“As a society we need professional writers to crystalize ideas, to make us see things in new ways, to create understandings of who we are as people, where we are today, and where we’re going.” ― Mary Rasenberger, Executive Director of The Authors Guild
A good friend recently admitted, “I don’t always read your newsletters.” I congratulated her on the honest feedback. At my age the preference for truth outweighs the need for compliments. Although people may want to “see things in new ways” more than ever during these contentious days, do they read what anyone writes? Why do I persist?
Having lived with doubt for decades, I’m not easily dissuaded. Writing is my calling. I love it. The thoughtful words of other authors inspire me daily. I won’t deny the lovely feelings when readers tell me what my stories meant to them but I’ve committed to doing this anyway. Encouraging others to be brave gives me great satisfaction.
Doing this strictly for money would be ridiculous. Only 300 fiction authors in the US make enough to live on from their writing alone, according to a recent article. Cheryl Strayed, author of the best-selling WILD memoir admitted, after investing in her creative writing masters degree, “Well, I might make zero, or I might make $5 million!… But I would have written my books whether I was paid for them or not.”
Despite full awareness of the terrible odds, I hung out my shingle, published my work, and declared myself an author. And a mystic. The second informs the first. All writers must face the fact that our work may not be valued or supported enough for us to survive by our pens alone. Teaching, speaking, and other jobs fill in that gap. Remaining a writer, year after year, requires an odd mix of hubris and humility. To make our offerings, it helps to surrender attachments to particular outcomes. This is where being a mystic comes in handy.
You can look up the meaning of mystic or ask me directly. Formal definitions include those who believe in the possibility of attaining insight into the mysteries, transcending ordinary human knowledge, as by direct communication with the divine or immediate intuition in a state of spiritual ecstasy. A person initiated into religious mysteries, who seeks truths beyond the intellect.
Being a mystic is its own reward. No amount of money can purchase transcendence. When my best writing comes, I call it taking divine dictation, grateful that it originates beyond the scope of my small ego self. In 1996, this is how the Wisdom Wheel arrived, after I dared to ask the Universe for guidance about my work. I’ve discovered not many ask for wisdom. Entertainment and escapism yes, real wisdom, not so much. I’d love to be proven wrong!
To test this assumption, email me to order my Gifts of Wisdom perpetual calendar. Each is quoted on their birthday. For $19.95 I will personally put this labor of love in the mail to you. Surprise me!
Rosanne Romiglio at cleanclearcreative.com is helping me redo my author website, which took priority this month. The graphics for the Wisdom Wheel book are also coming along. We are currently seeking 10 volunteers. To demonstrate how priorities change over time in peoples’ lives, we are collecting stories. If you are ready to see your life reimagined in entirety, on the Great Spiral of the Wisdom Wheel, please contact me.
The second memoir word count grows, slowly but steadily. All the hair pulling and teeth gnashing it took to learn to write the first memoir is paying dividends now. Knowing what readers want more of, and how to assemble scenes into chapters, is making this one easier to write. We are looking at publishing dates for both books. Stay tuned.
Covid continues to play havoc with our in-person plans yet life goes on thanks to Zoom. Tomorrow is the virtual 25th Anniversary celebration of Lisa Guillette’s Foster Forward non-profit. Please donate. The fundraiser auction includes 10 copies of The Importance of Paris. The lucky winner gets these for their book club members. I promise to attend their gathering via Zoom to answer all questions. If you are looking to fundraise, or plan something fun for your group, let’s talk. Bulk ordered copies are mailed at a discount.
Several ongoing Zoom groups are meeting regularly:
Every Saturday morning 10:30 am, Westerly Writing group
Every other Wednesday evening 6pm, Book Writers group
Every Monday evening 7pm, Zoom Lodge
Those serious about getting stories written and published can also join The Story Circle Network and the National Association of Memoir Writers. Having participated for many years in both organizations I can vouch for their lasting impact.
In honor of the Autumn Equinox we hold our next Lodge ceremony Sunday, September 20th. Updates concerning Covid restrictions and complete calendar for 2021 can be found on our HOPE-HOUSE Facebook page. We continue to experiment with a limited number of regular participants doing their own rounds.
A hearty Happy Birthday to all our Libra friends whose celebrations soon begin. Having Forgiveness as your Birth Law, I leave you with this quote.
“Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.” ― Christopher James Gilbert, better known by his pseudonym Criss Jami