Monday, October 16, 2006


I have just completed my first professional printing. I have a stack of my work, my first manuscripts, piled neatly on the desk beside me.

I feel very, very young and innocent, like this is the time /before/, when I still had hopes of being published and still had hopes of making everything work out. Hey, what am I saying? This /is/ the time before!

And so this week we shall focus on courage (and proper formatting, because man oh man are there a lot of rules).

Firstly, on random courage:

I don’t have the courage

I don’t have the courage
To stand in the dark
In the middle of the room
Staring at the mirror

I don’t have the courage
To tell my father what I think
Or tell my step mom that I really don’t give a fuck
What happens to her damned towels

I don’t have the courage to go out door to door selling things
So that I’ll have enough money for me to have the courage
To invite people over to our house and
Not be ashamed

I don’t have the courage to tell people
That they are rich if they live in a house that big
And have that many pairs of Gucci shoes
I don’t have the courage to tell that boy how I really feel
Or tell that other boy to get his filthy eyes
Off my fucking body

I don’t even have the courage
To write louder
Than a tiny spider creeping across the floor
Because my step mom might still be up
Trying to catch me in the act
And then I wouldn’t be able to write anymore

Burkina Faso

Secondly, on courage for writing:

It is impossible to discourage the real writers - they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write. ~Sinclair Lewis

This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don't consider it rejected. Consider that you've addressed it 'to the editor who can appreciate my work' and it has simply come back stamped 'Not at this address'. Just keep looking for the right address. ~Barbara Kingsolver

A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor. ~Ring Lardner

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