Category Archives: Life’s Work

Query Time

6583796211_f99ba88961_zI’ve been waiting for this day for five years.  Today a decision came to be.  Yes, I will pursue publication.

Why was this decision less than a “no-brainer” you ask?  I’ll tell you a little bit.

  1. While I enjoy writing, talking about writing, teaching writing, and editing very much, I don’t always enjoy the “business” side of things.  As an author, I have no choice but to do my best as a business and to treat my books as commodities (which they are). I worry that I will fall short.
  2. Book signings terrify me.  I am a lively person and decent conversationalist, but I’m also an introvert and insecure about my appearance.
  3. Very good books can go unpublished in their writer’s lifetime and beyond, though sometimes “less worthy” books appear and do well.  It confuses my sense of quality and fairness.
  4. The query process is daunting.  Research, personal paragraphs, synopsis, rejection, rejection, rejection.  This is compounded by a few unique features in Recompense.  I don’t see anything like it on the current market, and that’s not always a good thing.
  5. The industry is changing almost daily and no one knows where it will end up.  Lots of options are available now.  Is traditional publishing still the way to go?  Is the Indie route better in the long term?  How does an author best combine them?
  6. Speaking of author, the term is reserved for a writer who has been published.  However, the term “published” is somewhat fluid in its definition.  Since I was a child, I wanted to be an author.  Now no one can say for sure what it means.
  7. I want to teach at least on the community level.  I want to share the passion for the process of writing, for the creative satisfaction, for the benefits (healing, decompression, a written record, etc).  I want to watch other people catch fire for this thing I love so much.  My chances of teaching this way or doing workshops someday are greatly enhanced through traditional publishing.

So, the decision is made, and I have begun researching agencies and agents while I learn all I can about queries and writing a synopsis for Recompense.  Excited?  Yes.  Scared?  You betcha.

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Where Did the Poet Come From??

Not much to write tonight.  Took the night off as far as putting pen to paper.  Just sitting back to absorb the world around me and let all I’ve taken in settle and percolate.

 

I got an unexpected and oddly thrilling little piece this morning.  I’m not a poet unless you count limericks and your standard “4 line must rhyme” poems from school. This doesn’t rhyme, but it feels like poetry.   I wouldn’t be surprised if I’d heard some of the phrases somewhere, but a quick Google search didn’t turn anything up.

 

Anyway, here’s something from the deepest well.  Unexpected and not my usual style, but worth recording for posterity.

 

Rise…I Call Thee

 

Rise from sleep, intrepid one.  I call thee from slumber to make use of thy muse.  Take pen in hand and spend time with me.  Uncover the words branded across my surface.  Use ink to discover what lies beneath.  Within and without my lines lies Art, the essence of you.

 

Come to me, fresh from dreams and other worlds.  Sit with me, move across me.  Dive into me.  Let me be a mirror to your gravid soul.  Beautiful prose shall adorn me.  Thoughts and ponderings, clever turns of phrase.  Together we shall mine the depths for rubies, diamonds, and emeralds.

 

Let me speak when you are done.  Breathe life into me and send me out into the world…your child, your lover, your intimate friend.

 

Rise from sleep, intrepid one.  I call thee from thy slumber.

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Writing With Arthritis

Fellow writers will understand this:  When I was first diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis and given my prognosis, my first thought was for my hands.  I am a writer.

 

To give a brief explanation, PsA is a destructive form of arthritis sometimes so similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis that they can be hard to differentiate, especially if you don’t have classic psoriasis.  Coupled with additional autoimmune diseases, it has been an aggressive and sometimes frightening addition to my life.

 

During the first few weeks, my thoughts dwelt often on my future.  I found I could accept, for the most part, the concept of possibly moving around in a wheelchair, or needing special aids and equipment to live.  What I could not accept was the idea of losing my hands, either for typing or longhand writing.  I have a voice recognition program.  It’s not at all the same.

 

It’s been a year.  I have had to adapt what type of pen I use and how I hold it, but I still write longhand on a daily basis.  I must limit my time on the computer keys and live with the destruction of my 80 wpm 2% error record.  I can live with this because I can still write how and when I want and need to.

 

My forefingers show the most deterioration; they have shortened and curve sharply.  The other fingers are beginning to curve noticeably as well.  The large thumb joints are probably the most painful, but I can manage with them stuck out straight.

 

For all the destruction started in my hands, I was almost glad when the disease moved into my spine.  Though the pain is breathtakingly intense, my hands are getting no worse for now.  I know on a deep level that I can live with many losses.  The ability to hold and use a pen is not one of them.

 

There are two quotes from Isaac Asimov that have provided both comfort and inspiration.  The first:

 

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood.  I’d type a little faster. 

 

And the second:

 

I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.

And then there is:

 

We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.
                                                           
Somerset Maugham

 

A clear and deep understanding of just how vital writing and the writing process are to me was not revealed until there was a chance it could be taken away.  It was the catalyst for me to evaluate my entire life, including the promises I made to myself during the 15 years I lived as a single parent and had so little time.  It helped me prioritize my needs and desires clearly and provided the impetus to make changes.  It is the reason I blog on line and the reason I started The Business. 

 

I don’t know what the future holds.   I don’t know how aggressive these autoimmune diseases will get without proper treatment and medication.  What I do know is that I am newly grateful every day that I am able to write in my journal or type at the computer.  I also understand that I must make the most of every hour my hands are doing well and work my life around the most important priorities.  I am experiencing the most productive and inspired period of my 30-year love affair with writing.

 

I find I am grateful for this disease that will eventually steal my pen from me.  It has given me the coming years of concentrated effort, enjoyment, and productivity in my writing life that I might not otherwise have had.

 

Is there a moral here?  Yup.  Never put off your dreams.  Pursue your dreams and passions every single day in whatever way you are able.  Do not put important things off for the vague future.  Make the most of the time you have today and live with Ray Bradbury’s “zest and gusto.”  If there comes a time your dreams are threatened by circumstance, injury, or illness, you will have already built momentum and memories to help you continue on in them.

 

Don’t just dare to dream.  Pursue it with passion and energy.

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