I wrote the other day about the Thoreau quote that talks about putting the foundation under your dreams. Live Storytelling has been part of my foundation. I love it. One reason is I love performing and being the center of attention. But that’s not the real lesson.
What telling true stories in front of an audience has taught me is:
How to shorten my stories to give them more punch
How to craft stories for an audience
The value of the immediate feedback from an audience
Writing doesn’t give much feedback. So knowing people like my stories gave me a lot more confidence. I’ve always thought of my audience so that just supported what I already knew.
But writing with brevity is not something I did in the past. It has really helped me be a better storyteller, and, I hope, blog writer. I’m trying to keep my entries short so that people can relax, enjoy them, and hopefully get something out of them.
I thank you again for being my audience. I’d love to hear from you in the comments. I do not collect emails in the comment form, in case that matters.
One of my favorite Thoreau quotes is: “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.”
My castle in the air has always been my writing ambitions. Although I’ve done a lot of writing, quite often I replaced working for success with dreaming of it. In my dreams I have been terrifically successful: best-sellers, TV interviews, movie adaptations.
My reality has been much humbler: a handful of publication credits, 0 TV interviews or movie deals.
That is until recently. Publishing Tao of Thoreau through Amazon finally attached a tower of my castle to some foundation stones. Still a humble accomplishment, but at least a tangible one. And last month, September 1, 2020 to today, October 1st, I sold 32 books. I don’t know who is buying them; I’m pretty sure all the friends and family bought theirs earlier in the year, so I can only assume that these are people hearing about my book and purchasing it.
This is after an August where I barely sold any. So maybe something is happening out there. Maybe my book is catching on.
Strangers. Reading my work. A dream coming true.
This website is another part of this supporting structure. Again, the numbers are not world-shattering, but I love seeing my statistics. Even one visitor eyeing my work is wonderful. And I’m having fun challenging myself to beat the previous weeks stats.
My biggest takeaway is this: writing and publishing is making me feel joy. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but now the joy of this process is spreading to all areas of my life. I feel incredibly fortunate to be where I am in my writing journey, and I am so glad that you are reading this right now. Thank you!
Two deer cross the road in front of a car
The third puts on it breaks
Back legs skidding
As the car finally stops.
Hang tail fox.
Hazy orange sun
That I look at directly.
As I stated in my last post, gray is the color of evil in my stories, not black.
This started as a recognition of the power of words, and the impact they have on our thinking. The white is good and black is evil dichotomy is very old, and probably predates white vs. Black racism. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t support this evil way of thinking.
This was incredibly well dramatized in a scene from the movie Malcolm X. While Malcolm was in prison, a fellow inmate had him look up the words “black” and “white”. While white has almost completely positive associations, black is defined with words about distress, crime and evil. Again, these things possibly developed out of inoffensive feelings like fear of the dark, or of the unknown, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t supported stereotypes and prejudice. Here’s the link if you want to watch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51USLgPWhgc
I really like the band The Killers, but there are lines in their new song “Boy” that bother me. I hope the lyrics “White arrows will break/ The black night” are not intended to be racial, but I can certainly understand someone interpreting them in that way.
Besides the potential problems with these opposing colors, I think it is also lazy writing. We’ve used these symbols for thousands of years – maybe it’s time to come up with a new way to capture evil. I am going to keep using gray.
I’ve always thoughts dimness was more frightening than darkness.
I’ve had dreams throughout my life where the only light is a dim, dusty gray. I was always frightened in these dreams. Objects were just on the edge of visible, and took on a strange character, as if the gray light changed their natures into something foul, perhaps evil.
It’s wonderful to have the word ‘royalties’ to finally be part of my life. I first saw self-publishing to be a kind of defeat, a huge compromise to my dream of being accepted by a publisher.
Instead, it has become incredibly affirming. Not because money, which is nice. Because people are actually reading my words. The reality of self-publishing is infinitely better than the dream of being published.
I don’t know if this is going to be a poem or article. Maybe both. I’m trying to grasp the infinite abundance of our world, our universe.
Count the pine needles
I thought of that line as I walked through the woods, looking at the yellow blanket of pine needles on the trail and under the trees. Imagine trying to count them. It made me think about the line where measurements blur into the infinite.
Look to infinity
You are standing in it
Walking on it
Throbbing with it
Infinity is the disappearing importance of measurement
Of defining numerals
Measure me out
a teaspoon of thyme.
But make me the same teaspoon twice
With the exact number of grains each time.
I feel like I’m capturing something that I have been after a long time. These are elusive thoughts, though, and it takes time to refine them.
This spring I spread mulch with painterly strokes
Or smeared hurriedly, abstraction in brown
Rooty humps around tree bowls
Beneath blooming bush branches
Along Flowering paths
Earth, all the shades
From mahogany to ebony.
Circles and curves
And deep loamy earth
The contrast of browns and greens
That beautifies the beautiful.