|Sir Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, May 25, 1803 – January 18, 1873|
"The pen is mightier than the sword."--Edward Bulwer-Lytton
It is Victorian politician, playwright, novelist and author, Bulwer-Lytton,who is responsible for the famous novel opening phrase, "It was a dark and stormy night."
Kitsch and melodramatic, his words live on in a writing contest sponsored by the English Department of San Jose' State University, California, started in 1982, requiring contestants to write the worst novel.
In addition, Bulwer-Lytton-s immortal words, "the pen is mightier than the sword," continues the test of time, reminding all writers everywhere the power they wield putting their thoughts on paper--er, in some cases, computer screen.
Tell me, dear reader, is there a writer among us who hasn't experienced backlash for their written words?
I doubt it.
Personally, a reader who didn't like something I wrote told me if I ever wrote something they thought I wrote was about them again, well, they said they would kill me.
At the time, I was hurt and frightened.
For a long time after, whenever I picked up a pen and tried to write something, I was afraid to write it.
I reverted to the little girl in Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, under 5th grade nun, Sister Mary Dionysia's hawk eye. SMD was a woman who yanked my bangs, knocked my head against a blackboard, and stood over my shoulder hawking every word I wrote with prescribed Schaeffer fountain pen filled with waterproof ink.
I felt small, ridiculous (another word this reader called me) and inconsequential.
Not long ago, an author screamed at me. This was a person whom I admired, respected and held in high esteem, still do; someone known to me for years.
At the time I was shocked, still am, perplexed, ditto that feeling, deeply hurt, got over it, and I stopped writing.
For the longest time, I just couldn't bring myself to pick up a pen without breaking down in tears.
I packed up my writing stuff.
I decided to confront my friend and tell her what I was feeling.
To her credit and forgotten friendship, I am grateful. Though I no longer hear from this famous author, she gave me best advice I ever received. Her words, "Never allow anyone to hold that much power over you," echo my brain whenever I sit down to write, just like today.
"Don't be afraid to promote yourself and your work. Self-promotion is an important part of building and maintaining a writing career."--Scott Edelstein
"Never tick off a writer. You just could become a character in her next book."--Anonymous
"The written word is weak. Many people prefer life to it. Life gets your blood going, and it smells good. Writing is mere writing, literature is mere. It appeals only to the subtlest senses--the imagination's moral sense, and the intellect. This writing that you do, that so thrills you, that so rocks and exhilarates you, as if you were dancing next to the band, is barely audible to anyone else. The reader's ear must adjust down from loud life to the subtle, imaginary sounds of the written word. An ordinary reader picking up a book can't hear a thing.; it will take half an hour to pick up the writing's modifications, its ups and downs and louds and softs."--Annie Dillard
Now go write something.
I dare you.
See you in print,
Linda Della Donna
Keep writing. If I can write a book, so can you.
P.S. Don't forget to stop by my other blog, Griefcase. I'd love it if you left me a comment.