Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Quotations & Lit Biz

I collect quotations from other writers, and I now have a growing stack of them on index cards. I used to put them in my journal, but they disappeared into the page and then into the closet when a journal was retired. So now I have them at hand. I leaf through them now and again, looking for fun, wisdom, a kick to get me started. That's what I did this morning, because it's one of those foggy mornings--not outside. Out there it's all blue sky and white clouds. Inside, it's foggy. I know I'm putting off some of the business of writing--sending out queries, submitting work that has come crawling home, filling out forms, all that stuff. I feel good after I catch up on the business of writing, but I dread it.

As Julia Cameron says, ". . . the Censor is out to get you." My censor gets gnarly over my right to tell the world I'm a writer, no matter how often I say that out loud, no matter how often I publish, or put together a successful writing project. I'm safe when I'm composing, editing, or noodling around with words, but when I get serious about sending those words out to the public, well, all damnation descends. It has to do with money, I'm pretty sure. Too many people I have respected said that real writers earn their keep by writing. That's a big, fat lie. More writers than not write in obscurity, make little or no money at it, never get to sit on Oprah's couch or tour every Border's in North America. Real writers stare out windows and write. They can't help it. I can't help it. Not that I don't welcome money or recognition. I really like money and recognition, but they don't feed the secret genie who writes stories and poems. That magic cannot be bought or sold.


FranD said...

From a recent movie based on a journalist's big story about a boxer.
"A writer, like a boxer, must stand alone. Having your words published, like entering the ring, puts your talent on display and there's nowhere to hide.

Karen Douglass said...

That's a good one. I'll add it to the card file. Thanks, KD

Lynn said...

Just for perspective... from the very first moment I met you it has been very easy to refer to you or introduce you to others as "a writer." It's a natural title for you, it fits you well. I could pick a lot of other titles and they would be technically acurate, but "a writer" is the one that best describes the most about you as I know you, neighbor!