Our Mission Statement:

The mission of Pens & Pages Writers Guild is to facilitate and encourage writers of all genres, to share resources and tips about the writing process and, most of all, to provide a positive and productive forum that will encourage and support each writer in his or her creative endeavors.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Writer's OTHER Full-Time Occupation

Most any "On Writing..." book published, whether authored by a famous-name Fiction author or by an academic author, will mention -- almost as an aside the fact is so unanimously understood -- that 'real' writers are also serious readers. I've come nowhere near consuming every single "On Writing..." book ever written and yet I will stick my neck out and say nearly every single one will, at very least, allude to writers being nearly tireless readers.

I invite any and all to provide me evidence to the contrary; I will happily admit I was wrong. But we'll both know I was actually RIGHT, because the author of the work you cite will have simply edited their own oblique or pointed statement to the effect of 'writers are readers' as it would be superfluous to state an obvious fact, anyway... and they needed to bring the word count in a little.

I'm the one who snapped up Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott from the Library after our meeting on Tuesday. But don't worry, those of you who were hoping to be next in reading it -- I'm already nearly half through it and will get it back to the Library in a timely fashion.

I mention Lamott's book, not to rub anyone's nose in the fact that Nyah-nyah, I got the book! but because she mentions the 'writers are readers' adage in her book -- which is very good, by the way -- a couple of times in a couple of different ways.

Anne Lamott really likes reading. And writing. And her son Sam. She's extremely relateable. I like her, I like her book, and I really like her take on writing. And reading.

I'm in something of a slump, actually. 'Well, duh!' those of you at Tuesday's meeting might be saying to yourself! Not that I'm the center of the universe or anything, but my face? She does not lie. I don't mean to insinuate that everyone was looking at me and paying attention to me and wondering what was up with me... Only that I tend to eminate my feelings in such a way that -- for those around me -- it's kind of like trying to dodge the fine mist issuing forth when someone sneezes. Only like, emotionally. So, yeah.

What I like about Lamott? She is like me. She is in over her head, confused, full of "psychological illnesses" (her ...well, if not her exact words, it's at least her concept), and all sorts of insecurities and shortcomings.

Which makes her a FABULOUS writer.

Reading Bird by Bird is like going back to the "Square One" that Heather Seller's Page after Page (huh. Bird by Bird ... Page after Page ... hmmm -- similar titles, there. Anyway -- back to the thought -- ) rescued me from almost two years ago when I was knee-deep in a deja-vu like slump as well.

Do you ever get into one of those? What does it feel like? How do you describe it? -- Here's how I describe it: Shane Falco, describing 'Quicksand'. The most important question, however, is How do you get out of it?

Well, I've obviously answered the first question, twice over (at least) just in the time I've been a member of PnP! As for the second question... well, it feels like... well, I cannot say for sure how it feels to have a limb amputated or to be paralyzed, so I'll have to go with that awful 'pins and needles' feeling you get when a limb falls asleep. As to describing it... well in addition to the 'Quicksand' quote, see the previous answer. (I'm nothing if not redundant and repetitive.)

As for the last, most important question? Well, I think I'm in the midst of developing a strategy... I think I'm going to buy those "On Writing..." books that I find especially inspirational, especially uplifting... and when I hit a slump, I'm going to close my eyes, do an eenie-meenie-mynie-moe and pick one.

Then I'm going to do that thing that Every Writer Does, and read.

1 comment:

DJ said...

I'm glad you found the book as motivating as I did. Like you, it was the exaggerated insanity and flaws of the author that help me believe there is hope for me as a writer too. :-)