Calling the Spirits of Words

Calling the Spirits of Words

By Natalie Bright


On my way to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in Oklahoma City, I always take exit 108 off of I-40 for a stop at the Cherokee Trading Post. Jewelry, pottery, clean bathrooms, original artwork, and did I mention jewelry! On this trip I purchased a colorful Native American figurine blowing a flute. The informational card reads: CALLING THE SPIRITS. 

This colorful flute player in a bright yellow and green costume, complete with spiked hair and dancing feet will be my inspiration. With a flute that is raised high in joyful song, he’ll hold an honorary place on my bookcase. Perfect for my office, since I’m deep into writing a MG historical in which one of my characters is a Comanche. I’m constantly calling on the spirits or the muse or whatever motivation I need to help me dig deeper into the research.


After I returned home, I carefully unwrapped the new treasure only to find the end of his flute was broken. It wasn’t about the money, less than $20 bucks, but I was sad. I think the clerk must have accidently snapped it off when she wrapped it in tissue and then newspaper and then taped the box. It was very nice of her to take such care, but I wonder if maybe she broke it before she wrapped it and that’s why such a cheap purchase was wrapped up in so many protective layers.

I found the glue, which of course was dried. Had to look for the pliers so I could open the glue. About the time it got to the tacky stage, our cat jumped into my lap, knocked my hand, and the broken piece came loose, sticking very nicely to my finger.

Broken Dreams

I am reminded of my writing. Some days it’s broken. Some days other people can crush your motivation without even meaning to. Some days you can’t write one word. Demands on our time, the heartbreaks of life, or our inner devil-muse tells us we’re sure to fail.

And then there are those other kinds of days. The music of our words soar! We find joy in writing again and we know that what we create is sheer magic. Someone says, “Yes, I’ll publish that”, a stranger comments on your blog, or one of your tweets gets a ReTweet. These are the days that feed a writer’s soul.

So for now, my little Shaman has an instrument that is held to his hand with tape. He’s patched, he’s doing fine, and he’s still playing.

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