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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hiding in a Paragraph


Cover Art by Fran Murphy

I just published my 100th Blog post this week. Looking over my one hundred entries I noticed that I’ve written on scores of subjects, yet I don’t believe that I’ve ever written on the subject of writing. I guess I’ve sort of kept this topic tucked away. It’s something so personal that I tend to keep it to myself...forgetting that it’s a viable topic. I think about it all the time; probably as much as a devoted mother does her only child. Writing is always with me. So, today I intend to share some of my thoughts on writing.

Words are the expression of our souls. We speak of the things that live inside of us: our hopes, fears, dreams and passions. We often write about sensitive things…topics that we may find hard to talk about. We hide our feelings in our paragraphs like spies seeking a way to communicate--without really speaking. It’s as though by writing we create a safe distance between our feelings and our selves…a cushion of sorts.

As writers we have an immeasurable palette of colorful words and an endless supply of white paper canvases on which to create our soul paintings…this is our art.

I write because it allows me the freedom of expression without the hesitancy of the tongue…that nervousness that arises when it’s my turn to speak. I have so much to say but I’ve never been completely comfortable with the stage. Writing provides me with a stress-free stage from which to speak.

I write to figure things out. Solve the mysteries of my life. When I’m tied in a knot, and confounded, I write with reckless abandon; tearing away at my inhibitions like an erotic stripper, until I’m running naked and free, and smiling at the intimate beauty of it all.

I write because I am a full vessel whose contents have communal value. In order to remain full I must pour myself out; imparting to partake. I do this with honesty, passion and fear; showing my nakedness to the world in order for the world to embrace its own nakedness.

I don’t write for an agent’s approval or for monetary rewards. If these come I will joyfully accept them as the fruit of my labor; I don’t need them in order to validate my work. My work validates itself.

These days there is a lot of agitation in the publishing industry. Between e-pubs and a sinking economy, agents are desperately searching for that “sure thing”, and are very reluctant to take on new authors. Although frustrating, this needn’t be a negative thing. It simply is what it is. I believe that if the writing is good, then in time, the work will rise to the top…like cream.

As writers, we are the ones whose art provides publishers, agents, and a number of others with a living. These days it seems everyone is fighting for a piece of the literary pie. We now have the tools to publish our own works. We needn’t wait countless years for the approval of an agent.

My novel, Cosette’s Tribe, in spite of numerous queries and a recent literary award, still sits like a demure debutante waiting for a suitor. She needn’t wait forever, after all she’s in her prime…and ready to dance. It just might be time for mother to take things into her own capable hands. I certainly don’t intend to shelf a manuscript that took me years to create because of the greed and indifference of a desperate industry. I will lovingly present her to the world on my terms and let the readers decide her fate for themselves. Readers do have the discernment to choose what they like in spite of what the publishers may think.


If you would like to read the first two chapters of Cosette’s Tribe simply click on the link entitled “The Blotter Literary Magazine” at the top right hand side of my blog. It might take a couple of minutes to load, so go grab yourself a drink and then come back and meet my firstborn, Cosette. Her story starts on page 4.


27 comments:

Jim said...

I'll go read the first chapters. Real changes happening in publishing and demure debutantes may find they can be sitting around waiting forever. Maybe as you are doing, they need to throw a leg out there and attract some action...somehow.

Leah Griffith said...

Exactly Jim! No more sitting around waiting to get "chosen" LOL!! Thanks for stopping by.

Bongo said...

we share our lives in and between the lines...keep writing....As always....XOXOXOXOX

Leah Griffith said...

Oh yes Bongo...I will. It's my escape from this world.
Hugs,
Leah

Roy Durham said...

Leah i read your story and it is a good read. Cosette comes alive on the page. i as you know like don't the kind of thing happen in the story. i wish and pray that they never happen to anyone. but i am sure the way you write it will be a best seller. good luck with it. and god bless

Leah Griffith said...

