From my very first post I wanted to pay homage to the speech which inspired the title of my blog, Ain't I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth. Such a beautiful speech, such a beautiful name, such a beautiful woman. It is one of my favorite pieces. I strive to emulate this style in my own work. Poetic and powerful. Honest and unafraid. Memorable. And I like brevity. It too is beautiful. This is the standard I wish to be held to as I explore the question with you ~ ain't I a writer?
"Obliged to you for hearing me, and I do have a few things more to say..."

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Friday, March 5, 2010

If at first ...

     Got a big fat rejection letter yesterday. Most I take in stride, but this one was tough because it had looked like there was a real possibility that the publisher was interested, and I was very hopeful. After several months they decided they weren't. On the up side, it was the best rejection letter I've ever gotten. Personal, and reflecting that the book had been given very serious consideration. That's something I guess. In a soothing and slightly serendipitous way, when I went to a reading last night at my local indie bookstore given by Heidi Durrow, whose debut novel just won the Bellwether prize, I was struck that her book, which has just been rushed into a third printing, was rejected 24 times. She had a rule that every time she received a rejection for something, she would send it out twice elsewhere the very same day. Good, and practical advice that I guess I better take seriously.
     I did get some writing done this week, but have been on a reading binge. Really enjoying the dog POV in my reading group novel The Art of Racing in the Rain. It's brilliant. Got a lot out of my Susan Sonntag class assignment on Illness as Metaphor. It inspired my next piece which I will write for the class but is really (ultimately) part of a historical novel I plan to write based on the small nugget of truth I know about the life of my great-grandmother. I'm inventing her life, the way I imagine it went down, without any real info about how it did. Why do some people disappear into history?
     Ordered a bunch of used books for research on that novel, and I always get giddy with exciement when I do that. I'm like a crack addict just getting back from a successful venture into the zone. And last night at the bookstore I picked up a copy of The Essential Donald Murray: Lessons From America's Greatest Writing Teacher that I think I will learn a lot from. I'm sure you'll be hearing more about that, but for now, back to work. As Don loved to quote Horace;
     nulla dies sine linea ~ Never a day without a line.

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