The Magic of Betwixt

Enchantment lingers in transitional periods, those fleeting moments when time hangs suspended before hurtling forward into definitive change.  I’ve always been fascinated and inspired by those passages.  Not sure what I mean? Here are some of my favorites:

The first tentative rays of dawn.
The transition between seasons.
The arrival of a storm front.
The sliver of time between 11:59 and midnight.
New Year’s Eve at midnight.
The awe-inspiring cusp of a century. Remember how you felt on New Year’s Eve 1999?

As far back as childhood, betwixt moments have conjured a sense of wonder in me.  

For the most part, I’m a disciplined writer. Over the years I’ve trained myself to sit down and begin story-crafting with minimal effort. Let a transitional element wash over me, however, and the need for discipline vanishes. Creativity unfurls in its rawest form and my muse, bless her fanciful little soul, starts spinning out ideas like shooting stars. I feel connected, acutely aware of the ephemeral passage of time.  Creatively awake.

Perhaps that’s why transitional periods resonate so strongly. They transport me back to those days when technique had little to do with writing. When it was all about snagging the tail of a comet and hitching a ride to a brooding mansion, a magical forest, an underwater labyrinth, or a forgotten graveyard. To this day I feel that familiar rush at twilight, or when the weather turns warm and windy, the sky black with storm clouds. The thought of New Year’s Eve is sheer magic, and the sound of a clock striking midnight, every bit as enchanting as a fairy-tale spell.

What about you? What are the moments that inspire your creativity to blaze out of the ordinary?  I’d love to hear about them!

10 thoughts on “The Magic of Betwixt

  1. Well, Mae– what a lovely post!! It’s interesting that most of those magical transitioning events do stimulate something in my spirit to rise up and meet them. Now the part that is missing, is that those moments don’t fuel into my writing necessarily. At least not on a conscious level. They do feed and grace me, and I guess ultimately on some level show up in my work somewhere, somehow. It does speak to your discipline, focus, and make up as a writer for you to use and bring EVERYTHING around you into your writing. Geez, I’ve asked so many times and I will again– can you bottle that energy and focus of yours and sell me a case of it? 😉


    • You crack me up, my friend! 🙂

      Those moments probably do fuel into your writing on some level if they “stimulate something in my spirit to rise up and meet them.” What a great description, so true of what I feel too! I had to teach myself discipline, but the rest comes innately. We’ve got rain today and it’s just not the same. One of my Twitter friends called it “liquid sunshine.” No transition though. When the sun does break through, maybe there will be a rush of magic along with it! 🙂


  2. I’ve never really thought about it that way before but now that I’ve read your post, I know what you mean… I’m especially partial to the magic before the storm when the energy around me surges. Love this post. 🙂


    • That’s one of my favorite transitional times, Stephanie – – the rush of wind, leaves bending belly up to a dark sky, and the atmosphere so charged it prickles your skin. Glad you liked this one!


  3. Mae,

    Your word choice gives me a sense of that awe you’re speaking of, that desire and inspiration to write, the giddyness of rushing out to make tracks in the fresh fallen snow of a blank page. You say, “when it was all about snagging the tail of a comet and hitching a ride to a brooding mansion, a magical forest, an underwater labyrinth, or a forgotten graveyard”, and the instant I read that I feel a giddy pang, the “man, I wish I had written that”, and the desire to explore those images in my own words, to transport myself to that magical forest and/or underwater labyrinth and make a story of it.

    I discover the flood, (forgive the pun), of ideas while I’m in the shower and the warm water rushes over me. I seem to have my best ideas in there when my mind is free of everything, though I have no pen or waterproof paper, and so the great ideas, due to my horrendous sometimers, fades with the turning of the faucet. All those wonderous thoughts, notions and vivid images, all the brilliant, once in my life time lines of prose that dance in my head, all left floating in the misty residue of steam, forever lost, save for a sentence or two, with the drying off. I’ve gotta invent waterproof writing tools for the shower! Grr.

    I could go on, especially about storms, but I would quickly turn your comment section into a six part miniseries and you would grow tired of my giddy ramblings.


    • M.L., I love your giddy ramblings and am so happy you decided to share some of them on my blog! 🙂 I’m pleased this post connected with you and conjured a few imaginative moments.

      I can relate to your desire for a water-proof pen. I often spin story ideas in my pool, floating around on a raft, thinking I’ll remember them later when I’m able to write them down. Sometimes they cooperate and stick around, but other times, it’s like pulling teeth when originally they flowed so beautifully.

      I guess it’s good we capture enough of those moments that actually make their way onto paper (or computer screen). I LOVE your comment about “the giddyness of rushing out to make tracks in the fresh fallen snow of a blank page.”

      Now, that’s magic! 🙂


  4. Beautiful post, Mae! Busy days are numerous with me, between my day job and family, so getting a quiet, peaceful moment is enough to put me in that mood, as long as the whirlwind of the day has stopped. 🙂


    • I can relate to that too! What a pleasure those moments , when you can sink into creativity and wrap yourself up in a story with charactes you’ve created. I work a day job as well and know how rough it is balancing career, family and writing (although, hopefully, some day writing will be my career!).

      Hope you get to steal a few quiet moments soon, L.J.!


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