I love to write.
I have been telling stories to myself, performing Barbie doll operas, tales to my sisters and cousins, since I can remember. The powers of the Internet have made it possible for all of us who want to be published to fulfill our wishes. Even this pressure-cooker of an article: 7 Reasons to Learn Apple iBooks Author Now has me spinning.
And now I don't have a thing to say. Me: Deer. Keyboard: Headlights.
Allow me to take you on a tiny media mind trip:
NPR story headline: From Kerouac To Rand, 'Harmful' Reads for Writer -- the gist is, there are some novels that are so pivotal, so monumental, that when an aspiring writer reads these tomes, they may become too mimicking or intimated to move forward. I was discussing this with my Snakes & Tea friend yesterday about the novel The Book Thief by Mark Zusak. It is transformative. And now, if I ever consider using a personified Death, I will hesitate.
And then I saw a headline about Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, which I have not read yet, but apparently there is a celebrity author of big ka-ching status among fan-fiction writers, too. And, what kills me, KILLS ME, is it's a "sexy" book. I have been wanting to write in this steamy genre for years. Don't worry. I've got my nom-de-plume all figured out: Fanny McBloomiepants. (Maybe I'd better work on that one.)
Finally, the kicker: Jargon to Jabberwocky: 3 Books on Writing Well by Jonathan Gottschall on NPR.
I have perused through Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont, and Stein on Writing by Sol Stein, two other books about writing that are short, comprehensive and helpful.
From martha.net I came across Chuck Wendig's blog, Terrible Minds which has also scared the writing shit out of me.
Bear this morning shared his internal writer's conversation, Novel News: Epiphany. This simply reminds me and makes a tad blue because a few years ago, when I was actively engaged in the Puget Sound Writing Project, part of the National Writing Project, the sustaining, nourishing fact was I got to hang out and read other writers, just like me, who were amazing, and you know what? They liked my stuff, too. It wasn't all a big mutal admiration society, not at all. Many of us didn't agree, but it brought me back to college where we all put our big drawings and paintings on the common wall and talked about what we saw, asked questions, chose to take or discard. The process of a writers' circle is simple: you read your work once, everyone listens. You read your work twice, and your peers have a feedback sheet--what they heard, what they had questions about, where they got confused. You then listen to their feedback, and then you say "thank you." And nothing else. You may exchange ideas at some point in the protocol, but it is not the time to be defensive about your work. If someone has taken the time to articulate why they are confused by something, that feedback is immeasurably valuable. So often I have something in my head that I believed was evident on paper, and it took my writing buddies to let me know, no it wasn't. The "blue" part is we are all scattered to the four corners of the state, and even with the Internet and Email, it's just not the same. They are all very busy professionals as am I, and especially this time of year is like our World Series, our tax day, our "big show."
I have to admit this is what is tough, sifting out all of the advice. Yes, write for one person. But writing and putting it out there does feel risky and exposed at times. Glass houses and no bathrobe, I guess. I know the advice: write for yourself, write what you want, yadda-yadda-yadda. All true. My muse seems to have gone on vacation, and those well-established writers (see link above) are confusing me.
What am I asking for? What do I want? Nothing really. I'll get through this. I always do. And whether or not I get published "for real," well, I know my Barbie dolls certainly had some choice parts.
I am offering this: if anyone wants to be a part of a writers' workshop with me, and in a reciprocal aggreement, give me feedback on my work, I would be open to that. It can be pretty damn cool. Guarf has been a big help in the past, but he's busy doing whatever it is Guarf does.
Thanks for reading.