A Wise Man’s Words…
Every writer has a favorite quote or two posted by their desk or committed to memory. These aphorisms may speak to specific shortcomings we, as writers, hope to overcome, or maybe they spur us on when all we really want to do is take a nap.
I have two specifically thumb-tacked to a corkboard next to an image of Henry Longfellow and a postcard of a painting by John Alexander. I feel a little ‘ju ju’ having Henry looking over my shoulder as I work. But the postcard painting is of a woman stretched across a Victorian couch, her silk gown draped luxuriously and spilling onto the floor. She is oblivious to the world and certainly to the artist painting her. What holds her rapt interest is a book.
“What I want to feel,” said Somerset Maugham, “is that it’s not a story that I am reading, but a life I am living.”
Not only does this describe my own response to ‘a good read’, but it inspires me to write so that my reader is transported to a magical world of total immersion in a book. To me, it is a gift when I experience that from a writer. Stories influence my mood, my attitudes, my happiness. If I read an author, then he or she had better leave me feeling satisfied. Otherwise, I feel cheated, even cuckolded having wasted the time and effort.
So it is with great sincerity that I try to give that experience to my reader.
Of course, there is no accounting for taste, and even when I believe I have achieved the sublime, there is always an editor to tell me otherwise. So my second quote spurs me on in the battle to find audience, ( i.e. getting published). “If you are going through hell,” said Winston Churchill. “Keep going.”