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Strawberry candles, fresh corn from the garden and seeking choices, not harmony — Sharon Hamilton

Strawberry candles, fresh corn from the garden and seeking choices, not harmony

I've been reading those little books again. None of my favorite shows are on TV these days and I've watched everything I want to that's streaming. I'm having a productive summer writing. My garden is doing well. This morning I harvested the first of my corn.

My mother used to talk about how in the midwest they'd say “knee high by the 4th of July” and I always think of that when I look at my corn. I just planted some new starts this weekend, so in California, it's a bit different. But the promise of “knee high” gives me hope that even though my garden isn't perfectly manicured, I'll have corn. And I do!

I bought a big strawberry candle at Mollie Stone's market in Palo Alto when I was there for the reunion party, then found it online and cheaper, of course. I enjoy that fleeting strawberry scent which is perfect for summertime daydreaming, or writing, or whatever. Candles and music are big for me, as is the ambience of place, so I can get into the rhythm of the story. I'm listening to Jim Wilson and Ludovico Einaudi almost non-stop.

I've said before that a story is like a patchwork quilt, made up of different colors and patterns, like the characters in the book and the past and emotions they bring to the story. If everything was “perfect” from the beginning, we'd soon lose interest. I do like to show some perfect things all throughout my books, but I want to show how close to a precipice the perfect, or order of my character's lives is. How easily it can fall away, be neglected, or ignored intentionally for other pressures.

So is it harmony we seek? I know my readers love the Happily Ever After, and I will deliver that every time without fail, or I can't call myself a romance writer. But worshiping the hero or heroine is worshiping the choices they ultimately make. This holds true whether we are talking about a good crime fiction, romantic suspense or inspirational romance. We celebrate the choices that are made, showing the change in the character from the beginning of the book. We show how he or she has learned something new.

I learn something new as an author with each book. I have my doubts sometimes at the beginning or in the middle (they call it the soggy middle for good reason), like I think everyone does. Of course, I keep those to myself, until the story “gels” for me, and that's when I feel the movement of my soul, pouring it out there for all to see, and hopefully enjoy. As a writer, I go through that change just like my characters do.

So creating art is a process, but it's also a practice. Loving is a practice. Marriage is a practice. Being a good friend is a practice. And writing a bestseller is definitely a practice we get better and better with each book we write. We turn our doubts, our chaos, our many parts of the story into a beautiful quilt of emotion and theme, just as we practice patience and allow all those chaotic parts to come inside us.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 13 comments
julie beasley - July 24, 2016

Another good post Sharon. I once read we live, we lust, we love, we long and we learn just like the books we read

Judy - July 24, 2016

How fun! Enjoy the corn. Fresh from the garden is so yummy. The candle may be available cheaper on line, but then you would have missed the pleasure in the shop, adding one more memory to your reunion weekend. Thanks for reminding me to enjoy the practice/process. 🙂

    Sharon Hamilton - July 24, 2016

    Thanks, Judy. I sometimes write these so I remind myself too! We all need it!

Gayle Parness - July 24, 2016

Thank you for the inspiration, Sharon! Your garden looks lovely. I've been struggling lately, but the path ahead is beginning to clear. It may turn out to be my favorite book yet. :0)

    Sharon Hamilton - July 24, 2016

    Not sure where my comment went, but just wanted to say if you've been struggling, then you are forced to make choices. Choices is how all the magic is created. So, you're on the right path! Thank you for being here today!

Tiffany Turner - July 24, 2016

You're so right about the corn. There is something so pleasing to see your stalks high with corn. And it tastes amazing. The fresh veggies always feed my creativity too. Candles are my bath main stay as well. It's nice to wind down after a day of writing. Currently on a train going home from Seattle. Sadly, I won't get a bath until tomorrow. But I can write in this mobile office and dream of my garden and bath at home. Thanks for reminding me how writers have to take care of themselves.

    Sharon Hamilton - July 24, 2016

    Indeed, Tiffany! Thank you! Oh, and I love trains! I'm going to write a romance on one some day. I like the idea of the TransCanada!

J.D. Hart - July 24, 2016

Beautiful post my princess! Your garden looks amazing. You tend it with much love and passion just like your stories.
Thank you for sharing. You are a tremendous inspiration.


    Sharon Hamilton - July 24, 2016

    Ahhh. Nice you think so. I know you fully understand the creation of magic, because you also do that every day. OXOXOX YA

Karen Henderson - July 27, 2016

your garden looks awesome. Ours looks horrible but hubby is getting better so hopefully we can get out some fall crops. Another great post that somehow I missed till today

    Sharon Hamilton - July 31, 2016

    You've been busy! Thanks, Karen. Always love seeing you here when you have the time. Love you!


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