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INSPIRATION & THE ARTIST’S WAY: How “Dragon’s Harp” was Born

As many of you already know, I am delighted to announce the publication of my first novel.  It is a work of Arthurian historical fantasy, first in a 5 book series: Era of Dragons: The Lost Tales of Gwenhwyfar. This first book, The Dragon’s Harp, is set in northern Wales during the 5th century CE and follows the coming of age of the young Gwenhwyfar.  Merlin appears in the third chapter and will remain through the series. He is, after all, Gwenhwyfar’s Uncle!  

Dragon’s Harp is rooted deep into the soil of my research of Welsh mythology and what little is known about Welsh history of the time. Druids, priestesses, dark forces (both human and unseen) abound.  There is also a very special dragon, Cymry, whom I suspect many of you will come to love as much as I have.  I also assure those of you who care about history that, much as I love mythology and fantasy, the world I have created for Gwen also reflects the historical reality of a very dangerous and bloody time period.  My book is written with adult and mature teen readers in mind, it is not a book for children.  Please feel free to enjoy the sample chapters, testimonials, & reader reviews I have included here for you.

 

THIS WEEK’S WONDERFUL REVIEWS, GIVEAWAYS & INTERVIEWS: SEE EVENTS PAGE FOR MORE 

1) Interview & eBook giveaway at Unabridged Chick April 18 Thanks to Audra: unabridged-expression.blogspot.com/2012/04/interv…

2)  April 18 Thanks to  Kimberley for your wonderful review at “A Novel Affair”  http://www.a-novel-affair.com/2012/04/review-dragons-harp-by-rachael-pruitt.html

 3) Thanks to Darkiss for their double review: a male & female reviewer look at “DRAGON’S HARP”: Darkiss Reviews: APRIL 16  http://www.darkissreads.com/2012/04/dragons-harp-by-rachael-pruitt.html

4) April 14: Heartfelt Thanks to “Let Them Read Books” : http://letthemreadbooks.blogspot.com/2012/04/blog-tour-review-giveaway-dragons-harp.html

 
 

         

                                  INSPIRATION & THE ARTIST’S WAY

I’m often asked where–and how–I find my inspiration to write.  Today my focus is to explore the answer to this question. However, as I respond with my own “life adventures”–I’d like each of you to take this journey with me.  As I describe my “process”, apply it to your own life. Whether you are a writer, an artist, a schoolteacher,  a grocery clerk, a cab driver, or joyfully rich and self-employed–all of us need to be inspired.  More importantly, we all need to learn how to create inspiration within ourselves–especially on those days when the computer breaks down, your preschooler’s coming down with some very nasty bug, & you and your significant other are deciding whether to pay for the car or the mortgage–because you don’t have enough money for both.

That’s when you really need inspiration–and trust me, the same inspiration that will get you through a day like the one I just described, will help you finish a novel, fly a plane, or drive a dog sled in the Itidarod-whatever floats your boat.

INSPIRATIONAL PRINCIPLE # 1

We are the hero of our own story.   -Mary McCarthy

We are taught in this culture to put others first. This is especially true of women, but men, too, have been trained to put what they want aside as somehow unimportant & just “suck it up”.  If you truly want to access your own inspirational power, ladies & gentleman–you have to learn to honor yourself–and your own, often very private, dreams.

This doesn’t mean you’ve got to quit your job & run wild through the streets. It does mean that you need to uncover what you truly want to do–and this often isn’t as easy as it sounds.  The first step is to spend time “remembering”–what did you most love to do as a kid?  Often these childhood dreams will clue you in to where your true passions lie–and there’s nothing wrong with taking those “old” dreams out now & then, in the privacy of your own heart, dusting them off again–exploring “why” they called to you…did you want to be an astronaut, a football hero, an artist…?

Then act on what you uncover–and this step is crucial. Your action can be a very small step, but you will know you are taking a step in the right direction by the gentle thrill you feel inside–as if your body & soul were saying “Yes!! It’s about time!”

Small steps can be: taking a course in astronomy at your local community college, buying a set of water colors, hiring a babysitter one afternoon or evening a week so you can get just a few hours of free time to relax & simply “be”–it is in these moments & experiences that your inspirational soul will begin to come awake–& alive!

