Friday, January 18, 2008

Earth (or The Year of the Gnome)

So, as promised, I want to spend some time meditating on the element of Earth, what it means for me and why it is going to be what I focus on in 2008.
Earth. Solid. Practical. Living soil. Decay (transformation). Bacteria. Roots. Fungal networks. Caves. Stalagmites and tites. Secret passageways. Mountains. Rocks. Precious stones. Silver and Gold. Wood. The Forest. Tree giants. Ents. Seedlings. Vegetables. Worms. Mice. Moles. Bears. Hibernation. Dreams. Midnight. Full Moon. Snails. Home. Goddess figures. Winter. North. Burrows. Tombs. Temples. Bones. Statues. Crawling insects (beetles, ants, centipedes). Snakes. Hobbits. Gnomes.
Those are a few of the things that immediately come to mind when I think of Earth. I mentioned my book quartet a while back (at least I think I did), and although part of me is bursting to talk about all of my ideas (Adrien gets the brunt of my idea-overflow valve) I also feel the need to keep the story quiet. Afterall it is still germinating and feels tiny and fragile (even though it probably isn't).
The way I want to tell the story and the story outline have changed almost daily in the last two (no - almost three!!) years, since I first got the idea to write something. At first it was going to be an eight-volume monster, with each book being about a different pagan holiday (though not necessarily overtly) but I eventually let go of that plan, (though it still rears up now and then in different guises). I have settled fairly firmly on the notion of four books, each one associated with a different season/element. The first book would be the Earth book, and would take place in winter. That is one of the big reasons that I am loving the Earth theme right now, since I really want to get this literary project going and the place I have assigned myself to start is Earth.
Earth seems to be the best place to start, if only for the fact that it is the most pragmatic of all the elements and lends itself most to hard work. The problem is that I am an airy-faerie aquarius (for what it's worth) and so I am more of a planner than a do-er. I love to plan. I am an expert planner. When I was little I spent way more time planning games and adventures for my dolls, designing their homes and towns and the landscapes where they lived than I ever did actually playing with them. Well, that was playing, in a manner of speaking. Planning is best friends with imagination, or so I like to think. Which means that I have been kind of trapped in the planning stage since this whole wild idea struck me and have been fairly happy there. It is a natural place for me to be. Which is not to say I haven't written anything, I have written quite a bit actually. A lot of what I have written (over and over) are idea-maps or just outlines/notes on story ideas. I have taken a few stabs at writing the books, but so far none of it is keep-able... especially since I know nothing about writing (ie the early efforts are pretty bad, and I need a lot more practice) and since the storyline has transmorgified so many times. But if I ever want this set of books to materialize, and I know that I do, then I have to get started. The longer I hang out in limbo planning it, the bigger and scarier it becomes in my head. So 2008, being the year of the Earth Rat, and being for me The Year of the Gnome, will be the year I finally get the project out of my head and into the physical realm. Images: Tree with roots by Don Tremain (Getty); Forest path at night by Photodisc (Getty - ok the photographer's name is obviously not Photodisc.. I wish Getty would give you their actual name instead of the company that owns their stuff); Ta Prohm Temple in Angkor Wat Cambodia by Angelo Cavalli (Getty); Snowy forest in Finland by Fred Bjorksten (Getty); Thumbalina and Mouse in winter forest house by Wayne Anderson (Bridgeman Art Library).

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