The clay


I was talking to a friend of mine who is an artist. I was complaining that I’m having a hard time writing the ending of this next book. She said an interesting thing, that she can’t control her creativity. That what comes out comes out, even if she has something else in mind.


Yes, being patient, waiting for the shape of the story to show itself takes more than I have in me sometimes. I have to put words down, though, or the shape doesn’t show itself. It’s as if the words, the scenes, the sequels, on the page are the clay. If I never put anything down, I never have anything to touch and mold into something else. It’s only after words are down that mind starts flashlighting the better shape for me––have him say this, have her do that, take that out. The scene changes, but it can only change when I have written it down. I must bear the imperfection until the muse refines it to something that works for the story. Christmas has me frazzled. All my creativity seems to be going into that. But maybe I have to do what I’m doing, errands and cooking and decorating and making or finding presents and having lunches with old friends, no time at the moment for the book. I guess that’s the clay of my life, the way it’s shaping it to its final form, to its one and only story.

4 responses to “The clay

  1. I’m glad your going to enjoy you Christmas and not stress over the ending of your book. I am just so thrilled that you are writing another book. I’m almost finished with Dark Angels – which is my favorite of the three so far – I can hardly wait. I feel like a child on Christmas Eve waiting for the next book.

  2. I have read your first book at least 10 times, I sign it everytime I read it. I have just finished, And Now Face To Face a few days ago for the second time. (I was unable to read for a few years.) I am savoring Dark Angels right now, for the second time, because I don’t know what to do when it ends. So I look up any images of the 18th century just to see… I saw a portait of a woman with a Black page..(can’t say African American because I doubt it.) I saw a drawing of a woman with patches. She had the horse and cariage on her forhead, just like you had Alice put on her Queen. I wanted to see a portrait with all those patches but havent found any. Maybe they painted over the patches when they went out of style. I love your writing, you really put me There. I think about your characters a lot. I learn great lessons about life because the particular quotes you choose from the Bible or poets like Donne, they really help me in my own life. I loved when you had Barbara’s Duncanon tell Barbara not to quote Donne to me, that we are part of every birth, every joy, every victory…I loved that so much. Because the Donne quote was really sad, but you turned it around and it was lovely, thank you for that. Oh, I didn’t have the internet when I first read your book way way back! I am so happy to know that you are working on another book, So happy! I am just a regular woman. I was unable to have children, just had my little dog.Oh and my husband of course! I know the pain know of losing your beloved pet. Does it ever end? You will find your ending. You started with a beautiful Bible quote, maybe your secret is there. I dont’ know. I just know that you have given me hours and hours of beautiful reading. There is no way to thank you enough, just keep on….if you can…

    Jean Marie Leavitt
    Blue Diamond, NV.

    (I have never written to a writer or a stranger before, so excuse my spelling and grammar..thanks)

  3. I have not read any of your books. I am venturing into a new realm with you but I am excited. I am trying to stretch out and try different types of writing instead of staying in my old traditional patterns.

    A close friend who greatly inspires me is taking your class today. I secretly harbor a desire to write. We are each working on our own book and keeping the other motivated to continue. She likes your writing and has encouraged me to try it. So I am.

  4. Bonnie Chumney

    You are such a great inspiration for me, Karleen. I have enjoyed the first two of your books so much (and so many times.) I was so disappointed to see your statement that you probably would not write any more American historicals, as I have such a passion for early American history. I guess I’ll just have to try to write about it, myself. I’ve carried scenes of a story in my head for over thirty years, but never considered that they need to be written down in order to mold them, like clay, into a novel.

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