I know Dad always would have liked you to write a book. He didn’t say it in so many words, in fact as we both know he didn’t ever really say many words to us. But as I have learnt that does not diminish the importance of his role in our lives. Remember how he would become lost in a science fiction novel and how we would try and get his attention only to be answered in gentle grunts as he was in his mind’s eye still watching Isaac Azimov’s characters struggle to survive on some distant planet.
But here’s some thoughts on writing that have come to me.
As my facebook friends will know, I have become a real fan of those amongst us who get it together to write a book. There’s a certain determined level of focus that they have displayed in terms of just having found the discipline to sit down and get it together.
Whether or not any of them go on to become best sellers – well as I have said before that will depend on so many factors – a little bit of luck and a lot of marketing and being able to get the book out there.
But the whole best seller thing – well that is obviously great if it happens – but that to a large extent is in the hands of the literary ‘gods’ - both mythical one’s and the real life one’s in the form of publishers and businesses out there.
But I love the fact that the gate-keepers of the industry who in the past would have the final say as to whether your work would ever see the light of day no longer are the one’s who hold the key to your book getting out to readers.
There are also so many factors which a publisher makes their decisions on which are completely outside of potential authors hands, that whether or not any publisher picks up and runs with your work is not necessarily the prime value-judgement any longer as to whether your writings have merit or not. They do! Trust me – they do!
When I was lecturing and giving class in drama and acting improvisation – working with the students who were about to enter the industry – it really gave me a chance to examine why I had got into the biz in the first place.
One is conditioned to place a value on one’s work by the level of public success one achieves. It can be as one goes through the ups and downs of a career that one can very easily lose sight of why you got into in the first place.
If one does not become a Hollywood star or life does not lead you as a TV presenter to become the next ‘Larry King’ or ‘Larry Queen’ depending on what you are going for – one can feel defeated and end up throwing out all your talents and self-belief in your gifts, along with the proverbial baby and the bath water.
But it struck me as I was performance coaching and as I watched the young adults who were about to embark on a career – and saw the delight that they were able to inspire on stage when just performing for their peers at Wednesday’s open class (this was a regular hour where students could get up and do anything solo or as a group that they had prepared) well it struck me and reminded me of my early days; And the simple thought came to me again - that that an audience is an audience is an audience.
Whether you are performing for 20 people at a small gathering or 20 000 at a rock concert – it only differs by levels of degree – the gift of your talents that you are sharing contains all the same elements of inspiring, entertaining and the all important experience of you and the audience ‘sharing’ those moments together; with each participant on both sides of the curtain giving and taking away some of the magic with them as they return afterwards to their daily routines.
And so it should be for writers – whether it’s a post on face book that you share that is related to daily anxieties or joys you have encountered, or a shared short vignette or essay on a memory or an extended comment on current affairs, a joke or funny take on life shared, or if in your blog you pass forward and share life stories and commentary or if it a book that publishers have rejected but now you make available as an eBook and self publish ( I will write more on that soon) – or if you are really fortunate and you do write a book that is picked up and has the weight of an orthodox publisher thrown behind it – well the reader is a reader is a reader.
Whether its just all your friends who read it, (and there’s no reason for the ‘just’ in that sentence) the fact that your friends might only be the one’s to read it – makes it of no less importance in terms of the act of sharing that occurs
"That is part of the beauty of literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong."
And that pretty much sums up what the arts is all about for me and the more I think about it the more I think it really does sum it up for me.
So to my mind you could replace the ‘beauty of literature’ to the beauty of anything that inspires you - whether its your jokes, your original writings, your shared recipes, your photographs, your songs, your paintings, your memories, your thoughts whatever it is that you have to share.
Its all in the ‘sharing’ of your inspirations and talents.
And whether a gazillion people read them or see them – or only one and that could be only you – it is of no matter for it is in that 'sharing' that the magic truly lies.
For me the shared platform of facebook has become such a vital part of the process of sharing that beauty.
I am going to share that quote again to finish off this letter and just tweak it to include
"That is part of the beauty of ‘any shared talent or shared knowledge or anything shared’ …….. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong."
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