we fill the blank page
full of words with meaning
yet the blank means more
we fill the blank page
full of words with meaning
yet the blank means more
I read an article a good while back about a study that concluded that we humans tend to be more productive and creative during cooler weather periods than warmer weather periods. Now, I cannot speak to the veracity of the study; however, I can speak to the fact that from now (and maybe even sooner) until the end of summer, if not longer, yours truly will be significantly less productive and creative.
Consequently, in an effort to, if not cure, than at least offset my summertime productive blues, I ask for your assistance. I am asking all you Indie-types, be you an author, artist, photographer, whatever, to contribute a guest post to this blog discussing what it has been like for you to self-publish your work.
You are free to discuss your creative process, the logistical process, the publishing process, or whatever process you have gained insight to during your Indie experience that you feel will both interest and instruct us, and, ultimately, improve and enhance our own future Indie efforts.
Oh, and while you are at it, don’t forget to pitch to us the final product of your creative effort (book, artwork, photography, etc.) for which you wish us to purchase.
You can email me your submission through the Contact page and we’ll work together from there to get it posted.
The more submissions, the merrier. I expect it to be a long, hot unproductive summer for me so I hope you all are willing to help me to keep this blog active and interesting throughout.
Please include links to any pictures or products you’d like to include in your post and I’ll format them to your liking.
Our first guest author post in this series is by author Jason Greensides and it will be up tomorrow evening, Inshallah. In the interim, you can check out Jason’s work at jasongreensides.com.
Let me know if you have any questions.
And let the long lazy hazy unproductive days of summer begin!
It is my pleasure, privilege, and honor to present to you a whirlwind of wisdom and intrigue from the author of HAWSER, our IABS&R Volume 3 selection.
Or So You Say
by J Hardy Carroll
Tell me the truth, now.
You always dreamed of being a writer. Doesn’t matter whether your dream took the shape of Erica Jong in a penthouse sipping Moet while talking into a Dictaphone or Hemingway slouched over a café crème wearing down a stub pencil in a composition notebook.
Your dream isn’t of fame, of wealth or even of the admiration of your fellows.
No. Your dream is much simpler.
Your dream is to be paid for your unadulterated idea.
It is a strong dream, a storyteller’s dream, but it is a dream fraught with questions.
Who are you to tell a story?
What makes your idea worth anyone’s time?
How in God’s name can you call yourself a writer?
You know the facts. Writing badly is easy. It just comes. You’re so pleased with it. You are proud. Until you forget.
You forget that writing well is ridiculously hard, a series of tasks, many unrewarding and some downright unpleasant. Self-delusion lurks in every dark corner and all your worst tendencies get laid out naked on the slab in public view. Your clever clichés and trite situations and penchant to lecture form a kind of cesspool though which you wade, dragging for a story as though it was the body of a murder victim.
My, how you do go on.
But tell me the truth.
Secretly, you think you’re great. Admit it.
Well, maybe not great. Not yet. But good. Good enough to get published, anyway. Except for the fact that there aren’t any publishers these days willing to take a chance on somebody without an MFA from Iowa or Emerson or Columbia.
Or maybe it’s this: maybe you’re not so great. Maybe you are only great at lying to yourself.
So start another story. Maybe this time it will turn out better. Maybe this one will actually be something you can open in six months and read with a degree of pleasure or even pride.
Did you read that piece on Andre Dubus, about how he would take a year to write a single story, how he would trim 150 pages down to twenty, how one perfect sentence followed another?
Did you read about how Jack London pawned his bicycle for postage to send out his manuscripts only to have them come back months later with form rejection notices tucked inside the self-addressed stamped envelope?
Did you read about Annie Proulx writing cookbooks?
By the way, who in hell do you think you are?
You didn’t finish college. Your father was a professor who taught Chaucer and Beowulf and who never wrote anything down. You dedicated your first novel to him but he died before he got a chance to read it. In his life he finished only one short story, the one about his father called My Father’s Dreams that you read when you were in high school, the one that made you cry and wonder why your dad didn’t write more.
Or at all. Your dad could talk an acorn into an oak, but he never could finish anything. How many stories did he start and never finish?
Is this about him? Is that all there is to the dream? No? What, then?
