Daddy's Christmas Angel

Friday, August 29, 2014

Simple Events Inspire the Writer and the Artist

"Dragonfly" (detail) - acrylic ©Mary Montague Sikes
Several years ago, when we arrived at the condo in Hilton Head, South Carolina where we spend a week each year, I heard sounds of bumping and buzzing coming from the deck outside. When I went to check on the commotion, I discovered a half-dozen or more dragonflies circling and colliding with the sliding glass door. I filed the happening away for future reference.

That's what writers and artists do. We see the world in a different way. Simple events that others fail to notice are important happenings for us. We start thinking, "what if," and the imagination begins an amazing journey. The sounds of the dragonflies became part of the book I am now writing. The dragonfly image is used in several paintings I have already completed.

Dragonflies are symbolic and hold special meaning for me. In the author's note at the beginning of my novel, Night Watch, I write that the dragonfly is a symbol of change and new beginnings. I also write that to some Native Americans, this beautiful insect of reflected and  refracted light  represents souls of the dead. In my latest work, which I am now calling Evening of the Dragonfly, I use this symbolism in an important scene derived from the little event in Hilton Head.

Since that first encounter with the dragonflies, I have become more aware of the beautiful creatures. I have purchased glittering ornaments, glass decorations, necklaces, pins, and more. The heroine in my book may in some way become a collector of dragonflies. I'm not sure yet, but you know how characters take over your book.
"Dragonfly" (detail) - pastel ©Mary Montague Sikes

What about you? Do real life scenes grab you and not let go until years down the road you have to write about


Amy M. Bennett said...

Definitely! The most telling details in my books are the simplest ones--a home-cooked meal, a photograph, a pair of earrings. The simple details anchor the reader in the writer's world because they are usually things we have in common.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Do real-life movie scenes count?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti - certainly I see things differently now I blog - and things I read, or look at or think about usually get translated into blogging mode ... I'm sure I'd do the same if I was an artist, or an author ...

Love the dragonflies .. so so cheery .. Hilary

Helen Macie Osterman said...

I spent forty-five years of my working life as a nurse. My medical background sneaks into all my books, whether or not I realize it.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Amy, thank you for your insights on this subject!

Alex, they do. Anything you discover and see in your own way can become an important part of your book.

Hilary, you are a wonder at interpreting things in your own special way! Glad you like the dragonflies.

Helen, that's a great background to have for writing! Thanks for visiting.

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

Since the accidental death of my grandson, Pete, in 2012, dragon flies have become a symbol of communication with his spirit to me. I, too, collect pins, shirts, anything with a dragonfly on it and address it in my own book about his death. Yes, I do see symbolism in many, many things and use them as a writer. I will definitely read your books.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Jackie, thank you for visiting. I am sorry about your grandson and believe in symbols of communication.