Roy, thank you for taking the time out to read it. I appreciate your thoughtful comments and well wishes. You're a honey bun Roy! <3

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Congratulations on your 100th blog post, Leah. I am looking forward to reading Cosette.

On another note, we writers live in an exciting time of not always waiting for industry approval to move on with our careers. Many excellent novels have been released without traditional contracts.

Besides, who needs to wait around for the proper suitor anyhow? The deb can do it herself now! :)

Jan said...

Excellent post, I will go read the chapters, simply because I love the way you write, I know it will be a Good read.

JANU said...

I like your posts....straight from the heart. I will read the chapters later and will get back to you.

Jan said...

I loved the chapters. a difficult read for me but so compelling I couldn't not read on. You are good,simply put.

Martha J. M. Orlando said...

I'm in the same spot as you, Leah, with my "debutante" (love your description!). I am taking some more steps in that direction and will get it published one way or another.
I will be sure to check out your chapters soon!
Blessings!

Leah Griffith said...

Karen, I love your attitude! My feelings exactly. My little deb will have her own coming out party.
As always, it's good to see you.
Leah

Leah Griffith said...

Jan, thank you for stopping what you're doing and reading the chapters. The first chapter is pretty dark and difficult to read. The novel doesn't carry that heavy dark vibe throughout...it moves along, although she does carry her secret with her. She's a scrapper and a survivor.
I can't wait to publish it.

Leah Griffith said...

Hi Janu, thank you for your reply and your sweet presence!
XO

Leah Griffith said...

Hi Martha, let me know how it goes. I'll share what information I can with you. We can make the journey together!

Healing Morning said...

Why do I write. Because I don't have any other choice! I began to read and write at the age of three, which is unusual, and I never stopped. It took me a good many years to realize this ability should also be my vocation (in addition to avocation) - so many years that I look back and shake my head. This is one manner in which I express myself the most eloquently and authentically. And it allows me to touch others and make a small difference in the world. That part of it is a happy side effect, as I would still write if no one ever read a word expressed from my soul and fingers.

(I wasn't able to get the link to work to allow me to read Cosette's Tribe, but will keep trying. I'm sure it's a temporary glitch.)

Namaste', my friend.

- Dawn

Debra said...

Leah, I felt right at home reading this post on writing. My first novel, Broken Angels, is safely tucked into its manuscript box, and hasn’t seen the light of day in years. Except once in a while when I lovingly pull it out of the closet and read parts of it that I might like to salvage and recycle.
My other writing, articles, poems, and stories have appeared in literary publications and magazines, so the affirmation is there. But as Cyril Connolly has said, “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” Yeah.
When I have a moment to sit down and read at leisure I’ll be sure to check out Cosette’s Tribe. Right now I have an editorial to finish, not to mention the other writing projects on back burners.
Check you later…

ermodi said...

I want to write more about writing too, now!!! Great subject to write about because it speaks so deeply to all the other bloggers here. Awhile ago, I wrote:

Some days, I’d rather write about life than actually live it. Some days, I have to remove myself from the very experience of living, feeling, even breathing because it’s just too much. I have to step outside of the convoluted web of humanity’s interconnectedness. I have to step away from being. These are the days I NEED to write. These are the days I can only exist through composition: words, pen, ink, paper become the very stuff of my veins and life blood, my water, my air, my viscera.

I write when the feelings become too intense; when I can no longer allow myself to submit to them. I write when I have to break these sensations apart, when I have to pull and tear and gnaw at the very sinew of emotion, and reconstruct the injured remnants within the simplified confines of language structure. Then I can project it: although only a shadow of what it once was, I can convey an emotion constrained by a label and forced to fit into a definition that the world accepts.

I am going to think on this more though....thanks for the inspiration!!!

Leah Griffith said...

