Oh, Nuts! Where do I begin?

I had a blog post planned to kick off the New Year. It was going to be all about beginnings. I had several books lined up to take a look at how the authors began their stories, but then I had houseguests staying and the blog post kept being put off, and off, and off…

And then, bang in the middle of all the delicious chaos of houseguest-landia, I look out of my window and see this:

2016-01-05 08.27.38
The Grey Council convenes.

Pretty cool, right? Maybe they’re discussing emergency winter prep. Maybe they’re hatching a nefarious plan to break into my house and steal ALL the birdseed. Or maybe they’re just trying to keep their furry hindquarters warm, and the floor is made of lava, so they’ve devised a ‘death’ game where they have to shoot each other off the tree trunks with nut-powered magic and in the end there can BE ONLY ONE!

Or perhaps it was just a wonderful serendipitous moment that I just happened to capture. But it’s fun to imagine the stories behind the shot, and it sure entertained a bunch of us on Facebook that day.

And more: there, in that absolutely random photograph, is a beginning. Is it one I’ll ever use? Probably not; I don’t usually write about tiny, furry battle mages. But it was a little slice of life that got me thinking for a while and, really, that’s all that a beginning is. Something that sticks in your mind and keeps on growing until it’s so big and full of awesome that you just have to sit down and write and see where the story takes you.

That weird dream you had that you can’t quite forget? A beginning. The oddly shaped tree you pass every day on the way to work? A beginning. Those comments you overheard in the coffee shop that day? Bam! A beginning.

Because the true beginning isn’t the much-edited and highly polished first page of the novel you love. Trust me, that thing’s probably been rewritten a gajillion times to look that sleek and wonderful. No, the true beginning is that image or concept that makes you want to spend hours slaving over a keyboard in the first place. The primordial spark of life, the moment you stop in your tracks in the middle of the grocery store and go, “Oh!” while your heart beats just that little bit faster, and your eyes get that gleam that anyone who knows you will recognize as the ‘forget me for the next few months’ look.

So here’s to a new year and to many, many new beginnings. And if the well runs dry, you can always have my furry battle mages.

You’re welcome.

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