Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Ebb and Flow of Life

From the time my kids were little, summer was the time to recharge. A scheduled ebb to the flow of new creativity. The end of August was the time to grease the wheels and test the gears before turning the engine on in fall.

This rhythm hasn’t failed me yet, but there is always that twinge of anxiety as to whether my vehicle’s engine will in fact turn on.

The other day, while feeling particularly twingy, I thought about a couple we know. They married in their thirties and by the time they got down to having children, pregnancy just wasn’t happening. It was not for lack of trying, they say. When they were just about resigned to starting complicated medical regiments in the hope for a baby (while preparing mentally to remain childless, as adoptions are not an easy route for the over-forty) the woman became pregnant.

The joy!

And this one daughter was followed by three more children less than two years apart. In their late forties, they found themselves the parents of four healthy, lovely children, and no extraordinary medical intervention needed.

I thought how this is what all creativity is like. We plan, we try, and sometimes we feel arid and dry. Then the gates open and the river rolls in.

Intentional pacing is the part we do. Without it, the river has no groove to flow into. Writers call it butt-in-chair. But some humility is needed, as there is a mysterious part that comes when it comes.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Does It Take a Village?

Some months ago, a neighbor posted on the neighborhood board (called NextDoor) that a mother deer had two fawns in her back yard. But only a few days later, the mother and one of the fawns disappeared, likely moved themselves to a more discreet grazing area.

The thing was, they left one fawn behind. Despite not approaching it and waiting for the mother to return for it, the newborn fawn was still there and still alone.

The neighbors mobilized with advice. Call animal control. Don’t call animal control. Call a vet. Follow what the vet says. Get bottles and formula and feed it. Don’t feed it. Do. Don’t. Do.

The neighbor began feeding the fawn. The fawn seemed to gain strength. The neighbor posted pictures. Who doesn’t melt at the sight of Bambi? Turned out Bambi was a she, and we collectively named her Bambina. We looked for daily updates and photos, and cheered for every new morning light that showed Bambina was still there. Donations of blankets and formula and money poured, but mostly it was a steady stream of advice that flowed and made us a village.

And then she began to fail. She was clearly sick. More advice, prayers and tears.

Then one day, Bambina passed away to the great grazing field in the sky, and a whole neighborhood cried.

Only weeks ago, this happened again. Only this was an abandoned newborn feral kitten. This time, it was a he, and the rescuer named him Alfie. Many adoption offers and donations later, and the rescuer has made Alfie, now an energetic love-bug of a cat, part of her household.

There’s a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. These real neighborhood stories made me think of how these children made us a village, but it took one compassionate neighbor to do the work.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Literally Literary

I have a constitutional aversion to literalness.

In my teens, I discovered  the awesome power and wisdom of scriptures. I could only do that when I rejected the reading ways of those who interpret them literally. The same vertical growth happened, for me, as I began to understand words as allusion to the wordless.

This is why I would not become a lawyer, as my mother thought I was suited to be, but a writer, as my father encouraged.

The tools of storytellers are metaphors, similes, and language using words as building blocks to send the listeners minds out of their earthly sounds and onto places both wider, higher and deeper all at once.

But lest the above high falutin’ speechy paragraph makes me seem as one who thinkest herself above the rest, let me assure you I have cracks in my anti-literalism.
I was thinking the other day how literally I act on what should be a metaphor.

Touch wood”— as in may-it-not-befall-us: I literally look for anything that could pass for wood and touch it.

Stop and smell the roses”— as in take-a-moment-to-appreciate-the-moment: I try to never take a walk without stopping and smelling an actual rose.

Piece of cake”—as in easy: you betcha!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Writers as Marketers

{🙀The "you" in this post is mostly me waving a finger at myself 😼}
{😽You, the reader, are just fine 😻}

As one who gets inner-nourishment from creating stories, I understand other writers who say they are not marketers. The story’s the thing, right?

“I just want to write.” I’ve heard this often, and sometimes that came from inside my own head.

If you want readers, you want to publish. Whether it’s traditional  by a commercial publisher (i.e. be published) or self-publish, publishing means to make public.

“I don’t want to have to sell, I want to write.”
Yeah, right. Then write, baby, write. Keep it in the drawer, and then write some more. For the drawer.

But if you want to share your writing with anyone other than dutiful family and patient friends, you must market.

Let’s face it. If you want a crack at the door of the large and medium size publishers, you need an agent. You have to market your work to a legitimate agent, who will be compensates when your work sells.

That’s the least you must do. So no need denying you’re a marketer right there.

If you self-publish, you become a full time marketing team. No getting around that.

In other words, the notion that a writer is not a marketer needs bursting from the get-go. It’s a matter of how and how much.

Embrace it, and go forth.