Yes, I’m still alive.
I’ve been busy writing (and submitting) essays, playing keyboards with my husband’s band, Red Words, hanging out with my family, and cleaning my house. Exciting, huh?
In general, I felt the need to purge.
* I’m now blogging less often. I don’t feel the need to give my opinion as much as I used to. I have an opinion…I just don’t feel the need to necessarily give it anymore. I’m continuing, however, to blog over at Caffeinated Word.
* I deactivated my Facebook account. It’s just temporary for now, but I find it to be distracting;
* I’m getting healthy. No more trans fats. No more junk food. My arteries are feeling the benefit of my uncluttered attitude;
* I’m praying more; and
* I’m walking more.
And as I unclutter, I’m finding more peace….which is really the goal.
Part One in a series celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Edith Wharton’s novel The Custom of the Country.
It was my interest in Nova Scotia history that led me to a discovery of Edith Wharton and her fiction. Not because Wharton had any interest in Nova Scotia, but because the poet Helen Pinkerton visited my family in Halifax when I was eighteen, and I took her to see the Halifax Citadel.
June is the month in which we celebrate graduations.
From college, from high school, from middle school, and even from the precious Pre-K ceremony complete with paper crowns and colorful diplomas.
It’s a month of bittersweet tears as we – as parents — watch our children move-up, farther and farther away from our watchful eyes. Our babies are growing up
This week, while riding the train into Manhattan, I was reading Flannery O’Connor’s collection of stories. It’s my first taste of Flannery O’Connor…talk about bittersweet! Her stories are dark, humorous and thought-provoking.
One in particular – using the theme of a graduation ceremony – had me in stitches. Here’s the opening of Flannery O’Connor’s A Late Encounter with the Enemy:
* * *
General Sash was a hundred and four years old. He lived with his granddaughter, Sally Poker Sash, who was sixty-two years old and who prayed every night on her knees that he would live until her graduation from college. The General didn’t give two slaps for her graduation but he never doubted he would live for it. Living had got to be such a habit with him that he couldn’t conceive of any other condition. A graduation exercise was not exactly his idea of a good time, even if, as she said, he would be expected to sit on the stage in his uniform. She said there would be a long procession of teachers and students in their robes but that there wouldn’t be anything to equal him in his uniform. He knew this well enough without her telling him, and as for the damm procession, it could march to hell and back and not cause him a quiver. He liked parades with floats full of Miss Americas and Miss Daytona Beaches and Miss Queen Cotton Products….
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers is available where books are sold.
One of my essays is included in the collection.
It’s a story of determination and validation.
We all need to express ourselves and as artists — once we realize that we have a voice — we need to honor that realization by putting aside the needed time it takes to create a work of art. Whether it be an essay, a short story or a poem.
Putting aside that time takes discipline.
Like Stephen King once said (and this is certainly not one of my favorite Stephen King quotes), “All it takes is butt glue.”
When asked in an interview how he overcomes “writers-block” and is able to turn out so many good stories, he replied, “Butt glue is glueing your butt to the chair in front of the computer and not getting up until you’ve written something.”
I’ll never be a Stephen King. I just won’t. But…I know I can do a whole lot better if I apply certain writing disciplines into my daily routine (number one: stay off Facebook).
With stories by J. A. Jance, Sarah Darer Littman, and my personal favorite, Mimi Greenwood Knight, any writer (or blogger) – whether budding or bestselling — will find encouraging words to help them along in their chosen path and craft.
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Today I’m writing over at The Dark Jane Austen Book Club.
We’re discussing writing prompts, art, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
Feel free to drop by and join the discussion.
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With the 100th anniversary of the publication of Edith Wharton’s, The Custom of the Country, author, Sarah Emsley, plans to celebrate with special upcoming posts devoted entirely to this incredible piece of work (I’m talking about the book, not Undine).
Join the conversation here at Sarah Emsley’s blog