Chicago Botanic Garden, 10/16 (photo by author)
Autumn, glorious autumn. Glorious or not, autumn is not always a time dear to my heart.
Well, it is dear to my heart, my everyday heart that absolutely loves autumn. But not dear to my writer’s heart. And perhaps, writers, you recall or can guess why.
(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.
Like all writers, I have a life. That is, a life apart from writing. I know, it can be hard to believe that writers can find the time and resources to earn degrees, land jobs, fall in love, marry, buy houses, produce children, pay taxes, unclog drains, and weed the garden.
That our lives, on the outside, can appear so boringly, or brightly, normal to the casual viewer.
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.
I’ve been home, sick, for two weeks. Coping, as one does with a serious virus, with a two steps forward, one step back–or two steps back, one step forward–progression and resolution. Which means I’ve been inside a lot, outside some, and attempted a return or two to normalcy only to discover that I was not ready to return to normal. Called my doctor, saw her when my condition worsened, and visited my pharmacy. Twice.
While this happened, life did not stop.
(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“).