Editor’s Corner 101.36

Slouching Towards Authordom – Writer, Know Thyself!

Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer.

But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth,

without pity, and destroy most of it.

…Colette

Scribe smallI am not going to talk about editing today, not in a usual sense. Today, I want to talk about much more difficult subjects: personal standards and honest self-appraisal.

We live in a world teeming with blogs and tweets, self-published e-books and vanity presses eager to capitalize on the desire for authorial recognition – for seeing one’s name in print.

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When I was a kid, we had the phone book to assuage that overwhelming urge, now it’s the wilds of Cyberia!

Cyberia

This is nothing short of remarkable. In a generation, we writers have entered a technological paradise, in which every person with a computer can not only write, but be read by legions of total strangers. Kudos are just a keystroke away, and beyond that the brass ring of potential discovery. It is when in the midst of more adulation than one gets at Christmas dinner that we must be most unsentimental with our own critical faculties. For, while new Cyberian paradigms let us flirt shamelessly with fame and fortune, they also entice us into slow-dancing with rampant self-indulgence.

(A diary, as Oscar Wilde said, is sensational train reading, but it is still a private thing, not shouted from the rooftops. Personally, I think we could use a little Victorian decorum back in our public lives.)

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The fact is, just as not every tablecloth scrawl Picasso did over a bottle of vin ordinaire is fit for the Louvre, not every thought that flits through our heads is fit for print. That doesn’t mean it’s not delightful and worthy in its own way. It might, like this Editor’s Corner, be well suited to a blog, but not rise to the standards of something for which you’re comfortable asking someone to lay out their hard-earned cash.

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And that’s ok. In the 21st century, the idea of a writer living a hermitic existence is passé at best. Unless you’re Stephen King or Thomas Pynchon, you have to be out there, a visible presence on Facebook and blogging, selling yourself as much as your books. And while we all need to have fun or rant or brag about our new kittens, what we put out there, in whatever form, shapes our public persona and – right or wrong – how people think about our work.

Thus, discrimination becomes the hallmark of our existence. Even before we look for an outside editor or an agent, we must look at our work, clear-eyed and with rigorous honesty, not only as to quality but also as to fit. Remember: while there is room for all sorts of expression in this brave new world, just because something can be sold on Kindle, doesn’t necessarily mean it should be. So know your standards and don’t be discouraged. Good work finds its niche; sometimes that niche is free. And that’s ok, too.

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In the midst of it all, we balance our at times paralyzing penchant for self-doubt, with an unquestionable need to be realistic about our abilities, creations, and audience. We learn to trust our inner voices, building strength to strength. Then, in our way, we will not have to lament, as Leonardo did, that we “have offended God and mankind because [our] work didn’t reach the quality it should have.”

I will try to respond to messages as I am able. At times it may be in the form of a post or a direct email response. Guests who post, I will forward messages addressed to them. It is up to them how they decide to correspond.   — Shawn MacKENZIE – MacKenzie’s Dragonsnest

‘A’ to ‘Z’ Writing Challenge #2 – “Another thing I remember…”

‘A’ to ‘Z’ Writing Challenge #2

“Another thing I remember…”

'a' to 'z' writing prompt poster

ANOTHER THING I REMEMBER

Another thing I remember
Beginning when I was young
Children should be seen
Don’t make a sound
Everything must be calm
Forget about play
Go to your room
Heard that phrase often
I was silent as a mouse
Just ask my cat
Kipper was my friend
Loved me most of all
Made me feel noticed
No one gave me time
One day she went away
Playing in Heaven now
Quietly I cried missing her
Running away came to mind
Staying with my family NEVER
Tortured was what I felt
Unless I could hide
Vultures surrounded me
Waiting for their pickings
X-rays for broken bones
Yet there was no concern
Zoning out was the only answer

by Jennifer Kiley
@occultguardian
‘the secret keeper’

‘A’ to ‘Z’ Writing Prompt Challenge #2 – “Another thing I remember…”

‘A’ to ‘Z’ Writing Prompt Challenge #2: “Another Thing I Remember…”

Beginning something new. 

The Writing Prompt Challenge I modified from a fellow blog mates Post, is titled: The ‘A’ to ‘Z’ Writing Prompt Challenge. It began with the #1 Challenge Phrase being: ‘A dark and stormy night…’ A New Phrase will begin with the letter ‘A’ and appear every Monday with a new #. One is to write a [Story, Poem, Essay, etc…Writers Choice] using the prompt as the beginning of the first sentence or line and each one following is to begin with the next letter of the alphabet, ‘B’ and ‘C’ until you reach the letter ‘Z’ or at least attempt to reach ‘Z’. If you are stumped or have finished then stop. The instructions will be placed at the top of each Writing Prompt Challenge. They are also on the Page “WRITING CHALLENGE” at the top of ‘the secret keeper’ blog in white lettering on the far right in the second row.

The following week after a Challenge I will Repost the CHOICE OF THE WEEK on my blog ‘the secret keeper’ after I have read through all the submissions. In order for me to locate your submissions, please leave a PING in the Comment Section of your ‘A’ to ‘Z’ Post or a LINK in the Comment Section with the Instructions in this POST on ‘the secret keeper’. Do whichever is easiest for you. Just be sure I can find your submissions. I hope you will find this a fun Challenge and have a Good Time Playing with the alphabet, awakening the creative in all of us.

The Challenge for the week of Monday June 29th 2015 is: ‘A’ to ‘Z’ Writing Prompt Challenge #2 – “Another thing I remember…” It will appear on ‘the secret keeper’ Monday June 29th 2015 @2:03AM EDT East Coast USA & if you are a follower of ‘the secret keeper’ it will be posted in your email that same day. The Challenge will close Midnight on the following Sunday Evening. The next Challenge will then be Posted on Monday @2:03AM EDT East Coast USA.

