Joy is in the process.
Gratitude in purpose.
Joy is in the process.
Gratitude in purpose.
I’m not sure if all people begin to heal from writing, but it does happen. Once a person gives their stories air, light, voice – they begin to heal from whatever was hurting and holding them back.
Many years ago, when I was in school. A woman showed up late to class. She could barely walk, used a cane, struggled to a seat and didn’t speak for half the semester. Then, one day, she spoke.
Maybe it’s important to tell you about the class. It was a women’s studies class. The instructor gave voice through stories, studies, lectures, and guest speakers to women’s issues, including what we call today the #metoo movement.
For most of the semester the beautiful woman, long hair, tight lipped, rarely smiled, spoke even less, barely moved and every little moment seemed to drop into depths of pain.
Then one day, she spoke up. She said, about ten years earlier she had been raped by her husband’s best friend. If you tell, he warned her, I’ll tell your husband that came on to me and it was consensual. Afraid of not being believed, afraid of losing her husband and her son, she remained quiet, believing she could push down the shame and pain.
The class was stunned into silence that the woman could share such a secret with us. The instructor hugged her and thanked her for being brave enough to share with us.
None of us knew the power of her statements.
The following week she moved with much more ease, and by the end of the month she showed up without the cane.
She shared that since she’d let that secret out, she’d been feeling better. Her mysterious mobility issues, the serious pain that had riddled her body for years, was dissipating.
I believe, she told the class, it was the pain of that secret that was locking into my own body.
She felt freed.
Writers often talk about needing to write. Stories need to be told. Secrets need to be shared. There’s a healing power for the teller and the listeners.
I actually began this blog today to talk about my story “The Healer” in How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party. But this isn’t that story. There are many times of healing in that book, but this story wasn’t mine. It was hers. But it taught me something about healing and releasing stories which might hurt us or hold us back.
I sincerely understand when print journals ask for a reading fee of a few dollars. Print journals do not sell well, they have a staff, and some of the ones on the “best literary journals” get many more submissions than they can use. As well, if they are using submittable, the larger print journals have to pay a fee to use the service.
Submission fees can range from $1 to $10. I’ve seen some as high as $20 or $25 for a submission of a short story. I call bullshit.
I understand a reading fee of $5.00 or under. $10.00 is questionable. But then – more than that – No. No. And no.
Especially for an online literary journal run by one or two people. I’m not saying they don’t deserve to earn money. I am saying I don’t think they should be charging writers that much to read their fiction, poetry, or memoir.
There’s one website run by a single person – I won’t publically shame them – who has “contests” nearly every month. This person charges between $7.00 and $10.00 for each contest and offers minimal feedback; however, I have yet to see one print journal even though her copy says, winners will be published in the journal.
I have no idea how many people fall for that.
Research the journal carefully and ask yourself what you’re supporting. If you believe in what they are doing – then by all means pay the fee. Don’t pay a fee in desperation of being published. If you’re good, publication will come.
Okay, so not bragging, but….. I’ve been hard at work….
The Healer’s Daughter in The Ear
The Healer’s Daughter is a departure for me. It marks a turns in my writing that came about just this year. It’s more mystical. Risky, maybe. A woman’s daughter describes her mother’s gift and discovers she has her very own gift, but will she actually use it?
The Healer’s Daughter will be featured in my summer release of How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party. It’s a book of short stories, all of which have a special or surprising twist.
Friends, Lovers, and Liars in Home Renovation
Originally titled Deception, it didn’t find a home. In fact, the topic of lies and cheating offended one editor. I think it may have hit too close to home. It, too, will be released in the summer release of How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party.
How to Throw a Psychic Surprise Party in The Electric Press Magazine
The title story for the book of short stories. Inspired by a show in which I saw a television host throw a “surprise” party for a psychic. It struck me – How do you throw a psychic a surprise party?
This story may answer that question. Maybe not. How much empathy can you muster?
Hunger and other poems as well as some photography in Voices of Eve
Not in the book of short stories. But well worth the read. Hunger is one of my favorite poems.
Also in the book of short stories –
The Crier: In a time when emotions are unheard of, people need a release.
The Mirror People: Ever wondered what’s inside the mirror? You know there’s something, right? Here’s a woman who collects them – she knows.
Bowie and the Basket Case: Anna’s things keep disappearing and reappearing. At first she thinks she’s misplaced them, but then she’s sure she hasn’t!
I came across this list from Margaret Atwood and had to share. It’s quite humorous.
1 Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.
2 If both pencils break, you can do a rough sharpening job with a nail file of the metal or glass type.
3 Take something to write on. Paper is good. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do.
4 If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a memory stick.
5 Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.
6 Hold the reader’s attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don’t know who the reader is, so it’s like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What fascinates A will bore the pants off B.
7 You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but essentially you’re on your own. Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.
8 You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.
9 Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.
10 Prayer might work. Or reading something else. Or a constant visualisation of the holy grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book.
Is it true, Ms Lace, that all writers are alcoholics?
But they all drink, right?
My blah, blah, blah said that he gets his best ideas and does his best writing when he drinks.
Well, I guess I have heard you should write drunk and edit sober.
Maybe he does that.
I’m not a fan of the stereotype of the tortured artist. Some artists have experienced hardships. There is no need to go seeking hardship in order to be a writer.
It is a waste of time to emulate other successful authors’ negative habits. It’s my understanding it takes a lot of time and effort to build up a tolerance to become an alcoholic or drug addict and still be able to function. Sounds like a waste of valuable writing time and meaningful brain cells – which one needs in order to write well.
Skip torturing yourself, creating drama, hurting others – life is hard enough. Just write.