Sunday, November 30, 2014

Novelists Givingthanks

Writers face numerous obstacles, fears, and envies. Other writers write better. There’s never enough time. The publishing industry seems more geared to trends and profits than to originality or quality. Getting an agent feels like a Herculean task—and that precedes publication, then marketing. After all that, very few any of us get to quit our day jobs. And, finally, why is it so slow-going? Such hard work? But that’s only part of the picture.

Now that many writers have enjoyed a day off and an excuse to overeat, this seems a fine time to extol the other side of being a writer. How about what D. L. Burnett (In the Kingdom of Dragons) calls being “in the zone.” That euphoria is tantamount to making love to your ideas—and having your own words love you back. Nothing quite like it.

The blessings don’t end there. Today’s writers can edit on a laptop, research on the web, self-publish, and enjoy a plethora of courses, craft books, and critique groups. If not every one of those is good, the great ones are superb. That helps writers become superb.

Writers are also lucky to have …

…a means of probing truth: “The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” ― Anais Nin
…an excuse for eavesdropping and gossiping: “The great advantage of being a writer is that you can spy on people. You’re there, listening to every word, but part of you is observing. Everything is useful to a writer, you see―every scrap, even the longest and most boring of luncheon parties.” ― Graham Greene
…a blueprint for hidden connections:  “Storytelling is ultimately a creative act of pattern recognition. Through characters, plot and setting, a writer creates places where previously invisible truths become visible. Or the storyteller posits a series of dots that the reader can connect.” ― Douglas Coupland
…a way to procure your favorite novel: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ― Toni Morrison
…a means of coping with pain: “A wounded deer leaps the highest.” ― Emily Dickinson
a way to create your own world: “The odd thing about being a writer is you do tend to lose yourself in your books. Sometimes it seems like real life is flickering by and you’re hardly a part of it. You remember the events in your books better than you remember the events that actually took place when you were writing them.” ― George R. R. Martin
…a justification for occasional anti-social behavior: “Being lonely is not a bad thing for a writer. ― Chuck Palahniuk
…a source of energy: “I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.” ― Ray Bradbury
…a chance to reach strangers across time and space:  “A writer is, after all, only half his book. The other half is the reader and from the reader the writer learns.  ― L. Travers
…a way to change the future: “catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.” ― Isaac Asimov
…a shot at eternity: “Writers live twice.” — Natalie Goldberg

Tip: “If you wish to be a writer, write.” ― Epictetus

Every day could be Thanksgiving.

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