Friday’s Fun Find: The Book I Want To Write

“It doesn’t sound too bad.”

I love that setup. Because what follows is such a great story. I’m working on a manuscript now that makes me think of THE PRINCESS BRIDE.

And here’s what I think, in my secret thoughts: I want to write a book as good as William Goldman’s THE PRINCESS BRIDE.

I do a lot of re-writing because…well, I’m not William Goldman. But that’s okay. I have a goal, a standard, if you will, that I hold my work to.

And sometimes, on a really good day with my manuscript, it doesn’t sound too bad.

(Bet you have a book like that, too. Want to share your secret? I won’t tell anyone. Promise.)

Thornton Wilder and This Wonderful Earth

ImageThe other day, I was driving home, from Savannah back to the Atlanta area. It’s a longish drive, crazy traffic coming into Atlanta, but there’s a stretch from Savannah to Macon that’s mostly straight interstate and easy-going. And I looked out my window at the trees just starting to bloom, the whites and pinks among the green, and oh! The wisteria! Those heavy lavender blooms dripping from their vines. 

A line from a play came to me–maybe you know it:

“Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you…”

The speaker is Emily Webb, from the play, Our Town by Thornton Wilder. There is something about the earth bursting forth with new life in the spring that –for a moment, at least–takes my breath away. For a moment, at least, I realize how awesome is this earth I’m blessed to walk upon, to see and hear and smell its wonders.

I wonder what Mr. Wilder pictured when he wrote that line for Emily, when he created Grover’s Corner and the story that’s become a classic in American drama. I’ve loved Our Town from the first time I read it. And I saw it on TV long ago, with Hal Holbrook playing the stage manager and just made a fool of myself, crying like a baby.

If you’ve never read the play, you can zip over to Scribd and get Our Town. (It looks like it’s free to download and read, though Scribd charges a fee for some works, so check the particulars first. In fact, you might want to take a look around Scribd, just for fun and edification. It’s the “world’s largest online library” according to the Scribd folks.)

Or you can watch the play in its entirety, with Paul Newman playing the Stage Manager in a Broadway production. I have so much work to do today, catching up from the trip to Savannah. But Our Town and Emily Webb are calling me.

They’re saying, “Work can wait a couple minutes. Go outside and realize how wonderful is this earth.”

(It’s Spring Break week here in Georgia, and perhaps where you are, too. Hope you’re having a lovely time outside. And that you have Kleenex or a coat, depending on where you are.)

Things-To-Do Lists and Prioritizing and The Grinch and Me

You know I’m a crazy list-er, right? (Or you know now–)

I list goals for the year, the month, the weeks, and daily goals, too.  I’m sure, if you’re not a list-er, it sounds like a lot of work. But I’m so used to thinking in terms of “Things To Do” that I get a little anxious if Monday rolls around and I can’t find my list of “Writing Things to Do.”

So you would think I’d get anxious when life interrupts the goals and the lists, right? But I don’t. Maybe it’s because I have The Junior Halls, and it’s impossible to always stay on track when kids (yes, even grown ones who refuse to pose decently for one lousy picture) are around. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman of a certain age. Women of a certain age seem calmer, less Oh-my-Lord-we’re-all-gonna-die-if-I-don’t-get-this-done and more Oh-my-Lord-we’re-what-was-I-trying-to-get-done?

But I think the most likely reason of all (to quote my favorite Dr. Seuss,  How The Grinch Stole Christmas) is not that my heart is two sizes too small, but that I’m pretty good at prioritizing. This past month has been hectic, what with my mom taking a spill, and me zipping back and forth to Savannah, and Thanksgiving hoopla and I don’t know what all. So. I’m just now getting to piled-up emails and manuscripts I thought I’d finish long before the end of the month.

And that’s okay. Folks are usually pretty understanding when you finally email them back. And the manuscripts will get finished, maybe by the end of December.

Maybe not. Which is my very long way of saying that I’m on a sort of semi-vacation during December because family and Christmas take priority. It’s possible that you may not see as much of me on the blog or your blogs.

Plus, you know I have this lazy streak, right? (Or you know now.)

Tuesday Tip: Writer, Value Yourself

I came across an interesting article yesterday over at International Freelancers Academy. It was called:

Why Low Self-Worth Drives Lower Wages for Women Freelancers — and What You Can Do About It

Sounds like a college course, doesn’t it? And honestly, the writer made some pretty well-researched and interesting points about freelancing. But even if you’re not at all interested in the freelancing side of writing, you may want to check out this article. In fact, you may want to spend some time over at IFA. It won’t be long before their articles and training and philosophy will start to seep into your psyche, encouraging you to value yourself as a writer.

Recently, I’ve spent quite a bit of time around family whom I love dearly, but family working in a 9 to 5, traditional work environment. And so, because I don’t work in a 9 to 5, traditional work environment, I’m invariably asked, “Now, what is it you do again?” And when I say (again)  that I’m a writer, I’m also invariably asked what I write.

I suppose writers who can answer that question with, “Oh, I write for Cosmo.” Or “I write for _(insert large circulation newspaper)_.” might get an approving nod.  But I stammer around, trying to think of something, anything that might sound familiar to a non-writer. Something that will erase that blank look from the listener’s eyes. Chicken Soup books usually come to my rescue, but of course, I know that they then think I write 9 to 5 for Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Oy. So on occasion, I need a little pep talk. I need to boost my self-esteem. I need to remember to value my work. The article at International Freelance Academy fortified me just in the nick of time. And now it’s time to get back to being a writer.