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WRITERS DESIDERATA

Writing while life itself is difficult can require recognizing the bigger picture. Reading Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata (Latin: “desired things”) focuses me. I adopted it for the writing life and thought I’d share. So, with apologies and homage to Max Ehrmann…

+++WRITE PLACIDLY despite the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in escape. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
+++Write your own truth quietly and clearly; but listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
+++Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare your writing with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser writers than yourself.
+++Enjoy your published works as well as your WIPs. Keep interested in your writing career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
+++Exercise caution in marketing your books, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
+++Be yourself. Especially do not feign knowledge. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
+++Let the counsel of years inform your writing, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
+++Nurture creativity to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
+++Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
+++And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with your Muse, whatever you conceive Her to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Write to be happy.

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9 thoughts on “WRITERS DESIDERATA

  1. atthysgage says:

    Nice, GD. And well-adapted. Thanks for sharing this. On another glum morning of paying bills and cleaning house before going to my so-called real job, it helped a little.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. mimispeike says:

    I am in the dumps, this has picked me up a bit.

    I have made a first move on WordPress, installing my first two chapters and trying to get the hang of the place. (I am giving up on Wix for now, just want to get a workable site up and start promoting it.) Having real trouble with WP, even changing a format. Sad!

    But I’ve dipped a toe in and I’ll keep at it until I get something that pleases me.

    While I screw around, here is my opportunity to do a final intense edit on Decamps.

    I didn’t even recall the name of the site I created a year ago. I had to poke around for it. Pathetic!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. @Mimi: I, too, have been told (by “expert self-promoters elsewhere”) that I need to post more work on my own site. Guilty as charged; I’ve done most of my interaction here. Well, I’m learning WordPress as we go, so . . .

    Re: for a peek into the writing life of a working-class writer whose last name isn’t King, Rowling, Irving, Franzen or Martin, click here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/aug/05/james-kelman-my-writing-day?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Bookmarks+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=238174&subid=22099271&CMP=bookmarks_collection

    I hope you’ll find this as inspiring and reaffirming as I did. To write as a struggling unknown is to contend not only with rejection and indifference but mental and physical exhaustion as well. It is a hard reality most 20-somethings don’t want to acknowledge about the current state of our art and practice: the hours are long and grueling, the pay non-existent-to-pathetic and the odds of acclaim or recognition vanishingly small.

    So be it. Onward!

    Liked by 2 people

    • mimispeike says:

      Yes, and I’ll die at this computer, working on my endless story about (as Michael Hagan puts it) that damn cat. So what?

      That guy is so right. The thing that keeps us at it is, we can’t stop. Poor us. Or lucky us. (Not sure which.)

      I realize now why Curtis chose this simplest of all themes. I can’t get any of the more intricate ones to produce a result for me that approaches the look of the sample. Annoying! But, as I said, I’ll keep at it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Perry Palin says:

    Perhaps I began to write as an escape. I was dealt a few poor hands early, but I don’t have anything to escape from right now. I’m not writing much. I’ve missed my writers group three months running, but I’m busy doing interesting things, none of which bring in any money. I will die from falling off a horse, or from being stung by a thousand bees, or I will drown in a trout stream, all better ways to go than at my desk.

    Each line of Writers Desiderata has a message for me, recollections of where I have been, or images of where I would like be. The last line is the best, “With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Write to be happy.”

    Liked by 2 people

      • Perry Palin says:

        Amateur beekeeping is another good way to lose money. We have three hives, with at this time of year about 50,000 bees each. We’ll harvest at least 100 pounds, and maybe as much as 200 pounds of honey this year. But you should see what these bees have done for our vegetables, berries, and fruits.

        Liked by 3 people

        • atthysgage says:

          Bees are a wonder, and I love to contemplate the intricate dance of nature. It’s criminal the way our dependence on pesticides has crippled the bee population.

          But I still have a kneejerk fear of them. I always have. Just one of those things.

          Fifty thousand bees per hive? That’s astonishing.

          Liked by 3 people

  5. mimispeike says:

    There is an interesting discussion on Scrib about the usefulness of an online presence. I will try to cobble something on it for tomorrow.

    Good news: I now have full half my novella on my WordPress site. I hope to have it all up, with a final polish, in the next two weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

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