Friday, January 29, 2016

1 Writerly Thing I Love

Howdy, Campers!

Happy Poetry Friday! My poem and the link to today's host are at the bottom.

Before we begin, I wanted to let you know about our 30-Day Boost Your Productivity Challenge, which starts on Monday, February 1st.  Read all about it here....and then join us!

Today I'm kicking off our series, Something I Love About Writing.  Our series could also be called These are a Few of My Favorite Things...

So--what is Something I Love About Writing? ...Surprise!  It's you guys! People I meet through this blog, classes, conferences, critique groups...the entire Kidlitosphere.

You're my Writerly Peeps.  You're one of my favorite things about writing. Here's an example of how you duck tape me together when I'm falling apart...

I am mucking through the thick mud of fear again surrounding my verse novel. 

Recently I wondered, What's the worst thing that could happen?  I asked this out loud around Barbara Bottner's magic table (see my poem about her magic table here.)

Barbara and our gang held onto the table (and me) as I swayed under the weight of that question. Then I knew. The worst thing that could happen is that I'll finish it but it will never get published. Or it will get published and go out of print, unnoticed. Or worse, it will be reviled by critics and readers.

Once I put it into words, my fear lost some of its power. Not all of it's power. But some.

I will finish my book, bundle it up, give it a lunch pail and send it out into the world. Then I will have my coffee and not worry about how it is doing out there. That's none of my business.

...with vanilla soy milk & stevia

 My Writerly Peeps. My besties.

Here are two more examples of how you keep me from throwing in the towel; then a poem; then we're done and you may go write for the rest of the day.

Example #1:
As some of you know, I write a poem a day and send it to my best friend. He, in turn, sends me his poem. Bruce can be brutally honest and I am grateful that he is. This week I sent him a poem about driving a truck up a mountain and wanting to park it. Hoping someone will come by to lead me up that dark, winding road. At the end of the poem I make it to the top but no one is cheering.

A poem about my fear, of course.

Here's what he wrote back:

This one is so powerful. It really is terrific.
Well done. 
And you are right in your thinking. What is the worst? It just means you have to do what you have to do. And we told students for a long time that you don't write for money or fame or accolades (though we want them desperately).
I will be at the top cheering for you.


Example #2:

The other night I emailed a picture book to Barbara's group thinking it was pretty good, almost there...and they came back saying,"a mess...not working...unclear...possibilities..." The truly remarkable part of all this is that I could HEAR the rest of the comments. In the past, I would have heard "A mess..." and shut down in fear and shock, taking it as a confirmation that I am [doo-doo].

When I related this to Rebecca Gold, my other best friend and wonderful writer, she wrote back:

I love how you keep going and going and going .....

You're a REAL writer.


So my favorite writing thing? My writerly peeps. Those who support me and tell me the truth.

And here's my poem (first you must sing the Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers lyrics to Favorite Things)

(Note that the box mentioned in the first verse was actually just delivered by UPS about 30 minutes ago. I got ten copies of New Year at the Pier and a nice note from my publisher saying that it's going OP. It'll stay in print on Kindle, of course, but bye-bye hardcover copies...*sigh*)

by April Halprin Wayland
...with apologies to Hammerstein and Rodgers

Note: you must SING this. Out loud...I'll give you this hint:
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...
As I am writing this list of my favorites
I hear a box landing out on the pavement.
Is it a box full of butterscotch mints?
No—it's my book that's just gone out of print.
Five after midnight and I'm full of passion,
writing a book that I know I will cash in.
Next night my teacher says, "This is a mess."
All of the heads of her workshop shake...yes.
When my brain says, "All your work reeks"
When I feel like [doo-doo]
I simply remember my writerly peeps
And put off the quit.
poem and drawing copyright (c) 2016
by April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved.

Thanks for hosting Poetry Friday, Catherine, of Reading to the Core!

posted with love and a little too much coffee by April Halprin Wayland


kay Slowey-Sly said...

