Professionalism

Widdershins On Red VelvetWe work bloody hard, we Writers. We don’t have a union to guarantee us a livable wage. Almost all of us have ‘day jobs’ to put the roof over our heads and food on the table.

We’re one of the best organised professions, yes, professions, ever. Everything we ever need to know about all aspects of our craft is somewhere in the interwebz, or in the resources section of our local libraries. We, in general, help each other up rather than tear each other down.

… so, when someone makes a comment like this, I get steamed.

Every sunday evening The Writers Chatroom has a regularly scheduled Guest Speaker. Two Sundays ago it was a bloke by the name of John Yamrus who writes poetry. Not that he calls himself a poet. He’d rather be a plumber than a poet.  He finds being called a poet ‘degrading and limiting’.#

# Source – Lisa Hazleton’s Reviews and InterviewsInterview with Writer and poet John Yamrus

 This is the verbatim text of his response to a question I asked that evening in the Chatroom:

4:19 PM [Widdershins] … what is it about the genre/format(poetry) that speaks to you as a means of telling your ‘songs and dances’?

4:20 PM [john yamrus] i think the thing that keeps me going at this (i’ve been publishing for 42 years now) is that i’m still capable of surprising myself. when i can’t do that anymore, when it’s no longer any fun, i’ll take up house painting. done

 4:21 PM [redacted] LOL

 4:21 PM [redacted] house painting sounds fun

4:21 PM [john yamrus] and it’s more honest work, too. done

It was an off-the-cuff remark, intended (I hope) to be funny, and in keeping with the persona he portrays in his interviews. It didn’t do a thing for me, but I thought at the time, ‘What the hey, everyone’s entitled to their opinions’.

They I thought about it some more.

When the Writers Chatroom opens it’s doors twice weekly, an eclectic mix of writers gather. All sorts of genres are represented, and the writers themselves are at all levels of experience. (there’s also usually a great selection of yummy eatables on a table at the back of the room)

I wondered if someone, standing quietly to one side of the room, or sitting in the very first row scribbling notes furiously, heard that comment and thought to themselves, if someone who’s been in the business that long, and with so many pieces published (do a search of his name and you’ll see what I mean) thinks that his chosen profession is less honest than house painting, then maybe I’m in the wrong business.

I’m not saying we should coddle or lie to ourselves and each other, about how bloody hard this work is. That would be a grave disservice, and no, there aren’t fancy degrees from prestigious universities and colleges that will guarantee us a living wage, but writing is an HONEST, valued, essential, PROFESSION.

Without writers (of poetry, of fiction, of self-help, technical manuals, non-fiction, prose, plays, screenplays, travel guides – I could go on but you get the point) our society wouldn’t function in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed.

For those of you who have doubts, or feel vaguely guilty that you don’t have a day ‘real’  job, or steal minutes away from other demands on you time because you MUST write, do not let anyone (including those pernicious inner voices) convince you that you are somehow ‘less than’ because you’ve chosen to join the HONOURABLE PROFESSION of WRITER.

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“It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it”  – Anais Nin – 1903-1977

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“Some critics will write ‘Maya Angelou is a natural writer ‘– which is right after being a natural heart surgeon” Maya Angelou

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Cornucopia I

Widder With a Glint in her Eye

Widder With a Glint in her Eye

This Sunday 9th December, 7pm ET (4pm my time!) I am the guest author at The Writers Chatroom.

Please drop by, say, “Hi”, and join in the fun.

This link will take you right to The Writers Chatroom log in page. Enter a username, and click on ‘sign in’. You don’t need a password. Every Sunday there’s a guest author and every Wednesday is a writerly themed open chat.

And … I’ve been a little distracted from my writing of late so, rather than stress about producing half-assed work I’ve put my writing projects into stassis until after Winter Solstice, 21st December. This includes ‘Identical’, my blog serial. It’ll start up again on 1st February, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!

The Solstice is when the New Year begins for me, and with it comes a blast of energy that I plan to tap into.

-ooOoo-

 

I don’t know a lot about Rubens as an artist, (apart from what I just read in his Wikipedia entry)  except that he tended to paint women with flesh on their bones. For that alone he gets my admiration!

