Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Writing Life is a Blessed One

The writing life is not the bleeding agony of the artist against the world. There is a strain in literature (and now in virtual reality) of commiseration at endless rejection, inner despair and desperation. That’s a romantic notion and, lets be honest, it is also what all writers experience at times.

But the reality, without a nod to Pollyanna, is that it is a privileged life. I get to do what I love, and think about how to do it and how to do it better. For homework, I get to read the best ever written. For more homework, I get to talk with others who are doing the same. So even without the struggles to publication, the very act of writing regularly is a blessing and a gift to me.

The angst comes mostly from rejection or feedback that reminds me I failed to reach someone the way I hoped.

But even on that front, the one that has to do with readers and feedback from industry professionals, I can vividly recall the blessed days. The first time I got an encouraging R & R from an editor I didn’t know and a fruitful association ensued, or the day I got my first acceptance from a small publisher.

And then there was the day my editor emailed that the illustrator had signed and was officially the one for my picture book. This editor included me in the process of selecting the artist, and I really hoped this particular illustrator would agree. I remember driving to get my kids from school just moments after getting the Email, and the road was singing.

And then there came the day when I got my first offer of representation. It was followed immediately by another (I chose the first) and little ol’ me was in the rejecter’s seat. A few months ago I went through the process again, this time having to turn down two offers that followed the first. (I accepted the first one, once more.) I didn’t love being in the seat of the one saying, "thanks but no thanks," and realized it was not fun for others, either. Publishing professionals instantly turned from the antagonists I feared they were into my collegial community.

And then... Yup.  More days like these. But all the while the writing itself remained the real thing. Always. Days when the words unfurled like a hallway carpet unrolled to reveal a gorgeous tapestry, making the hard ground under my feet feel soft and caring. The real deal.


Vijaya said...

I love this so much. We do live a very blessed life!

Evelyn said...

I'm so glad, dear friend, that you have this blessed life and that you feel the blessing.

Tina Cho said...

I agree being a writer is a blessed thing!

We are: Clamco said...

I think artists suffer the same experiences as writers, although I haven't really put myself "out there" as much as I could because I don't handle rejection well. At the same time, I would love to be recognized by other artists that I follow and admire, but it hasn't happened yet.

Janie Junebug said...

"The Struggling Artist"
"The Alcoholic Artist"
"The Opium-Addicted Artist"
and so on and so forth, until we reach
"The Artist Who Ever-So-Romantically Commits Suicide"

I'm glad you count your blessings instead of agonies.

I adore Sylvia Plath's poetry. She and Emily Dickinson are my favorite poets. But far too many people are interested in Plath because of the depression, cheating husband, and suicide attempts that finally culminated in death. They pore over the details as if they're reading a tabloid. Plath's poetry is often confessional, but it is so much more than that.


Janie Junebug said...

Writers are artists: That's why you see the similarities, my love.

Mirka Breen said...

People are complicated, and artistic people live on the edges where the complexities are accentuated. Plath's work is a blessing to us, even as she wasn't able to count her blessings.

Sherry Ellis said...

The cartoon you added about the boulder is cute!

Barbara Etlin said...

We are very lucky to be writers. Thanks for the reminder.

Dave Watson said...

I enjoyed this post. I feel the same way, but then I must be a person like you, "a glass half full" type. When he or she realizes they have the gift, the drive to create, will, overtime, easily brush away the negativity and rejection that comes with trying to share ones work.

Sue said...

Good post.