The word 'mojo' has taken on several meanings throughout history, from the moco medicine men of Cameroon to the amulets and charms of Mississippi African Americans in the 1920's to Austin Powers sex appeal to the Urban Dictionary's definition of self-confidence, self-assuredness and ability to bounce back from a negative attitude (among other things, if you are familiar with the Urban Dictionary).
Whatever it is, for the past six weeks or so, I had lost mine. At least when it came to writing.
|My lucky charms|
Maybe it was the fact that I had just completed a novel that has been my life for the past two years and exhaustion had finally set in. Maybe I had rubbed my 'mojo's' or lucky charms so much that the magic just wore off. Maybe I was worried that my writing wasn't good enough, so why bother. Maybe, Maybe, Maybe.
I stared at blank pages day after day, recycled old stories that had been discarded, lit my candles and said my prayers. Nothing. Nada. Nichts. I could barely write a grocery list, much less a story or, heaven forbid, start on the next novel I had in me.
For all my self-doubt, all my negative thoughts, all my misdirected anger I knew I had to get my mojo back.
I just didn't know how.
|As Austin Powers would say: Yeah, baby!|
It began at The Gun Store in Las Vegas. For Christmas, I had bought gift certificates to a shooting range for my sons and four of their friends. They convinced me to go with them, even though I had never shot a gun in my life. I took some of my frustration out on a clown target, and discovered that I actually liked the feel of the gun. My pen is usually my gun, the tool that allows me a certain release. I gained some of my self-confidence because as a novice, I wasn't bad at shooting. I didn't hit the target every time, but when I did, that clown quit laughing. I recognized the metaphor.
Then I went 'snowglobing', a term I have to credit my good friend, RWW Greene. Inside a fabulous hotel in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, I could look out at the snow, while inside the characters ran wild. Five days, outside of my element in a world I could fantasize, play, write, people watch. A new world. A created world. Although I was in the company of several old friends, I met new friends, with different experiences and found some inspiration. It comes from strange places, you know.
|Scene from inside the Snow Globe|
Last Saturday night, my confidence level shot to an all-time high. I graduated with my MFA in Fiction from Southern New Hampshire University and was introduced by one of the four men I admire most: The Father, Son, Holy Ghost and Craig Childs. When he introduced me, his first words were "Kelly Stone Gamble kicks ass." Getting praise for your writing from someone like Craig Childs kicks ass.
I came home on an all-time high and again, stared at a blank page.
Then I had an idea and started to type.
In three days, I have now written six chapters on a new novel. Yes, six rough chapters, but my mind is turning and I pretty much have the story line in my head, and with the help of a friend, have created a few very interesting characters. I can't wait to see what they do.
So somewhere between a gun shop in Las Vegas and a snow covered mountain in New Hampshire, I found my mojo; and it's working overtime.
Or maybe it isn't mojo at all. Maybe I just needed to get out of the ordinary, needed a little change.
Maybe I just needed something to relight that fire.