Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Writing for No Reason

Most of Emily Dickinson's poems went unpublished in her lifetime. She wrote for a box, not publication.

I was thinking of that as I read an interesting post from C.S. Harris , based on a question posed on Kate's blog.

Would you write if you never made a(nother) dime writing?

Yeah. That's the short answer.

I'm doing it right now in fact. The blog pays in sometimes intangible ways, but I don't make much direct coin for it.

I've been meditating a while about where I am as a writer, as periodically do most of the people in my circle of blog awareness, including not just Kate and C.S. but also Charles and Cliff and Stewart and Wayne (here too for Wayne). We're all on different shoals in the same stream.

The shoal on which I'm standing at the moment is, I think, a luxurious place.

My day job keeps my head under a roof and covers my cat's ophthalmologist. Said job could evaporate, I'm sure, but for now I can trial and error my writing and send it out when and if I think it's worthwhile.

I worked a while on a novel called Zoe's Missing that I decided to put in the trunk because it wasn't in toto what I wanted it to be.

I paused to write the War of the Worlds script for which I did get paid, and it was a wonderful new writing experience, challenging and exciting. And of course commissions or contracts can be a fabulous drug or a horrible curse.

Now I'm outlining and sketching portions of a different novel, sending out short stories which I had not done in a while. Getting occasional rejections. Ouch, I'd kind of forgotten that sting.

Do I get to keep the writer shingle out while the nother dimes aren't rolling? Doesn't matter. I'm proud of what I've done, and I've enjoyed the journey so far.

I'll be writing something whether it sees the light of day or stays in a box. I'll be writing just because that's what I do and I'm not sure why and I don't care why any more.

I might not leave behind the a box as brilliant as Emily's when my website shifts from Sid is Alive to Sid is Dead but I shall have kept myself busy and entertained. That's enough.

5 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Sid is dead? I figure you need a qualifier there. Such as, Sid is dead and raising hell. or Sid is dead, and ready to party. I think I'll have that last carved on my tombstone, under my name of course.

Good commentary on the "why write" question. I'm lucky in having a decent day job too, and quite lucky to have kept it in the aftermath of Katrina when many at my school lost theirs. Writing sure does provide entertainment for myself. I'll certainly agree with you there.

Kate S said...

Somehow I'd missed the "Sid is Alive" page--glad you provided the link!

Also glad to see you're sending out short stories and working on a novel again. I hope you'll keep us informed how it goes--and that it goes well for you. :)

Sidney said...

I like "...and ready to party"

Thanks to both of you for the thoughts.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Sid, when you die, I'm taking over this website. Only it will be called
STEWART STERNBERG'S "Sidney William's Journal". And I will charge people of course. Fifty cents to comment. Three comments for a dollar.

Sidney said...

I always heard that an artist's work makes more money after he's dead, Stewart. I will set the passwords up in trust so that they will be e-mailed to you in the event of my demise.

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