Dear Dawn, I can see you, little Dawn, at three years old composing a note to Santa...
You have touched the world with your words Dawn. You’ve touched my world in a very distinct and serendipitous way on two occasions…both times you’ve rescued me from the grey fingers of despair.
Namaste’ indeed.
Love & lots of healthful hugs,
Leah

Leah Griffith said...

Debra, I love the title, Broken Angels. It breaks my heart to think of it packed away, but I’m happy to know that you’ve gleaned many wonderful passages from the pages and that it lives on as a literary organ donor. I also have pieces like this.
Some of my writings have made the press and others silently sit in a file on my computer. Each time I wrote I had something in mind…a purpose for the pages. Some are crap and others shine like polished silver. Either way I’ve followed my heart.

I love this quote, “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for sharing it.

Leah Griffith said...

Oh Ermodi, you had me at word one… I love what you’ve written. It pulls at me, drawing out all my reasons. I’ve felt what you’ve written. The ink is my blood and the paper my soul. Some stuff is so private and raw that I feel compelled to burn it lest I be found to be mad or manic.
Like you, I write to look at myself. I need to see line after line of my life on plain white sheets, so that I can read it out loud for my ears to hear…and perhaps find a way out, or in. Writing is like a looking glass where my soul’s image is reflected back. There really is nothing like it is there?
See…we can’t speak of writing without becoming inspired.
XO

Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

I resonated with so many of the things you said, but particularly this one: "Writing provides me with a stress-free stage from which to speak." I love how you put into words things that I don't.

I'll try again to read your chapters. Last time, I don't think it loaded for me. Hope it works this time!

~Debbie

Jayne said...

Yeah, Leah! 100 Posts! That is a milestone to celebrate. And so is deciding against further demureness. You are so right--it is the writers who generate the work, and the publisher reaps great rewards from it if they market it well.

Cutting out the middle man is a bold step, but in this economy, and given the ever changing publishing it just might be the best step you ever take. You've got the will to do this! So go and do it! I'll be reading... :)

Oh, and, um, ah, blah, wah, how I could relate to this: "I write because it allows me the freedom of expression without the hesitancy of the tongue." ;0

Jayne said...

Leah--Back to say I read the excerpt and WOW! I don't want to leave a spoiler for those who haven't read it yet, but it's really good. I love the young girl's voice and the pace of the story, and I'd definitely want to read more...! It's a moving and very real story.

Julia said...

"I will lovingly present her to the world on my terms and let the readers decide her fate for themselves. Readers do have the discernment to choose what they like in spite of what the publishers may think."

So so true, Leah. What a beautiful thing it is that we no longer have to wait for someone else to decide the fate of our creations. I look forward to reading the beginning of your precious creation.

Sending you love today,

Julia

P.S: Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and taking the time to leave your words there--it's so appreciated.

Leah Griffith said...

Hi Jayne, Yes, 100 posts already! I can't believe it. Now to push forward with the novel. I've queried scores of agents, revised my query, and queried some more. So...now I think I'll move forward on my own.
Thanks for taking the time to read the first two chapters of Cosette's Tribe. Cosette carries a darkness with her throughout the novel, like a mud colored balloon, but she also creates so much light that you have to squint at times.
She ages as the novel moves forward and naturally her voice changes, but she's a tough little shit with a heart the size of the universe who is determined to find where she fits in.
I'm well into my next novel...I'll be up in your neck of the woods next week visiting family and doing research. Wouldn't it be amazing if we got to meet!!!

Leah Griffith said...

Hi Julia, it is an amazing thing to be able to move forward without having to wait for somebody else's approval. A part of me keeps saying, "they'll be sorry!" LOL!!
I'm not too sure where to start with it all but at least I don't have to worry about cover art or formatting...these are already done. I guess I should just do it!
Thanks for stopping by Julia. It's always so wonderful to see you. You live in Oregon right? It seems I keep meeting the coolest people and most of them seem to be from Oregon. Perhaps the universe is speaking?
XO

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