Monday, June 22, 2009

Wisconsin Review Publication

At long last the Spring 2009 issue of Wisconsin Review is out, where my story “The Edmonton Farrell” can be found. Here’s the link to their page where this wonderful journal can be ordered.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Writing And Empowerment

I have always known and accepted for myself that a high standard is the only one I'm interested in pursuing. Short of getting a message out (what this blog attempts to do), writing--fiction in particular--should aim to be art.

I don't think this is so for the general population of wanna-be writers, a group I no longer include myself in. I think, because of the fame that is sometimes attached to the writer, this is the reason some people pursue it, maybe even the only reason. The fallacy and folly of this idea is well stated here, in a blog entry from the Guardian.

I've always believed that my work is going to be recognized, someday. At this point, that could sound like I expect fame and success--on the first count, I don't; on the second, I think I have found success. I simply believe that being committed to one's art is a very salutary thing. It allows me to practice more in the Buddhist sense of the five powers: faith, diligence, mindfulness, concentration and insight (thanks to Thich Nhat Hanh "The Art of Power" for that description). I need to do it more than I need to expect any reward from it, though sometimes I do expect some reward from it, strangely enough.

I'm annoyed for being ignored when I see work that I was up against that I feel isn't worthy and is singled out for praise. Often, the taste makers have an agenda that I couldn't fit into even if I wrote "As I Lay Dying." It's just the way of the business end of submitting fiction to a vast, prejudiced public. You will get lucky, you will occasionally be flattered by an editor who loves your work. I don't need to be financially supported by my writing--apparently, writers who are are few and far between--nor does this determine for me if I am successful. But I've often thought this prevents me from really risking anything. The circularity of thinking that this sets me on doesn't change my reality. Nor does the idea that many (most?) writers have day jobs. Or they teach. Not a pot of riches there, although the satisfaction of seeing your students succeed is a reward of its own which I've experienced. So whenever I feel misled, maligned, or still undiscovered, I'm grateful that I have a career that I enjoy and can use to foster my writing career. In the economics of 2009, I may actually be setting a trend.