Once in a while, after a tiring day, as a sort of nightcap I might pluck from the shelf one of my books and page through, and soon it all comes back: the joy and stress involved in the bookâ€™s creation and completion; the tussle with the universe to extract from it a fitting title; the stories behind word choices, stories only I will ever know; the people who freely gave me their most fragile possession: their trust. My thoughts might run: â€œThat thought was inspired and it reads like it,â€ or I hunt for flaws. â€œThat middle initial should be G, not J; how did I not catch it?â€ â€œShouldnâ€™t have tinkered with that." Last-minute rewrites of my work, even half a sentence, feel and look to me like crudely sewn knee patches on jeans. Musician Les Paul said after a recording session, â€œLeave the mistakes in there; let them know weâ€™re human.â€ Thatâ€™s a great concept, especially when paired with Miles Davis saying about his art, â€œDonâ€™t worry about mistakes. There are none."
From Wikipedia. I got a genuine thrill reading this, and hope you do too:When the book was first published, Whitman was fired from his job at the Department of the Interior after Secretary of the Interior James Harlan read it and said he found it very offensive.Poet John Greenleaf Whittier was said to have thrown his 1855 edition into the fire.Thomas Wentworth Higginson wrote, "It is no discredit to Walt Whitman that he wrote 'Leaves of Grass,' only that he did not burn it afterwards." Critic Rufus Wilmot Griswold reviewed Leaves of Grass in the November 10, 1855, issue of The Criterion, calling it "a mass of stupid filth" and categorized its author as a filthy free lover. Griswold also suggested, in Latin, that Whitman was guilty of "that horrible sin not to be mentioned among Christians", one of the earliest public accusations of Whitman's homosexuality. Griswold's intensely negative review almost caused the publication of the second edition to be suspended.Whitman included the full review, including the innuendo, in a later edition of Leaves of Grass.
Wednesday night, Bob Baker, author of Guerilla Music Marketing and a self-published, self-supporting full-time writer, listed for his audience the 12 most important lessons he has learned along the way. Inspired, I acted on two of them:
Right after his talk someone requested my BookEval business card and I was chagrined to have none. Taking action, last night I tried designing the perfect business card and repeatedly failed, using up half the night. â€œWhat I will have to do, come Monday,â€ I wearily thought, â€œis find some printer who makes really nice business cards, maybe by calling some people who will recommend one, and then put the logo on a disk, and make a drawing of what I want, and then go there and choose card stock, ask how much it will cost and pay it. This will freakinâ€™ take weeks, I canâ€™t do business for weeks. . .â€ Went to bed at 1:00. Did not sleep until 3:40. Thatâ€™s because Iâ€™d taken a good idea and turned it into a real crazy-maker.
This morning I made a freakinâ€™ imperfect business card and sent it to be printed in an edition of 250 to use until I can get the â€œperfectâ€ card. I think I chose well. (People are starving and I am concerned about a â€˜perfectâ€™ bizcard?!?!?)
Not yet dead of embarrassment and shame? Pretend you are not the author, and sell a copy of your book to every used-book dealer in town. At least itâ€™ll be shelved in a bookstore. (A tip found online.)
Beautiful! From Lynn Obermoeller, who says: "Here's a picture of my back yard - if I sit out on the deck (which you can see in the upper left corner), I can hear the waterfalls from our ponds and see this tiny botanical garden, that I created myself (okay, well landscapers actually put the ponds in, but I did all the planting - okay, 85% of the planting. The other 15% between my sister and husband and nature itself). Norm (husband) took the picture."
A new catherinerankovic.com website is being built and, good news for anyone who missed it, this blog will be restarted around January 1. I am having it designed by a team in Santa Monica which intends to surprise me. See you soon,
The story of this picture: These are the Guilty Pleasures authors, the Doves, my writing group from 2000 to 2007. We got a book accepted in 2002 and published in spring 2003. In August of 2002 we had a group author photo taken. We fooled around with all sorts of different "guilty pleasures" props (tiaras, etc.) and were inexperienced enough to choose as our jacket photo a more serious one than this, but this remains my favorite. The original is indeed in black and white -- remember, I think all book-jacket photos should be black and white! Left to right: Patti Smith Jackson, Jane Holwerda, me, Cathy Luh, Holly Silva, Karen Hammer, Sue Caba and Laurie Vincent.Thank you for having read this blog over the past three and a half years. This is the final post. Every visit you made, every comment, has been an honor for me. These days there's Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, e-Books, multiple jobs (no one has only one job anymore) and so much more to fragment our time and attention. I'm freeing up more writing and publishing time for you and for me. Remember, be confident, and take care of yourself, because....
. . .you are fate's finest instrument.