams and go after them. We’ll create a richer world this way.
I believe we are all born with at least one unique passion and talent that we may choose to honor—or ignore. Whether you have the gift of turning a chunk of driftwood into an animal carving so marvelous it seems to be breathing, a knack for problem-solving equations that would have Einstein crossing his eyes, or the ability to whip up a delicious meal out of refrigerator-left-overs and cans of strange-sounding soup—your gift is unique and to be treasured.
I managed to ignore my passion for writing until I literally couldn’t silence it anymore. So I wrote The Dragon’s Harp. And—a warning to all of us who discover we like to “kayak” as well as read—there’s no going back once you begin! Not only do I have plans for at least seven more novels, but, once you discover your own passion and begin to act on it, you, too, will find yourself joyously transformed. You won’t want to stop—nor should you.
You will also want to hold fast to whatever—and whoever—inspires you. As we all know, the world can be a cynical place. Once I began to see that much of the bitterness, fear, and greed we encounter is literally a result of someone else’s own disillusionment, it made it easier to bear up against the “naysayers” and cynics who insisted I was a fool for continuing to write. I have also learned to share my private dreams and goals with only a very trusted few, until I am strong enough internally to “put them out into the world.” It is all too easy to destroy a caterpillar or a chrysalis—much harder to catch a butterfly.
In my case, my passion for the Arthurian legends—and for storytelling in general—comes to me from my mother and grandmother. Look for people among your friends and family who likewise inspire you—these are the folks you will want to confide in, for they will “have your back”.
One of my favorite family stories is about how my pregnant grandmother would walk alone into the jungles of India and recite Tennyson and Stevenson to the birds and wild animals in an overgrown clearing. An early proponent of prenatal influences in the era of the Titanic, Grandmother believed that this was the way to ensure that her unborn children would become poets. It worked! And the image of my petite, yet ferocious grandmother holding tigers and cobras at bay as she recited poetry to her unborn children has inspired me all my life.
Likewise, my own mother’s romantic spirit yearned for the ethereal beauty of Camelot. Beset by the cruelties of boarding school, as a child, my mother kept her creative spirit alive by a secret ritual. Every night in the dark, she would arrange her long hair to fan out around her head, hoping in her dreams, to float down to Camelot like fair Elaine. But, even as a child, my mother resisted martyrdom—in her version of Tennyson’s famous poem, Elaine rode off with Lancelot-- and to heck with Guinevere!
Although my Dragon’s Harp takes place in a much grittier world than Tennyson’s idyll, I believe both my mother and grandmother would approve the spirit of my rendition. Now, I like to imagine them, perched on a star and watching—and I give thanks for the inspiration they gave me.
I often liken writing—or any truly creative act-- to the joy I experienced as a little girl, catching summer fireflies at twilight on Grandmother’s Midwestern front lawn. I would hold them, safe and glowing in the glass jars I prepared, with breathing holes at the top and the dried grasses of their natural “home” on the bottom. I would study them as the night sky darkened around me, entranced by their beauty and the magic of their sudden lightening. Then, when it was full dark, I would let them go, free beneath the night stars, and chase them all over again, heady with the dizzy wonder of childhood.
What are your fireflies? Do find them, dear readers, if you have not yet begun to chase and catch them! I can’t wait to share in your excitement as you discover and honor your unique dreams. Please let me know what you find!
In the meantime, may the enchantment of this challenging yet glorious world of ours inspire and sustain you on your own creative journey to the stars!
ABOUT RACHEL PRUITT:
My name is Rachael Pruitt and I’m a writer, storyteller, and teacher with a lifelong fascination for Celtic mythology and the Arthurian legend.
My new novel, The Dragon’s Harp, tells the story of the coming of age of the famous Queen Gwenhwyfar (the Welsh spelling for Guinevere) in a dark and frightening time. Merlin is her Uncle and, although she is a tribal Celtic princess who possesses both power and magic, she is in great danger from both the human and supernatural realms.
Dragon’s Harp is just the beginning! I have plans for four more books about Gwenhwyfar and Merlin’s lives. The books are called Era of Dragons: The Lost Tales of Gwenhwyfar.
Check out Rachael Pruitt's Website: http://www.rachaelpruitt.com
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