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Gleanings, on the road

I will be on the road when this posts tomorrow, returning from the Novelists Inc. conference in St. Petersburg Beach. The major gleaning from the conference is that the people who are the most successful in their careers and life are those who love what they do and are the most generous. As we give, we truly do receive. The second strong gleaning is that we writers are no longer at the mercy of big publishers’ opinions and power. The sun is fully up on the day of self-publishing, and it is exciting.

Rhetoric isn’t just the province of the Latin teacher and the debater but the province of every writer who wants to craft her measure of truth, beauty, and goodness. ~ Eric Maisel, Living the Writer’s Life

That is my goal: to give to others, and to myself, all I can of the truth, beauty, and goodness that I have found in books. This means writing. No matter how you publish, or don’t publish as you choose, a writer must write. It is the first duty.

Do I want to write because that is how I want to spend my precious time? ~ Jasmine Cresswell, novelist.

This is what each writer, most especially a novelist, must answer for herself. But wanting not to spend hours in the chair does not mean you are not a writer. It simply means that you must adjust yourself and your writing. It is never all or nothing. There is a place in this world for each of us, a particular place just right for our inclinations and talents.

Gleanings, self-pity and solitude

rain windowFrom Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, by Winifred Watson:

‘ In my life,” said Miss Pettigrew, ‘ a great many unpleasant things have happened.  I hope they never happen to you.  I don’t think they will because you’re not afraid like me.  But there’s one thing I found fatal: pitying myself. It made things worse. ‘

Styles change. The above paragraph, typed just as it is in the book reprinted from 1938, shows the punctuation and spacing style of its day. People and truth, however, never change. Self-pity truly is never any help. In fact, self-pity harms. Self-pity is poison to the soul and body. Do not indulge one sip.

From Living the Writer’s Life, by Eric Maisel, Ph.D.:

“To say that a writer is basically introspective or that she requires solitude in order to think her thoughts hardly catches the flavor of her riotous inner life. What defines the writer more than anything else is her rich, roiling, sometimes light but often dark inner busyness, a busyness made up of daydreams, worries, thought fragments, and elaborated thoughts, an inner reality filled with the music she has heard and still dwells upon, the sights she has seen and still dwells upon, the sentences that form and dissolve and form again, finally becoming the opening paragraph of a book she had no idea she was intending to write.”

I am playing fast and loose with copyright by posting such a long excerpt, however, love and admiration compels me to share. Maisel writes such a long, glorious running sentence, and he isn’t even Southern. He describes the rich inner life exactly. I am reminded of the answer Winifred Watson gave when asked why she had given up writing. She replied more or less: “One cannot write when one is never alone.”

The first thing I had to do when I was faced with not being alone enough for me to write was to quit complaining and fuming in self-pity. Only when I could turn my attention from fussing and fuming, could I see myself clearly; my need of solitude as much as I need air, as well as the reality that I wasn’t getting much of it. I was suffocating. From seeing reality, I could find a way to gather and protect as much solitude for myself as possible. It is awareness of reality, then acceptance of reality, and then action to change what can be changed. Just about anything can be changed, if only our attitude. And attitude changes everything.

These days I guard my solitude, because it is my life.

We writers have busy minds, and we can have a lot of fun in there, if we want to.




October Garden Bloggers Bloom Day


Fall is here is the Gulf Coast! It arrived Monday night, coming in with a fury. I was struck by the beauty this morning of the hurricane lilies–or surprise lilies or spider lilies, whatever your name– that had sprung up in the front knoll. What a gift!

Sweet olive has come into bloom. Another great gift. They will bloom most of the winter, take a rest and burst forth again early spring for a bit. I cut branches and brought them into the house. Every time I catch a whiff of the scent, I smile. Thank you, God!

Sweet olive has come into bloom. Another great gift. They will bloom most of the winter, take a rest and burst forth again early spring for a bit. I cut branches and brought them into the house. Every time I catch a whiff of the scent, I smile. Thank you, God!

And thank you to dear Carol, Indiana eccentric gardener at May Dreams Gardens who had the wonderful idea of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and generously continues to host it through the years. She and many other garden bloggers have helped me to be more aware of the beauty.


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