Friday, February 12, 2010

The Writer's Porch

A writer's life may seem to be boring to some. I can't imagine anyone wanting to watch the Olympic Winter or Summer sport of writing. However, the writer's life does take twists and turns. The craft carries its own mysterious personality. Suddenly the writer can become the craft, and that is not a good thing. Let me explain.

Recently, I tried to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It just didn't hold my attention. BUT everyone I knew kept saying it was a wonderful book. So I decided to listen to it as the audio version. It IS wonderful. In the audio all the characters have separate voices. They are distinct and engaging. Especially the protagonist, Juliet. She's a writer who has found success and fame through her writing--yet there seems to be something missing. She decides to visit the island of Guernsey to meet all the people she has been corresponding with who live there. (It's set in post World War II).

I was listening to it on my own getaway to write for a few days. As I drove I heard these words of Juliet to her editor, Sydney, "All those people I've come to know and even love a little, waiting to see--me. An I without any paper to hide behind. Sidney, in these past two or three years, I have become better at writing than at living--and to think what you do to my writing. On the page, I'm perfectly charming, but that's just a trick I learned. It has nothing to do with me. At least, that's what I was thinking as the mail boat came toward the pier."

I hit pause, rewind and played that portion again. Hmm. . .something resonated in me with those lines. At times, I do feel that I have become better at writing than at living. A writer's life can be solitary. Also, with the changes in the publishing industry there is much marketing which has to be done. This often goes against the writer's nature, so they become someone who they are not.

After thinking about this for a day or two, I read this guest post on Rachelle Gardner's blog. I think it helps to clarify what a writer's life needs to look like, so that we stay true to ourselves and our readers.

What are your thoughts on the writing life? Can we lose ourself behind our writing?

Keeping the Heart-Print Faith,


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