Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I was ecstatic when I learned the topic of this month’s blog: Does nature play a part in your writing, or your process?

Oh yes, I couldn’t wait to shout! I immediately began playing with words, searching for just the right way to describe how a walk in the woods, simply breathing in the musty smell of earth, or watching the ferns and skunk cabbage beginning to poke through the dirt, can calm my overflowing mind. The same thing happens the moment the soles of my feet hit warm sand and the ocean stretches out before me. It’s as if a switch is turned inside me and pure joy courses through my veins.

And then the magic happens. My mind, relaxed, happy, and released from pressure, begins to create. Snippets of dialogue begin to write themselves in my head. A plot point is suddenly revealed. And a character’s back story takes on new life and meaning. Mother Nature does what I, in my hardest efforts cannot—She fires up my muse.

I was hoping that in this blog I might find the right words to convey what I love most about writing—describing Nature and hoping that my readers, too, will fall in love with the natural world and feel as much wonder as I have upon seeing a baby loggerhead turtle scurrying across the sand into the waves; or catching a glimpse of a right whale on the ocean’s surface, the most endangered large mammal in the world.

Then, too, there’s the beauty of my garden I need to include, my outright addiction to flowers—the colors, the intoxicating fragrances. How heaven to me is sitting outside at my patio table inhaling the scent of honeysuckle, birds nesting all around me, as I type away at a story on my laptop.

But I’ll have to think of just the right way to say it all at another time, when my brain is less tired, and when I have the time to give it my best---because Nature has just proved once again that just as we are in charge of our character’s lives, She is in charge of ours.

The baby granddaughter who isn’t supposed to come for a little while now, decided to show us yesterday that she’s just about ready. With a phone call just after dawn, all of my carefully thought out phrases and descriptions went right out the window as I raced to my daughter’s, and took over caring for my other three little granddaughters—5, 3 and 15 months. By last night, when I knew I really should get this blog started, because after a false alarm I realized today might be the day, I sat on the air mattress in her living room, my laptop on my lap, and...I was too exhausted.

And now, while the 15 month old is sleeping, and although I’d rather take a shower, here I am, once again amazed that just like we throw twists and turns into our own character’s lives, Mother Nature does the same to us. And just like our characters, we are startled, sometimes alarmed, but always transformed.
And in the end, there’s always some good material to file away!

PS. If this rambles, or if there are typos, please forgive me. In addition to a shower, I need some caffeine!

Maryann McFadden lives in NJ, although her heart is in the Lowcountry of SC. She was a freelance writer for ten years, then sold real estate, before returning to writing, her first love. You can find out more about her love of nature and wildlife in her novels, THE RICHEST SEASON and SO HAPPY TOGETHER. You can read more at www.maryannmcfadden.com


Donna Weaver said...

Loved your blog.... whether you think so or not, you found the perfect words. You have me longing for the warmth of the sand between my toes and the sweet smell of the ocean. Anxiously waiting the news of your new "grand." Blessings to you and your family!

Debra Hearne said...

Beautiful and perfect!

Laura Marcella said...

I love nature too and I really appreciate a good description of it that makes it seem like I'm there.

Congratulations on your new baby granddaughter!

Donna said...

Such a lovely post. When I first read the title, of course my mind got ahead of the words and was coming up with its own musings. Then I read on and you opened up my eyes to how Mother Nature controls everything. A truly wonderful post that has left me with a lot to ponder of my own. Thank you.
Donna @ http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com