Most writers have various little rituals and incantations we perform in order awaken the Muse. Most of us also find that, however we may try, that crazy thing that we call inspiration, that deep inhalation of fresh, creative air, finds us at the most unexpected times. Never did I imagine that, recovering from a total hip replacement surgery, an image would pop into my head, and I would know that it was the foundation of my next novel.
Here, then, is the beginning of what I have tentatively entitled “The Rocky Orchard:”
There was not all that much to see to her left, as the stone path leading from the porch door was steep enough that you had to stoop down just a tad to see the old dirt road at the path’s end. To her right sat the old shed, and the small, spring-fed lake her parents had dredged, and the wide expanse of field that abruptly ended at the edge of the thick woods. In the spring, if you listened very carefully, you could hear the little creek that lay just beyond the farthest edge of the field, at the very beginning of the trail into the woods. Full and ripe with the winter’s runoff, the freezing water tumbled over the rocks in rushing abandon. You could hear it, even from such a distance, before it began its languishing journey from bursting its muddy banks, to flowing in a steady and patient stream, to trickling in ever-shifting paths between the mossy stones, to its eventual disappearance in the flush of summer.
Where Mazie came from, it was a point of contention whether the proper way to say the word was “creek” or “crick.” Feelings ran strong about this. Weekend people, people who did not live there full-time – like Mazie’s family – generally said “creek;” locals said “crick.” But if you tried to say it like they did, to be nice when you were talking to them, they assumed you were making fun and immediately got quiet or mean. It made Mazie tired to think about.