Witches’ Sabbath by Goya (1798)
One month ago, I said, “I want to write a story about a witch.”
Detail of Departure of the Witches by Falero (1878)
From then on, I sat at my computer and squelch-squerched through the internet mire to glean a little about these terrible ladies of legend and folklore. I found an excess of images of either seductress or crone (mainly seductress – no surprise there), along with pages of charms and herbal remedies, broomsticks and familiars; but I found no story.
Witches at their Incantations by Salvator Rosa (about 1646)
Morgan Le Fay by Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys 1864
I talked to a practising Wiccan with whom I work. I read about black magic and white magic and sort-of-grey magic and fluff bunnies, but still had a cursor flashing the seconds away on a blank .doc.
Many times, I bemoaned to my wife: “Witches are a pain in the arse.”
Jason and Medea by John William Waterhouse (1907)
I even set it aside and wrote another piece. When I returned to it, guess what? Yes, there it was! The cursor still waiting for my input.
Hecate by Maximilian Pirner (1901)
Then the pigeon came.
It had come to me before – not the same one, because we are talking many years ago. I was in College and the bird was sitting in the tree outside my classroom window during a test. It did the same thing a week ago as it did back then, and with that in my head, I started typing.
The story is now finished. Maddie, a witch, has been conjured in a fiction dark. And a lesson has been relearned: Just write, because the act of writing will tempt the story onto the page and save your partner weeks of listening to your laments.