I woke up early this morning worrying about my dear friend Debbie Nance. I think about her a lot lately. She is an amazing woman and I hate she is so sick.
This is the last day of a writing workshop with Steve Fraser. It’s been going so well.
Steve is smart, funny and loves terrific writing.
My dear friends, Brenda and Cheryl, have been sending me things to post. However, I’ve not done a great job what with school and, well, I haven’t posted in days.
So, here are a few things they’ve had to say:
Do you want to be a writer? Or do you want to be a reader? I’m one of those who wants to be both. Unfortunately, if something has to “go” in my daily schedule, it is too often the reading! I need to buck up my resolve in this regard, so listen to these knowledgeable people:
“The main suggestion from me is READ. It is impossible for a writer to be able to write honestly and eloquently without having at one time or another acquainted himself with such writers as Sir Thomas Browne.” ~ William Styron
“Read as may of the great books as you can before the age of 22.” ~ James Michener (wish I’d seen THAT sooner ! ! !)
“Read, read, read. Read everything —trash, classics, gook and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.” ~ William Faulkner
“If you would be a reader, read; if a writer, write.” Epictetus
Rachel Carson is credited with having said (or, more probably, written) “The discipline of the writer is to learn to be still and listen to what his subject has to tell him.” I’m hoping Boudica, my main character, or at least Veleda, my narrator, will be telling me a good deal in the next several weeks and months, as I work on an historical novel which has been on the back burner for a number of years.
I did hours and hours of research “back in the day” over a stretch of possibly two or three years. I even wrote an (absolutely TERRIBLE) screen play on this story. It was so bad, I’m afraid that’s what has made me let it lie dormant ever since. (I will NEVER write another screen play!)
But now, in 2016, it’s whispering to me again. Urgently enough to persuade me to put other, smaller projects on hold for a change, and deal with the whispers.
Oh, I still have to fix the occasional meal, spend time with my husband, take care of my daughter, try to reach my grandson who may be in Afghanistan or Iraq by now, water my houseplants, do the laundry.
Meanwhile, there are the whispers. Whispers from Boudica’s severed head, and from her daughter, Veleda, who carries her mother’s story wherever she goes. And now, it seems, they have entrusted it to me. It’s only been almost two-thousand years. I’m listening.
And what – or who – is whispering, urgently, to you?
I’m reading a book that’s been on my “to be read” list for a long time. It’s a modern classic by a bestselling author. But so far, it’s somewhat lackluster.
I understand why people like it. It has great worldbuilding and pretty cool magic. But I’m not connecting to the characters. I know which ones I’m supposed to like and which ones I’m supposed to boo. But right now, they could all die in a fiery crash and I’d shrug my shoulders and move on.
What is it that connects us to characters? Similar life circumstances, maybe. Similar reactions or outlooks on life, perhaps. But for me, I need a degree of vulnerability. I need to feel that they are scared sometimes, like me. I need to know there is insecurity. I need to know they’re human.
What is it that makes you connect with a character?