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Thread: Welll...?

  1. #11
    Karen Malley
    Guest

    Welll...?

    Emily Dickinson never really entered the publishing world in her lifetime, nor did she ever go into combat. Still, she had a number of important things to say about "The Art of Writing." If she were alive today, she wouldn't be invited to this particular cocktail party, now would she? She'd be sitting at home in that white dress of hers, formatting her poems on Microsoft Publisher. Anyone who has had any publishing experience, successful or not, knows that editors and agents cannot measure the true value of a writer's work and/or ideas about writing. It would be boring as hell if they could. Now hit the deck and give me fifty. I am a teacher as well as a writer, and during the semester find it very difficult to establish a block of time for writing, and if I can I end up writing about teaching anyway. So I write a couple hours a day on the weekends and wait patiently for vacation. I am assuming that you (James) are "making a living" as a writer? Anyway, luckily, we get plenty of vacation time (at least a week every five weeks, at this college) during which I can devote two to four hours per day to my fiction. (Theoretically. This is a new job, and I have had only one vacation so far.) Even when I was getting my MFA and could devote almost all of my time to creative writing, I found that three or four hours a day was about my limit. I don't think I could be productive at one of those writers' workshops where you go live in a cabin and write all day long. There has to be something else going on. So I guess it's a good thing that I am not independently wealthy.



  2. #12
    hank schlesinger
    Guest

    Welll...?

    know what? it doesn't ****in' matter if you're published or not. If emily d. were alive today she'd be sitting at home with the cats and not be trotting out to the cocktail parties to politic with agents/editors, drink white wine, and pack her nose in the john. . no cocktail parties for emily, virtual or otherwise. she'd be doing her thing. though she probably could stand to loosen up a bit. you know, get out and about a little more. the fakers eventually all leave for respectable jobs, unless there's a trust fund or a doctor-parent in their lives, in which case they can hang on forever and attend those cocktail parties etc. etc. i say let everyone have their say. i say that as a published writer. 35 books/120 magazine stories.

  3. #13
    Karen Malley
    Guest

    Welll...?

    It matters to *me* if I'm published or not. I also read a lot, and when I really like a book am grateful that that writer managed to break through. Our world is very different from Emily Dickinson's, and for most of us it's impossible to isolate ourselves in that way. (If she'd been born to another family, she may not have been able to do so, either). Also, it seems to me that she wasn't as anti-social as people tend to think. She put a lot of effort into "politicking" with editors via letters. Still, it is necessary to find *some* way to detach oneself in order to write well. Paradoxically, it's also important to find a way to connect--and that, for me, is getting published and having my work read. Published or not, though, anyone can have interesting things to say about "the art of writing."

  4. #14
    hank schlesinger
    Guest

    Welll...?

    malley seems to be the voice of reason. everyone can offer something interesting to say about writing. and, she seems to have expressed it in a more diplomatic manner than i managed. as for emily d. i still think she needed to get out and about a little more. if she were around today, i'd suggest she suck back a few beers and cut loose a couple saturday nights. hey, it couldn't hurt. as for only allowing published authors into a discussion, i can't imagine anything more boring. unless you like a weasel-infested group of ego-driven 1/2-talents.

  5. #15
    James Macdonald
    Guest

    Welll...?

    Yes, Karen, I've been writing full time, professionally, for the last eight years, supporting a car, a mortgage, and four kids on it. ]Before that, I spent fifteen years in the military, including some time in combat situations. ]Your concerns aren't mine. ]Jim

  6. #16
    hank schlesinger
    Guest

    Welll...?

    yo, Jim. Lighten up on her. She seems like a nice enough person, you know, likes emily d. and all. be a good guy and give karen a little encouragement. also, wow, you have car? i gotta switch agents! I'm kidding, kidding, okay?

  7. #17
    Karen Malley
    Guest

    Welll...?

    James: I don't understand "your concerns aren't mine." It sounds like I pissed you off (at least Hank seems to think so), but there's no body language in this medium, so I remain mystified by this comment. Hank: I have three cats, a husband, a grey 1991 Mercury Tracer with automatic seatbelts that seem to be possessed by evil spirits, and a computer. Oh, and a pair of jeans and a black turtleneck. No agent, though. Maybe you could introduce me to yours. I'll try not to be insulting, although it is against my nature. Oh, and, thanks for your words of support. It's nice to know someone thinks I'm reasonable, if only "virtually" so. I live in Amherst, Massachusetts, which is where Emily D. lived her whole life, just about. Once I visited her grave, and someone had left a Black Sabbath CD there for her. Apparently someone besides you, Hank, likes to imagine her as a partier.

  8. #18
    hank schlesinger
    Guest

    Welll...?

    Karen:Howdy! unfortunately, i've all but alienated my agent. last person i referred was a former special forces guy and maybe spook who was proposing book that was part of some off-the-wall stock swindle involving short-selling and possible blackmail against prominent family. Can't believe he held that against me. maybe another agent though. tell me what kind of stuff you write. The following came from a screenwriter friend in L.A. enjoy. "if EmilyD. were alive today, she'd be sucking back cherry meth and GBC and writing about her near psychotic experiences at writing workshops at Columbia University. My little "orange fx" vial Will last me quite a while. But the heavenly flower Is soon out of style And gone in an hour."

  9. #19
    Karenann Malley
    Guest

    Welll...?

    I like to think she wouldn't have been that cool. But hell, she's dead, so I guess she can be whatever we want her to be. If I visit her grave again, I could leave her an offering for you, if you'd like. I am finishing my first novel right now. It's got many, many characters, too many to mention, many many many, and I'm thinking of getting rid of some of them. Mark Twain wrote in his introduction to "Pudd'nhead Wilson" that he got rid of characters by writing in scenes in which the offending character went outside and fell down the well and drowned. Anyway, the central character is a photographer who was raped by a creepy family friend and had his child. She was only fifteen or so, and her mother brought her to live in another city and have the baby in secret. I enjoy coincidence, enjoy an awareness of a number of separate dramas happening in different places simultaneously, so of course while she's going through her whole thing there are other characters in other towns having their own situations. There's a French Canadian pyromaniac who works as a janitor at an elementary school and spends his spare time calling the children at the school on the phone and having whispered conversations with them. And a young girl who lives downstairs from him and whose parents just got divorced. She explores an abandoned factory with her best friend, who is the illegitimate daughter of the central character mentioned above. Etc. etc. Aren't you glad you asked? I enjoy a lot of conflict and chaos and simultaneous happenings. To my mind, that's what characterizes true creativity. And what do you write, Hank? Karen

  10. #20
    hank schlesinger
    Guest

    Welll...?

    Karen- anything that pays the rent. check out amazon.com under name L.V. Slyke, murder on the rocks. my own name for "everyday saints." Will N. Maxwell, Country Music Guide To Life. did an action adventure series called swag town, non-fiction cop book called Brooklyn Bounce. ghosted or writer-for-hire for about 15 books, westerns and non-fiction. advice:don't think so hard about "writing." conrad said something to the effect: thinking destroys perfection. also note, i'm relatively new to usenet. only other group i participate in is an economics group. more advice: don't let writerly humorless writers get you down with attitude. ****'em if they can't take a joke. keep writing.

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