Don’t give me that shit about how when you first read Faulkner, hacked your way though the twisted vines of his prose only to find yourself lost in a thicket, befuddled and a little angry, how you went back and started again, trying hard to not be bored, trying hard to be smart, trying not to give up and re-read that Trevanian book instead.
Don’t give me that shit about Faulkner being hard because there was that afternoon when you realized what the story was about, when you saw that the pattern of random rocks in the road was a secret code of musical notes scoring a symphony that only grew in richness over the span of years.
Don’t give me that shit about Vonnegut, either, about how you read Breakfast of Champions at the age of sixteen when you were so depressed you wanted to kill yourself. Don’t tell me that reading that book made you decide to go to the hospital instead of jumping off the parking structure of the Pioneer Hotel. The part where you were going to be polite and wrap yourself in garbage bags so as not to make too much of a mess is pretty funny—irony—but I still don’t want to hear it.
You know what? I don’t care. I don’t care what makes you want to do this thing. I am not interested in your ambitions to have people read your work. People read your work all the time, read it and like it.
I’m not interested in your quest for a perfection you will never achieve, not interested in your heroes or even your opinions on truth, war, love, loss, fatherhood, death or any of it.
So what, then? What interests me?
I’ll tell you.
It’s the act of writing. Writing every day, writing something. Think of the hummingbird. Think of the shark. Think of the way your heart is beating away in your chest at this very moment. No rest. Ever onward.
Don’t give me your reasons. Don’t give me anything. Don’t think about it. Don’t think at all.
Empty yourself out and get to it. You can think about it later.
And by God, you probably will, too.
IF I WERE QUEEN* OF THE WORLD…
[Thoughtful Thursday Prompt]
If World’s Queen were I
Nature’s Reign would never die
On Her I’d rely
For today’s prompt…
Queens* of the World, tell us in a rhyming haiku what cause you are most passionate about.
The 5/7/5 syllable count must be adhered to.
Special consideration for those submissions accompanied by an original relevant photograph or artwork. Copyright responsibilities are assumed by the contributor.
And if I may have a quick word with my male friends…
Dudes, I hope your lack of participation in last Thursday’s prompt had nothing to do with the fact you must assume responsibilities as Queens of the World. I mean, come on… We forced our non-gender specific maleness down everyone’s throat, so to speak, in our literature since the beginning of the written word so it’s time for you to man* up and get over it already and let us know how you would make the world a better place if you lorded* over it as a Queen*.
It should be noted that, as stated in the Disclaimer page and the Relating to Humans guidelines, a “Like” by me does not necessarily mean I like or endorse a submitted work. My “Like” is foremost intended as a means of acknowledging a submission; though chances are pretty good I may like it, as well.
I like those beer commercials that were airing a couple years ago about how it was only weird if it didn’t work.
If that isn’t one of the most true and profound beer commercials in the history of beer commercials then I don’t know what is…
I mean, if we do something strange or have a less than normal personality, then we are automatically labeled as weird. But have someone rich and/or famous exhibit the same behavior then it immediately goes from not working and being weird to working and being, you guessed it, eccentric.
Eccentric… What every weirdo strives to become.
Imagine an average joe* walking down, not the red carpet, but the average city street in a dress made of meat… I doubt the eccentric defense will work well with the average city cop.
Yet another example of the long, hard, enduring struggle between the classes…
But if you think about it, weird ain’t easy to do. It’s hard to go against the grain, against convention. Normal is so easy, welcoming. We’ve been doing normal for most of our lives and it now is hard not to do it.
Don’t get me wrong, normal is cool. Whoever invented it was a genius – and I suspect female – for how else to get us stupid men from bashing in each other’s stupid heads with clubs and rocks and whatever else we could get our hands on than to create a system where such behavior is strange, odd – not normal.
So I’m all in for normal, while knowing very well that weird is where the action is.
So, for today’s Weird Wednesday prompt…
Put together something – a poem, an essay, flash fiction, a drawing, whatever – stream of consciousness perhaps, whatever – something less than normal, something against convention, but something that, at least in your mind, is normal and as conventional – and preferable, enlightening to all – as can be.
My guess is, it won’t be easy…
And I suspect Josh Wrenn, the author of yesterday’s Tanka Tuesday selection, just may be tapping into some of that brandy he waxed so poetically about for some weird inspiration.