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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Brassel, Helen F. - Inspiration - Who We Are - Thank You

Dear Reader,

For months I have been editing A Gift of Love.

I am almost there.

It has been a long, lonesome road writing this book, editing this book, and working at fulfilling my promise to write this book.

I am grateful to my online widow, author, writer, family and Facebook friends for their unyielding support and validation. Thank you. I am grateful

I have no idea if anyone will read A Gift of Love. There are times I wonder what will happen once it is on the market.

But this much I know, I am inspired to continue writing.

Today I share an essay by Helen F. Brassel. It is lovingly borrowed from the February 2002 edition of Writers' Digest magazine.

Her words had meaning for me in 2002. They still do.

Who We Are

Writing, for some, is the only road to travel.
by Helen F. Brassel

A writer takes a sentence, cuts it within an inch of its life, adds a clause, tucks in a few adjectives and then--when it can hardly stand up--hacks away at it again. It is hard work, and don't let anyone tell you it's not. And like tightrope walking or juggling, only a few do it really well. When you survey the landscape of career options today, with all of the bells and whistles, to choose writing may seem uninspired. As author Annie Dillard says, "Being a writer means spending your life in a room alone with a stack of paper."

In the company of words

Ah, but what transpires in that room is not for the faint-hearted. That room contains the passionate hunt for ideas, the zealous chase after metaphors and the final capture of the one perfect adjective from among so many. The uninitiated will gaze into that room with blind eyes and fail to see the infinite world of creation that lies within.

When I first entered this room, I questioned: "When can I call myself a writer?" I asked: "Am I a writer when I am published?" If that's the case, then I'm not a writer until someone else decides that I'm a writer or when compensation transforms me from an apprentice into a professional. Does that mean that the person who penned, "I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener," is a writer? Of course it does. A writer conveys messages, imparts information, gives you something that you may not have had before you read his words.

Writers respect the language, adhere to the laws of that language, and will buff and burnish each sentence until it's right and true. They do it for the love of it. It doesn't have a lot to do with money. It has everything to do with passion, or even pride, for beside the words that are strewn for the reader's consumption stand their names for all to see.

Thou composers of language

You are a writer when you are impatient to get back to work. You are a writer when, in the company of others, you're staring off into space, knee-deep in words and sentences, fitting them into the literary puzzle of your emerging piece of work. You are a writer when, given a choice of other occupations, you find you have no choice.

Tenacity, dedication and persistence are all familiar words to one who repeatedly pores over the early drafts of his manuscripts. Some may say that this is monotonous. To me, it's sculpting the statue from the granite, carving the totem from the cedar. It is the purging of what is useless, the boarding of what is not and knowing the difference. I send the work out with a mild reluctance. Have I missed something? Could it be better? It's usually, I think, the best I can do. Yet, when it's accepted, I'm like the wallflower at the ball. Me? You want to dance with me? After all these years of writing, it's still a thrill.

Because of that thrill, this work is more than just a  mere occupation. Being writers isn't what we do, it's who we are.

Thank you, Helen F. Brazzel, wherever you are.

See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
Author of
A Gift of Love

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