Thank you for the encouraging words. Sorry about the OP book, but love the way you used it in your poem. When we trip on a throw rug, we fill our coffee cups and keep plodding along....with the help of our friends.

Bruce said...

I think the part about your friend Bruce is the best. He sounds great.

Linda B said...

Thanks for sharing what keeps you going, April. I envy you your friends that you send your work too, great to hear about.

Susan J Berger said...

But you didn't mention the worst thing of all, which is not to finish your poem - post -book.
Adored the poem.
And I love that you keep on going. That's the best of all.

Robyn Hood Black said...

I DID sing it loud and proud, I DID. [Not sure my office cat enjoyed, but...]
Great post, April. And I recently found out my first little book is also, sadly, out... of..... print...... Sigh. (The second one suffered that fate a while back.) So I doubly appreciate your flinging the writerly light around. Cheering you and your truck up the hill....XO

Sally Murphy said...

Great post April. I think ones writerly peeps are just the most important part of the writing life. Having friends who understand the highs and lows, and give honest advice, and who you can travle the wroters road alongside is the best!

readingtothecore said...

Thank goodness for writerly peeps to keep us going! I'm sorry about your book going out-of-print, but am looking forward to reading that verse novel one day soon.

Bobbi Miller said...

As always, what a GREAT post!! My favorite line, "I am mucking through the thick mud of fear"! Yes, you are so the best!

Mary Lee said...

Great advice!

Esther Hershenhorn said...

I heart you, April!
You are one of my Favorite Writerly Peeps, along with your two Best Friends.
We are so lucky to be doing what we do surrounded by such terrific like-minded, like-hearted folks.
Your post is a piece of love.

Fernanda Valentino said...

This is a fantastic post, Carmela! Thank you so much! I look forward to participating in this month's Wednesday Writing Workout:
30-Day Boost Your Productivity Challenge. Thank you for the inspiration:)

Carmela Martino said...

Rebecca said it well, you are a REAL writer, dear, April, as this post shows. I'm so grateful you're one of my writerly peeps. :-) <3

Carla Killough McClafferty said...

Excellent, April.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Oh, Writerly Peeps! Your comments reinforce how wonderful our field is!

Kay Slowley-Sly (such a great name!): I love this quote in your comment--(you're so right): "When we trip on a throw rug, we fill our coffee cups and keep plodding along....with the help of our friends"

Bruce--he IS a great friend! Only "Bruce" isn't his real name. He's in the witness protection program. His real name is Carl.

Dear Linda B.--I AM lucky to have "Bruce" and Rebecca in my life...and the amazing women around Barbara's table. Writing this piece made me appreciate them even more. Aren't we lucky to have the tool of writing to illuminate things in our lives we don't see?

Susan J. Berger--you're right, of course...not finishing the book poem or post might be the worse thing. Although, as I get older, I understand the BIGGER picture, and that these are words, just words. So if I never finish the book, I will let go of that leather whip I used to keep under the bed and move on, perhaps burying the last draft in my garden. :-)

Robyn Hood Black--oh, the pain of books going OP. The first time this happened, I was SO if I'd done something very, very wrong. What a waste of life and energy when there are lavender roses to smell!

Sally Murphy--you bet. I so appreciate your stopping by to comment...thank you for taking the TIME.

Readingtothecore (Catherine!)--thank you. You can be sure I'll sing to the rooftops when it is finished...accepted...published!

Bobbi--thank you. It's a mutual admiration society,my fellow TeachingAuthor!

Mary Lee--yes, throwing myself into the arms of my peeps (which include my husband--not a writer--but definitely a supporter) on the muddy road to not quitting is the only way I know...

Esther--You're right: this post was truly my Valentine to all of you. <3

Fernanda Valentino--This is April responding. Thank you so much for saying how much you liked my post. It means a lot to me--to all of us! All of us at TeachingAuthors support each other, an enormous gift of a group blog.

See, Fernanda? Carmela's and Carla's comments simply highlight what I just wrote.

I think I can die happy now--thank you, everyone, for your kind comments!