where the writers are
One Word, Once in A While: "Spell"

Now here's a delectable word, one of those words that are crisscrossed and bundled up with meaning: spell.

Hmm. Wonder what would happen if I opened the door and invited all of those meanings to come and sit inside my story? Perhaps something like this:

My Auntie Elaine, having suffered a fainting spell during that spell of warm weather we had last week, gingerly made her way up the stairs to my front door and knocked.

"Why Auntie," I said, staring into her ghastly white face, "You're looking uncommonly white. Please, come on in and sit a spell. I'll make you a nice strong cup of yerba mate."

"Mah-tay?" She said, looking worried. "If I can't spell it, I'm not sure I want to drink it."

"Don't worry," I said. "It's Argentinian. Kind of a tango tea."

Sipping her tea, the color began to come back into her face, but the worry never left it. "My dear niece," she said at last, "I'm afraid that evil witch, Madame Fudge, has cast a spell on me."

"A spell, auntie? No!"

"Yes," she continued ominously, "she has forced me to pick random words out of the dictionary and then write about them on the internet. . ."

Needless to say, "spell" is a crucial word for us writer types, on all accounts.

There is the 'spell' that makes all the letters go into the write, er, right place. I"m a big fan of that kind of spell, even though I don't do it as well as I did when I was in the sixth grade spelling bee.

Then there's the 'sit a spell' where we all have to place our behinds in a relatively motionless position on some kind of relatively comfortable surface if we are actually going to get anything written. Unless we're the kind of writer that can talk into a tape recorder while we pace back and forth and then have a willing assistant eagerly type it out for us. In which case, by all means, pace away.

Ah, but it's that last spell we really want to aim for isn't it? The spell that we ourselves fall into when we are happily immersed in our work, and the spell that, when we are done, will draw that enchanted net around our readers.

A really great writer is at least part witch or wizard.

At least that 's what my Auntie Elaine said when she finished her tango tea.