Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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The Writer Interviews Herself:

What's been up lately?

Let's see, got the settlement on my car's wreck. I'm keeping the car, and still have to get it fixed. My cold has slowed me down.

Cold?

I've finally recovered from my cold, with the help of Biaxin and Albuterol. The inhaler was an interesting experience. I understand now, a little how it is to be asthmatic; you have to carry your inhaler everywhere, or have limited breath. When I was singing as a kid, I learned how to inhale deeply, "with the diaphram" as Mrs. Brenda told us. I seriously felt the lack of oxygen.

As Jon says, it's all material. Maybe one of the characters in my novel will be asthmatic.

Yes, novel. My little novela is growing up.

It's maturity is one of the side effects of meeting with successful writers and editors-at-large at Bread Loaf. Everyone said, "Novellas don't sell." and "Present tense sounds like young-adult fiction." So, my present-tense novella/story collection is now a past-tense novel with 16 chapters.

I've also spent a lot of time on the couch, working on my poetry chapbook. FYI, that's a "small book or pamphlet containing poems, ballads, stories, or religious tracts." The fall contests are coming up, and I'd like to shoot for the brass ring.

Getting back to the writing, the work, is ... fun. There's no other word. It's the only activity I can sustain; it's the only one I keep coming back to. All because it's fun to me.

But putting your little epistles out there is akin to sending your child to school for the first day. (I feel your pain, Chel.) At least, that's the closest I've gotten to the feeling, yet. Imagine, if you will, sending your kid to school with the possibility of having her returned to you, a pre-printed note pinned to her saying only that she's been rejected, rarely with a reason why. Occasionally, she will return with a tantilizing, hand-written addition explaining (in 10 words or less) how she might be improved to try again.

Still, you have to keep sending your kids to school, rejection or no. So you keep plugging away, sending out your little poems to markets, reviews, and online pubs, hurting a little each time they come back, unpublished and unsung.

So why write?

Well, writing is its own reward, but it's no fun writing in a vacuum. Writers ultimately believe they tell a good/meaningful/worthy story, and want it to be heard. It's hubris, really, to think people might enjoy hearing what we have to say. (Introvert and extrovert writers alike want to be heard, an interesting bridge between extremes.) For me, the answer to the question why try to publish is academic: "Why not?"

The lifestyle appeals to me, and it's the only thing I'm really trained for.

Now that I've devoted some time to writing, I want to devote more. I even took my work to my first 'Skins game Friday. I just couldn't leave it at home. Not that I actually had time to work on it. Can't read well in the car; hermana mia knows why. I just couldn't let go of it.

And that's a good thing?

Absolutely. My attachment to it is exactly what sustains my determination to keep at it. Somehow, though, life keeps creeping in.

Life?

Now that I've no reason to "apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair," i.e., my cold, I've got to get back to the housework piling up around me. Not to mention the work on the house.



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