Hi-ya. Welcome to this month's edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group meeting... er, virtual meeting, that is. This, the first Wednesday of the month, is the time when writers all over the world post about the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the ins and outs... of writing. We celebrate... we complain... we commiserate. Whatever we need, this is the place to find it. Humble thanks and a jolly tip of the hat go to Alex Cavanaugh, our fearless ninja leader and the originator of this fine group. If you'd like to join (It's FREE!) or would like to read some of the other posts, please go HERE
First off... YES!!! I finally finished writing the first draft of Blast Rites. (Thank yew, thank yew, thank yew very much...) Now comes the fun stuff. I'm currently deep in the throes of rewriting and editing, so before answering the question of the month, I'm gonna share a gently-used and slightly updated post from May, 2011, originally titled Some Pets Have Gotta Go! Yep... it's about the joys of editing. Kind of appropriate, don't ya think?
Thought for the day: If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one, what do you call it?
|It's hard to say goodbye.|
Like my cheap-o fifth grade orchestra pin. It still occupies a place of honor in my jewelry box, along with a "lucky stone" I found when I was in second grade, and a neat-o metal typeset of my name that came from a field trip to the Baltimore Sun (newspaper) building, which I, in fact, missed, because I had the measles. None of those items will mean anything to our children when I'm gone, but somehow, I can't bring myself to part with them.
It's probably time to tell those records sayonara, but like Celine Dion sang, "It's hard to say goodbye." Not that any of these records are anywhere near as recent as Ms. Dion's birth. No, these treasures are Elvis records, Little Richard, (when he was still a young rough and tumble rock 'n' roller) the Coasters, Nat King Cole, Chuck Berry, and Rosemary Clooney singing about "This Ol' House." They're the Drifters, Dion & the Belmonts, (before he went solo) and Eddie Fisher singing "Dungaree Doll." The McGuire Sisters, Artie Shaw and his orchestra playing "Star Dust" (one of my favorite songs of all time) and Jerry Lee Lewis on the old Memphis, TN Sun label. Treasures, I tell you, treasures!
Not that I've played any of them in the past forty-five years.
The fact that I don't have a good-working turntable is beside the point. If I wanted one badly enough, I'd buy one. But why should I? I don't NEED one.
No, all I have to do is look at these old records and admire their brightly-colored labels and sleeves to remember my first record player with its wobbly turntable, which could only play one record at a time. To play a 45, you had to put a plastic piece into the larger record hole to make it fit. Had to tape a penny to the arm to make it heavy enough to play the records right, too. Then, my brother got the portable RCA player. All it played was 45s, and you could put on a whole stack at one time. (Like Sarah Vaughan crooned, The record player's automatic ... ba-by.) One look at these records, and I'm bopping in the club basement with my girl friends, or dancing cheek-to-cheek at the teen center. So I don't have to actually HEAR them ... to hear them in my heart.
What got me to thinking about those old records is the editing I'm doing on my novel right now. Know what? It's every bit as hard to cut words as it is to get rid of records. What's funny is that some of the parts getting the axe are the ones that I sweated the most blood over while laboring to give them birth. Witty stuff. Clever stuff. Stuff that makes me smile and laugh out loud.
But it's gotta go! Because it injects ME into the book and serves to draw the reader away from the story. No matter how much I love those words, it doesn't serve the book if the reader stops to admire my writing. Damn it.
So, the words are going. I delivered 'em, and now I'm killing 'em. And the book will be better for it. And some day, those records will go, too, I promise. But not yet.
How about you? What treasures are you holding onto from your past? No matter how illogical it is to hang onto them, they sure do bring us comfort, don't they?
And now, it's time for the (ta-DA!)...
Question of the month: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?
Okay, I've got it!
I've learned that writers are the most creative, supportive, insecure people in the world. That means they've got my back, and I've got theirs, so none of us is ever...
Our craziness, imaginations, and love of the written word unite us, and that is abso-freaking-lutely awesome.
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.