 

The Goddess Abundantia with a Cornucopia by Rubens

The Goddess Abundantia with a Cornucopia by Rubens

Cornucopia, also known as the Horn of Plenty, symbolises abundance, in all things.

I visualise it as another realm of existence, where all things exist simultaneously. All we, here on this Mortal/Physical Realm need to do is discover the skills to manifest here with us. Dead easy, right?

Laugh

Anyway, ‘cos this post is about a whole lotta stuff, whose only connection to each other is that they caught my attention, I decided to go with ‘Cornucopia’ as a title, rather than, ‘Whole Lotta Stuff’!

-oOo-

First up: My publisher Eternal Press, is having a sale. 25% off any eBook, until 31st December. Use this code at the checkout: 129BHMVNZH1F … Formats available: epub (Nook compatible, pdf, mobi (Kindle compatible), lit (Microsoft Reader), and pdb (Palm)

-oOo-

Next: If you’d like to make any sense of what happened in the publishing world over the last little while Anne R. Allen has a wonderful post from an indie/self publishers Point of View with the fabulous title: Indie Publishing in 2013: Why We Can’t party Like It’s 2009 … Well worth a read.

-oOo-

Thirdly: Women And Words  is having a ’12 Day Hootenanny’ starting on 12th December. All you have to do is leave a comment and you go into a draw for books by the Authors listed at the bottom of the post.

-oOo-

Nextly: For WordPress Blogistas, WPbeginner has posted about very cool plugin where you can draw doodles or add drawings when you comment on WordPress blogs,strangely enough titled, ‘How to Allow Users to Add Drawing or Doodles in WordPress Comments’!

-oOo-

Lastest: An alternate ending for The Wizard of Oz.  Take it away Dorothy …

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“After all, to the well organised mind, death is the next great adventure” Albus Dumbledore, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone   by J.K. Rowling

 

Two Years Ago Today …

… I blogged for the first time, right here!

This is how that first post looked. (I’ve added a few bells and whistles since then) It’s a lovely little story about the possibilities of flight.

These years of being a blographer, have been a wonderful flight through the soaring updrafts, and near-earth collisions of my becoming a published author; have chronicled my move from being an urban Vancouverite to an island in the middle of Widderlake dwelling country gal; have offered me the great privilege of making some wonderful frogs. (friends on blogs)

Thank you all for being there and listening, and engaging.

While I’m in a ‘thankyou-ing’ frame of mind …

To Audrey Shaffer (of The Writers Chatroom fame) for her fabulous introductory course in how to build your author brand and platform. That was what kickstarted me into this blog in the first place.

To my wife, Mrs Widdershins, with whom (as I stated on the dedication page of Mortal Instinct) all things are possible.

The best thing though, has been finding my writerly voice. Posting something meaningful once a week (on and off) has been a challenging adventure that I wouldn’t’ve missed for quids.

Tomorrow a new cycle begins, with Episode 1 of my blogserial, Identical. I hope you enjoy the ride.

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“Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words” Plautus – 254-184 BC, Roman playwright.

 

Widdershins Writerly News

I have a guest post at The Writers Chatroom  blog, titled, ‘Losing your W.O.O.’ . Where, not only do I wax eloquent, I also have a book giveaway. If you leave a comment you’ll go into a draw for a paperback copy of Mortal Instinct’. To be drawn in the Writers Chatroom chat on Wednesday 3rd November.

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I’ve finished Episode 1 of my blog serial, ‘Identical’. All that’s left to do is a line edit (or two, or five) then I’ll post it next Friday, 28th.

All comments welcome.

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And … a spot of World Writerly News:

Registration closes on 30th September for the free Muse Online Writers Conference. Which runs from 8th to the 14th October.

I pitched my novel to my publisher at the conference a couple of years ago, and look at me now!

There are forums, workshops, pitch sessions, and chats galore.

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“it would be a bitter cosmic joke if we destroy ourselves due to atrophy of the imagination” Martha Gellhorn, 1908-1998 – journalist and novelist.