Eastern tiger swallowtail on Lobelia (image by author)
“Writing is like lying down in the road and asking people to stop and look at you, and today, I got run over.”
This line, spoken by the young Lawrence Durrell, is from the PBS production of “The Durrells In Corfu”. Lawrence has just hosted a public reading to celebrate an early piece of his writing and no one, other than a confused and elderly man unknown to him and a small cadre of close family, attends.
Lake Michigan shore in January (Photo by author)
I am listening to Willie Nelson and enjoying him a good deal. Willie’s unmistakable voice–warm and full of feeling yet rational and sure–is calm and energizing.
Calm and energy are two qualities I am in need of this winter. I am depressed. Or so I think.
Oddly, I don’t think I’ve ever been depressed before. At least not like this.
(Image by author)
Writers, I have put down my pen for much of this August and am reading.
It’s been wonderful, deliciously so, to allow myself big chunks of time each day to just read. I have a list as long as my arm of novels and stories I’ve been wanting to tackle, and am thoroughly enjoying working my way down the list!
But not all is delightful.
Blue Dancers, Edgar Degas, c 1899
What happened on Wednesday?
For starters, bored with a story that wasn’t coming together, at least not in the way I want, I took an abrupt writerly turn and with little planning or forethought, pulled out of the dusty bins of my laptop a story that I wrote some time ago.
Some time ago? I wrote this particular story years ago.
Selfridge’s Department Store, London, 1942 (image Wikimedia Commons)
Writers, it hurts.
I know; I’ve been there, and I’m there now. As I said in an older post, rejections are raining!
The good news about this is that it means I’ve been submitting a lot as of late. The bad news is…Well, there are a number of bad things that fall out of receiving rejections.
Rookery Building, Chicago, main staircase (Image by author)
It’s October. Writers, we know what that means, right?
Of course, it’s submission season! The time of year all writers look forward to!
How can we not?
Olympic hurdler, Olga Gyarmati, 1949 (Wikimedia Commons, source: Fortepans)
I thought, having lived for decades as a consciously identified feminist, that I was aware of most gender differences. And, having written for years I’ve thought–when I gave the subject of gender differences in writing my attention–that I was aware of how differences between men and women play out in our writing lives.
Well, I stand corrected.
(Image attribution below)
Sutton Hoo (Chicago Quarterly Review, vol 14)
Martha leaned close to the glass case. Inside, in one corner, lay a desiccated fly, its wings caught in a puff of dust. In the middle of the case stood a low platform covered in beige fabric. On top of the platform rested a large black and red Grecian jar. Martha couldn’t describe its kind, or what it might have been, centuries ago, used for. She knew only that the jar fascinated her, and she didn’t feel bad for not remembering more from her undergraduate ancient Greek art class. She’d taken that class more than eight years ago. How often does one review the features–the handles, hips and shoulders, lips and feet–of Greek pottery?
So much has been said about the recent shootings at the Paris offices of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, that I hesitate to add my thoughts to the groundswell of support, outrage, and grief over the crime.
But I have been dismayed to see that in addition to outrage and grief there has also been criticism of the writers of Charlie Hebdo, and an apparent confusion among some observers between approval, or agreement, with content, and support for freedom of speech.
As writers, I believe that each of us–regardless of how we feel about the content of the magazine Charlie Hebdo–is Charlie Hebdo (“Je suis Charlie“).
I don’t know about you, but I go in and out of periods of intense reading. When I’m writing, especially if new material, I tend to not read much. It’s as if I don’t have the desire or use for the voices of others; I am much too engaged with my own.
I also, like many writers, fear that if I immerse myself in the words of another while I am creating my own, that I will lose my voice, and that I cannot afford to do. But when I am not writing new material, when I am revising or submitting, I read a good deal. Widely, and in my own fashion, a fashion that has over the years given me pause. Continue reading