INSPIRATIONAL PRINCIPLE #2

“If one is a greyhound, why try to look like a Pekingese? ”   –Dame Edith Sitwell

This second step is another one that our culture frowns on–and it can be pretty tough to “pull off”, especially if it involves those close to us.  However, it’s crucial to unfettered inspiration. You must “lose the shame” . Guilt & shame are huge blocks to creative inspiration and personal happiness–they are also insidious.  If you find yourself 1) feeling guilty about taking any of the small steps I mentioned above and/or 2) if someone–either a family member, friend–or even a parental “ghost voice” –starts telling you you’re being 1) selfish 2) unsupportive of their needs TUNE THIS OUT!  (Unless, that is, you really have absconded with the family silver & are living the life of Riley on a Carribean island with a nonextradition policy–then, absolutely–you should feel guilty & ashamed of yourself! Otherwise ignore the complaints.)

Often even taking small steps to explore your heart’s passions may create a change in you deep enough that the people close to you get “edgy”.  As long as you know, in your heart of hearts, that you are balancing your responsibilities to others  with your newfound sense of yourself–and your new inspiration to explore what you most love–then: “TUNE IT OUT”.  And if you need “back-up”, I’ve found these 3 books essential:  The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, Your Heart’s Desire by Sonia Choquette, and–especially for women–Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort & Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

INSPIRATIONAL PRINCIPLE #3

Any little bit of experimenting in self-nurturance is very frightening for most of us. -Julia Cameron

Now that you have begun to explore the areas that truly inspire you–and are learning to screen out the “naysayers” who try to make you feel guilty because you are beginning to chip away at uncovering–and beginning to live–your private dreams:  We turn to principal #3:  You must “Stick to Your Guns”. Perserverence & stamina for the long haul are your keys to inspirational principle #3.  And trust me, it is a whole lot easier to want to simply “fuggetaboutit” (I’ve definitely been living in Jersey for too long :).

Remember the day I described above–oh yeah–trust me, I’ve had them & still do. The trick is to not give in–even when everything’s falling apart around you.  Hold tight to what you do want to have happen–and don’t focus on what’s going wrong–or anticipate all the dreadful awful things that could happen..because all that will do is truly make it worse!

As many visionary leaders today continue to stress, we do have control over our attitudes. And yes, attitudes do make a big difference. Bob Marley once called worry, “prayers to the devil”.  Although I may not put it that strongly (I’m human & I do still catch myself worrying at times :)–I prefer Michael Beckwith’s approach. When Beckwith says, “The Answer is You”, he’s simply stating a profound truth–we’ve got control–we do not need to perceive ourselves as powerless victims.  We can take the steps necessary to create a healing & enjoyable life.

It ain’t always easy, but it can be done–trust me.  It’s how I got from working 3 jobs, going to school, & still living on Top Ramen &  chutzpah to writing & publishing my first novel–and receiving 4 & 5 star reviews.

INSPIRATIONAL PRINCIPLE #4

“God is in the details.” –Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe

Here I will be short & sweet–since a lot of you–as old and new fans and friends–have asked me for suggestions on the craft of writing itself and how to get started at it. Not only will I be blogging about writing tips next month–but I’ve just started my own Writing Coaching Business: DRAGON’S EYE CREATIVE WRITING SERVICES.  Whoopie!!!

Now, however, since my focus is on inspiration in general–let’s just close by saying this: Whatever you do wish to pursue  as you explore your individual dream, you will eventually want to get training in it. Unless, that is, you truly are content to keep whatever your specific inspiration is “simple” and private–and, this, of course,  is your call all the way.

However, for most of us: whether it’s lessons in whittling from a master carver to a PhD in Aerodynamics, you will want to seek training in order to “grow your dream” more fully–you cannot do it all yourself!  Nor should you: if you want to be taken seriously as an artist, a writer, a pilot, a therapist, or a web-developer–you’ve gotta pursue excellence.

But that’s a whole ‘nother story 🙂 And for now, let me leave you with these two final quotes from Sarah Ban Breathnach’s wonderful Daybook of Comfort & Joy

The well of Providence is deep. It’s the buckets we bring to it that are small.  -Mary Webb

 

Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about…Say yes, quickly, if you know, if you’ve known it from before the beginning of the universe.   -Jalai ud-Din Rumi

 

                                                                  And may the Force be with Us All 🙂

 

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