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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Quote from a Fav Book

“The world was hers for the reading.”
-Betty Smith - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Fav Book Quote-

"Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts.”
-Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird-


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Selling Out...

      Years back, an editor wrote me (before e-mail days) that if I'd submitted an arthritis self-help book that touted some curative foods, then it would have a greater chance of being accepted. She was kind of 'hinting' the idea to me.
      Being one of a gazillion chronic pain sufferers, I was outraged by the idea.  Imagine if I bought a book that sang the glories of eating wheat germ every day as a sure 'cure' when it fact it was simply a sure scheme to generate big sales for author and publisher? Another disappointing attempt to find relief.  Another scam gone through because saps like me believed their words.
     I don't want to be one of those authors who make a quick buck at the expense of any reader. And that isn't just in the self-help genre. There is also fiction. How does a story make me come away from reading it? Sad? Uplifted? Hopeful? Depressed? Dark? Inspired? What do I, as a writer, hope to invoke in the reader?  After all, a person has bought my book and taken the time to read it. What will be the lasting impression of my words?
    There are books that I've read back in High School that linger with me to this day. (We're talking ancient history here.) I remember how disappointed I was when I saw the film to the book: Lost Horizon. The book stirred my imagination into a whole other world (Shangri la) and the movie didn't quite compare. I remember books that disturbed me as well...books I had no business reading as a teen, such as Valley of The Dolls.
      This is not to praise or criticize either book, it is just a reflection on how specific books might affect certain readers.We never know who will pick up the stories we write and the lingering positive or not-so-positive effect it will have on any given person. I prefer to make a positive impact, like the sower who sows the good seeds that yield a hearty crop. However, I keep in mind, that we might never really know the good fruit of every seed we sow. Some of our writing might simply be a piece or two in a local paper, but even if one seed takes root in a positive way, then our work has been fruitful indeed.
     Of course, there is the topic of 'free speech' and "free will' and I do not overlook these rights in both writer or reader. However, if I were asked to write a dark story full of violence and profanity for a generous advance and contract, I d have to turn it down. I'd lament the loss of earnings as a writer, but not the images and message I'd imprint on the minds of readers for the sake of publicity and 'making it' as an author. Such ideas were suggested to me by others, but I will not sell out my convictions for publication. 
     Equally important, I could not delve into such a story day in and day out during the writing process without slight insanity and much depression. I am not made of the stuff of Stephen King. (And this is not a put down to him. He is an excellent writer, just not my cup of genre!) 
    An accountant once told me that the IRS considers the annual income of any craft that is under $3,000 as a hobby.  I take it that many of us writers are long times hobbyists.  That's okay by me.  When I attain the legal status of 'writer' I hope it will be from a work that I am comfortable with and that will in some way enrich the soil of society...even if just a little.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Paperback Writer by The Beatles

(Can still relate to this song) 
Paperback writer
Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It's based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job so I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer!
It's a dirty story of a dirty man
And his clinging wife doesn't understand
His son is working for the Daily Mail
It's a steady job but he wants to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer!
It's a thousand pages, give or take a few
I'll be writing more in a week or two
I can make it longer if you like the style
I can change it 'round and I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer!
If you really like it you can have the rights
It could make a million for you overnight
If you must return it you can send it here
But I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Social Media Reflection-

As a writer, I am encouraged to post on my blogs regularly within the framework of my genre. The more views and followers I obtain, the better my chance for publication. Maybe.
Today, a writer has to self-promote. Gone are the days of simply 'writing' and letting the editor do the rest, including proofreading and marketing.
For me, this detracts from the actual writing. I get caught up in posting the perfect photo to go with some piece I've written, or seeing if anyone 'likes' my posts. It borders on feeding the ego, and the craft seems to no longer be the shining star.
This got me thinking...uh-oh...
Why is it important or even meaningful to post a photo of myself, let's say, in the park on a snowy day and sharing photos to go with it?  Or the fact that I am cooking a tasty meal? Or that I am enjoying my latte this morning? (Which I just posted yesterday on FB.)
Well, for me, it's mainly for a reprieve from heavy thinking and writing, for a little fun and keeping in touch with friends/family in a lighthearted manner.
But I am also very aware that we have become a 'show and tell' cyber society. Myself being no exception.
Perhaps I am prone to this introspection because I did not grow up with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as some of my younger friends. I did not have an iPhone as a teen. No text messaging. No e-mailing. No internet! I communicated with others face-to-face or on the telephone voice-to voice. (Yes, I sound like someone’s grandmother back-in-the day.) 
 Whatever writing or artistic feat I accomplished, did not need a hundred 'likes' to validate it or sway potential publishers my way. I indulged in the talents that came naturally to me. As long as I 'liked' it within my true self, then I felt good about it. It was enough.
  And even without all the followers, 'likes' and posts on social media, certain God-given gifts did not go unnoticed or unused. Somewhere, paintings I’ve done hang in a home or an office. Articles got written and read… helped a person or two…or fifty...who knows how many? It didn’t matter. The ‘calling’ was to just get it out there. Something as simple as writing a poem for a special friend or a teacher, made its mark. The world didn’t have to know about it. A soul-to-soul connection requires only that.
  Now, I am writing this reflection on my ‘author’ page, writing blog, etc. because this is the way the world works in 2015. I can go up to the mountains in seclusion and write to my heart’s content where there is no Internet coverage…no e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or even Starbucks. Live to the rhythm of Nature. Wake to the sounds of birds and go to sleep to the sounds of silence. No ever-present opportunity to check on my  posts with the hopes of drawing viewers to my blogs.
Yes, I do that.
For a time.
But if I want whatever I write in a cyber-less environment or not, to get out there, to be read by others, to benefit a heart or two, I’ll need to beat within the pulse of the movement of the times.
It’s bittersweet…for me. Maybe not for you. But our differences are beautiful, are they not?