Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Table of Plenty

I began a new ghostwriting assignment this week. It's a bit like holding someone's hand as you lead them behind the curtain of fiction writing. Until now, it has been an obscure place for some. Magic behind the velvet barrier. Pay no attention to the chick behind the curtain. She's only orchestrating everything and playing God.

This assignment is a short story with the promise of more. I adore short stories but don't always give myself permission to write them. It's a necessary exercise for my long-winded, tangled prose. I remember economy and the beauty of simple things.

Thanksgiving this year was, blessedly, not at my house. This did not prevent a banquet at my table. The early stages of fiction planning necessitate, for me, diving back into my old favorite craft books and files. They are the pillars to which I return each time to provide the foundation of my stories. I know them by heart. I can spout the wisdom contained within from memory. Still, I return to them as a safety blanket to remind me what's important lest I forget between projects. This banquet of knowledge still fills my table, not as grizzled leftovers, but the promise of the literary meal to come.

I am blessed to be able to wake each day and spend time doing what I love. I am blessed there are a handful of people whose lives I have touched with my writing, if only for a diversionary few moments. Perhaps they'll remember, most likely not. But for those simple moments, author to reader and reader to author, there are few things so supremely transcendent. It is a rare relationship few share so intimately. I realized only recently it has everything to do with why I'm able to ghostwrite while some authors cannot.

My brother calls me a wallflower. I suppose I am. Extraordinary in my ordinariness. While my name on the NY Times list would be nice, for financial security-not fame, it isn't what motivates me. It is in the imagining of one person, one ideal reader, holding my words in his hand and being transfixed, that I find my motivation. The name on the cover could be Rosy Longbottom. I don't care. The reader and I know the secret: the magic isn't in the name. It isn't in the Oz-like scribe at the dials screaming "I wrote this! Look what I did! Aren't I awesome?" It's what's behind the curtain that counts.

Remember to join my mailing list if you want to be one of those readers. It is through my newsletter that I share, always with my client's permission, what's behind the curtain.

May your blessings be many and your burdens be light.


the walking man said...

Not to be snarky Laura but isn't joining your newsletter list much the same as being on other forms of social media?

I like your line on what motivates you--having that reader being transfixed by your words on paper, holding that book in their hand until it is finished...That one is a bit better than author Charles interviewed who found his motivation by people who annoyed him with comments about his lack of worth as a writer.

Personally what motivates me--honestly a turn of a phrase or a simple line that starts me off. Why do something never trained for? I am beginning to wonder why myself. Maybe because I will never be in any hall of fame if I leave enough foot prints behind it will take the winds a touch longer to blow them away and my children will remember me for a day or two longer when I am not here to write to them anymore.

Charles Gramlich said...

I too revisit my favorite books on writing and guidelines for it between projects. Maybe that would help me now.

L.A. Mitchell said...

@WM..snarky? You? Pshaw. Actually, this blog is more social media than the rare newsletter ever will be. I love reading about what motivates you. Such a different perspective that only many years behind can give someone.

@Charles...I'd sleep with them sometimes if they had fuzzy, teddy bear covers ;)

Dixie said...

"Magic behind the velvet barrier."
Well stated,and this is what I call motivation. In just a moment my mind travels to the things your words invoke and evoke from my life experiences, wishes and dreams!

You're rock-solid, LA, and a real treasure. Thanks.