I will be participating, posting my submissions separate from the Instruction Page. It will be a Challenge for us all in many different ways.

'a' to 'z' writing prompt poster

RELAX. Let the ideas FLOW. Most of all have a GOOD TIME.

THE CHALLENGE:  ‘A’ to ‘Z’ Writing Prompt Challenge #2 – “Another thing I remember…”

Jennifer Kiley
the secret keeper

PS. Be sure to put the LINK to this POST somewhere toward the bottom of your own POST to each Challenge.

Perfecto!

A to Z Writing Challenge #1: A Dark & Stormy Night…

the secret keeper:

A to Z Writing Challenge #1: “A dark and stormy night…”
CHOICE WRITER OF THE WEEK is Shawn MacKenzie

Her story is written with a haunting Gothic flavor. Holding us inside the mystery.
And  Shawn succeeds grandly using the alphabet from A to Z with perfection.

To read the complete story go to Shawn’s Original Post of A to Z Writing Challenge #1.
The title and her name are the Link: “A Dark and Stormy Night…” by Shawn MacKenzie

THE CHOICE WRITER OF THE WEEK is Shawn MacKenzie

Originally posted on MacKENZIE's Dragon's Nest:

Here is my rather Gothic take on the A-Z Challenge #1:

A dark and stormy night hung over the moor like an Elsinor arras. Boughs bent near breaking, the trees whipped and dipped in a wind-tossed tarantella. Crazy for man or beast to be out in a night like this!

Driving down a hedge-lined road, ‘crazy’ Zandra searched of refuge from the torrential downpour. Each cottage she passed was locked tight and empty, as if the inhabitants had long since fled to higher ground. Far across a field, lights flickered through unshuttered windows, beckoning.stormy night

“Granville Grange” read the carved plaque to the right of the oaken door. Her hand grasped the massive brass knocker and gave it a solid thunk. Ignoring the rain running under the collar of her jacket, she shifted back and forth, waiting – hoping – for rescue.

Just as she was about to resign herself…

View original 202 more words

“Orpheo’s Mind”

Insula Orchestra – “Orpheo’s Mind”

Insula orchestra joins visual creative agency SUPERBIEN to make an abstract, dreamlike video work entitled Orpheo’s Mind on an excerpt from Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, the aria “Che puro Heaven.” This air, one of the most beautiful pages of Orfeo ed Euridice, interpreted by famous against-tenor Franco Fagioli Insula and orchestra under the direction of Laurence Equilbey.

The work of Insula orchestra and SUPERBIEN gives this work a double dimension: audio and visual. The viewer is transported by the hypnotic poetry celebrating the beauty and expressing space, the passage of time and the tumult of emotions experienced by Orpheus as it passes through the underworld.

The cloud hanging in the center of this audiovisual poem embodies spiritual enlightenment and ascension of the spirit. The video projected on the cloud and the light scattered within it are worked there as materials. Light lives only through the cloud of the prism whose structure consists of two complementary materials: transparent plexiglass angular contrasting with the more opaque wispy tulle. Add to this an ambient video projection strengthening the immersion of the viewer in the spirit of Orpheus. The combination of pure aesthetics of sculpture and beauty of the aria from Gluck says the modernity of all while supporting the poetry of the musical work.

Editor’s Corner 101.35

In Remembrance of a Writer Past…

Words. Words. I play with words, hoping that some combination, even a chance combination, will say what I want.
…Doris Lessing

Scribe smallThere come times when events beyond our control interfere with life and cause us to change plans. It is such a time here at the Editor’s Corner, where the stuff of life must take precedence over the stuff of blogs.

Rather than leave the space empty, though, I give you the words of one far wiser than I, an extraordinary author who died this past weekend: Doris Lessing.

Doris Lessing said once, “I’m just a story teller.” ‘Just’ implies a meager endeavor, and yet what higher calling is there? We should all aspire to be ‘just story tellers’ like she. She’s a difficult writer and, by many accounts, was a sometime-difficult woman, but her prose is clear and provocative, and her advice on reading, writing, and living are nuggets as golden as her Notebook.

Doris

Enjoy.

“A public library is the most democratic thing in the world. What can be found there has undone dictators and tyrants: demagogues can persecute writers and tell them what to write as much as they like, but they cannot vanish what has been written in the past, though they try often enough…People who love literature have at least part of their minds immune from indoctrination. If you read, you can learn to think for yourself.”

“There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag-and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty-and vise versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you.”

“A writer falls in love with an idea and gets carried away.”

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“You should write, first of all, to please yourself. You shouldn’t care a damn about anybody else at all. But writing can’t be a way of life – the important part of writing is living. You have to live in such a way that your writing emerges from it.”

“A story is how we construct our experiences.”

“You can only learn to be a better writer by actually writing. I don’t know much about creative writing programs. But they’re not telling the truth if they don’t teach, one, that writing is hard work and, two, that you have to give up a great deal of life, your personal life, to be a writer.”

“In the writing process, the more the story cooks, the better. The brain works for you even when you are at rest. I find dreams particularly useful. I myself think a great deal before I go to sleep and the details sometimes unfold in the dream.”

“That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.”

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“What’s terrible is to pretend that second-rate is first-rate. To pretend that you don’t need love when you do; or you like your work when you know quite well you’re capable of better.”

I will try to respond to messages as I am able. At times it may be in the form of a post or a direct email response. Guests who post, I will forward messages addressed to them. It is up to them how they decide to correspond.   — Shawn MacKENZIE – MacKenzie’s Dragonsnest