Speaking of which, some of you are having a hard time subscribing -- as in, you're getting a bunch of gobbly-dee-gook that only a hacker could understand. I've tried a couple of things to change that and will continue to until everyone can comment smoothly and nobody misses word of a new post. If any of you are Typepad savvy, will you shoot me an email? I bet Jane Austen never had issues like this.
Which leads me to our first topic: The Dream. Ever seen the film Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris? (All fiction writers should). The protagonist, played by Owen Wilson ( because he's the only one who can pull off the lead in a Woody Allen script besides Woody Allen) longs so much for the writerly life the expatriate writers in Paris led in the 1920's, he's actually taken back to that era every night at, well, midnight. If you're a fan of that era, it's hard not to get caught up in it with him. Come on, F. Scott Fitzgerald? Ernest Hemingway? Gertrude Stein? (played by Kathy Bates, because who else could do it, right?)
But by the end of the film we learn, as does the main character, that the dream life of the Lost Generation was more of a nightmare. The same can probably be said of the Saturday Club writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson who had to write everything longhand --
the Inklings of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien fame who pounded out their great works on typewriters -- the Bloomsbury crowd -- we're talking Virginia Woolf etc. -- who were brilliant and deeply messed up. We can dream of doing the whole Louisa May Alcott thing, writing through the night in the attic with a quill pen, yet we know the reality of the writing life is far less romantic.
And yet, we dream. We dream because writing is so much of what makes us ... us. We dream because the whole idea of writing powerful stories and profound non-fiction won't leave us alone. We dream because God inserts the gift and the desire right in our gut next to our hearts and livers and gall bladders (how's THAT for romantic?) We dream because we can't not.
So does that mean it's ridiculous to dream? If you ask your father who wants you to do something sensible so you can support yourself, or that CPA in your life who doesn't get it, yes, they'd say it was right up there with wearing stilettos to a basketball game.
But if you ask any person who loves to find just the right image (like "her eyes pearled with tears", which one of my clients recently wrote) -- who jots down notes on cocktail napkins when she hears that perfect phrase in the conversation (like, "I just wanted to chew glass," which another of my clients overheard and put into the mouth of a character) -- who wrings her hands until she knows how her story will end ... that person will tell you dreaming is the only thing that really makes sense.
So today we aren't going to stare the harsh realities in the face. That would be like looking in the mirror at 5:00 a.m., being horrified by what you see, and returning to bed, never to rise again. Today we're going to coax the dreams out and fluff them up and stand back and admire them. Today we're going to tell each other about them, admit that we have a vision of ourselves as authors and artists.
Let's do that, here in our safe community. I'll go first:
I lived out my writing dream in the 90's and until the Great Recession of 2008. It dwindled until 2016 and withered after that. But God wouldn't leave it -- or me! -- alone and so it's been revived. I dream of writing four novels in what's called the Footnotes Collection. I want to pursue publication in the general market, something I haven't done. I want the collection to be part of my ongoing vision of encouraging women in the living of spiritually creative lives. And I sure wouldn't mind doing some of that from St. Thomas, V.I. Just sayin'.
Tell us yours. You'll get no LOLs. No eye rolls. No head pats (does anybody actually do that?) You'll get support -- because if you dream crazy, you'll find the rest of us do too.
CALLING ALL ...
In many posts I'll call for certain things to use with upcoming topics. In the next two weeks, (by April 11) will you email me a picture of your writing space? It doesn't have to be a state of the art office. It may be a corner of your bedroom or the bag you pack to take to Panera where you writing table is always waiting. Just attach it to an email to me.
Now, literally Dream On.