Shoveling? Thirty inches delivered over the weekend, and another twelve due for midweek.
Writing? Dani Shapiro, novelist and memoirist, pens a powerful, must-read essay pubbed in today's LA TIMES She describes the uncertainty of creating a writing career; indeed, she tells her new students that their degree will guarantee them nothing.
Indeed, as she states, "Every single piece of writing I have ever completed -- whether a novel, a memoir, an essay, short story or review -- has begun as a wrestling match between hopelessness and something else, some other quality that all writers, if they are to keep going, must possess.
Call it stubbornness, stamina, a take-no-prisoners determination, but a writer at work reminds me of nothing so much as a terrier with a bone: gnawing, biting, chewing, until finally there is nothing left to do but fall away."
I've been pondering the MFA lately, whether to pursue some formal education in the science and art of writing. But even though a recent small inheritance puts the degree in financial shooting sight, Shapiro's essay makes me queasy; I still haven't defined what writing 'success' means for me.
Why I write varies each day I pound the keyboard. The days my characters or my plot or my inability to spit out words with more than one syllable make me want to heave my laptop through the window and make ruby red jars of raspberry jam; after all, how wonderful to actually produce something tangible, useful, and valued? Then there are times when words are the only thing that anchor me.
Like The Week Before My Father Died. My grief poured out that week, and still manifests itself in stories, poetry, other scribblings. This essay, an entry in the EDITOR UNLEASHED "Why I Write" contest*, sums up best why I write.
If YOU write, why? If not, why not? Peace, Linda
*Essays are open to popular voting through February. You must be a registered member of the EDITOR UNLEASHED forums. I appreciate your honest vote. While there, please ponder the other essays describing this madness called writing.
Photograph taken by my husband Henry.