|a girl & her hat & her dog-setting down words|
|Mom’s gift to me- her quilting|
If you call yourself a writer/artist/quilter/photographer/musician/etc, then you know the kaleidoscope of angst and joy and marvel and frustration and success and failure that comes with our creative identities. Or, perhaps you are questioning whether you can call yourself Creative? I’m surely not in a position to define what makes for, say, A Writer, but if I tried to, I’d say: you are a writer if at times you want to throw everything you have ever written in a big word-funeral pyre and dance around it nekkid laughing hysterically while it burns burns BURNS and you’ll become a cat enthusiast or collect rubber bands, anything but to be a writer. Instead, you take a deep breath and you get back to the work of writing.
Here’s what I imagined would happen when I received word that my first novel would be published: I’d jump up, scream WHAHOOO!, run to hug Good Man Roger, email gamillions of people, and then go celebrate with Ketel One and tonics. Here is what really happened: I’m sitting alone in the dark. I’m sipping Deep Creek Blend, the sun just slipping over the Smoky Mountains. I read the email of how Bellebooks wants to offer me a contract. There is no sound but Not Quite Fat Labrador’s snoring. I stand, walk dazed around the little log house, and it is hours later before I tell anyone—because I might jinx it. Because it may not be Real. Because I don’t deserve it. Because something will happen to screw it up. Now, first novel has become second, then third, and soon novella and fourth novel. Have I done any real celebrating? I guess not.
|inspiration in nature|
Hold on, I’m going to jump up and do a jig (fiddle music here–*kat does a moonshined Hill-William jig*). Okay, I’m back…thanks, whew, I needed that celebration for what I have accomplished. Now you do a jig for your accomplishments – and don’t sit here and tell me you do not have any! *eagle eyeing you* – I Accomplished Something before my novels were published – I just didn’t let myself believe in that. So – do your Jig! Come on – right now – I’ll wait *Jeopardy music here*
|finding beauty in our world|
Anyone who writes knows the long, hard, frustrating, maddening journey to novel/book/any publication. The work has only just begun. The writing, the tweaking, the querying, the rejections, and then finally the acceptance are only parts of the complete package that make the word Author. Sure, there are “overnight successes” who push out a book in three days and it’s picked up by a big time publisher and hits the New York Times bestseller list two minutes later and the author is soon rolling buck-nekkid on his/her bed atop a pile of cash. In reality, most “overnight successes” have worked their arses off to make their dreams come true. The rest of us are just awed to finally see our works in print or completing a project (while secretly wishing we’ll be rolling buck-nekkid on a pile of cash *teeheehee*).
Here’s the thing, my friends: each of us is born with a purpose, even if that purpose is only to live to tell a story or paint a picture, or quilt a quilt, or design a building, or Create Something. Our voices matter; we all have experiences to set down in our own way, secrets to whisper in the dark or take to the light, or ideals to shout that facilitate change. There is the purpose for which we live: we must reveal the stories in whatever forum we find inspiration from – all of us are creative in some way: Believe This.
|capture the mystery of our lives|
Thornton Wilder says, “…the work is not a thing that we make, but an already-made thing which we discover.”
So, what of your story? What do you long to say so your words are scattered to the winds of the universe, finding root and then growing thick and strong, the growth reaching up and reaching out? How will you find your way to your voice?
(a version of this post was first posted at Brian’s Guest Author site)
Photos taken by Kat (me!)