Wednesday, April 16, 2008

For "that" or "which"

On the eve of the writing conference I’m attending. Staying alone in a hotel room, I made a decision. Because, you see, being here is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing will be to sit with my jaw dropped, listening to so many talented writers, Carlos Eire, Edward P. Jones, Mary Karr, Yann Martel. The wonder of their gift, their determination to write no matter if no one cooks and you eat boiled eggs five days in a row. The curse is that when you meet the writers of the writing who make it hard to breathe, you start to wonder what the -- were you thinking YOU can write? You can’t even remember when to use “that” or “which.” So I made the decision: re-read something you’ve written. Sometimes it comforts. I can see, okay, no Pulitzer Prize here, but not too bad, it flows. And yes, I’ll keep doing this. I give God a lot of credit, you know. He’s helped me delete a lot of adverbs and other things. So I pulled up a chapter I revised just two weeks ago with some of my best, newest insights, written with just the right twist. We even went away for five days so I could fully concentrate. I worked until my eyes ached. The old one was there, but I can’t find the revised work. It’s gone. I don’t know where it went or what I did. It’s just gone. All that work. I suspect I had too many open documents, mis-named one, deleted it later, who knows? And Denis is at a concert tonight so I can’t call him.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to meet with an agent. We’ll pitch each other and try to figure out if either of us are worth it and will we be able to work together and make good business. Or not.

Maybe this post is cathartic and a Starbucks will cheer me in the morning? No. That’s deluded.

So many have passed this way before us.

Evening Prayers on the Sixteenth Day.
O Thou whose eternal love for our weak and struggling race was most perfectly shown forth in the blessed life and death of Jesus Christ our Lord, enable me now so to meditate upon my Lord’s passion that, having fellowship with Him in His sorrow, I may also learn the secret of His strength and peace. - John Baillie


Travis said...


If you get a chance while you're in G.R. you should check my favorite MI coffee shop "Common Ground." It's not too far from Calvin and I sure any of the local students could direct you.

jenni said...

I need to attend that writing conference one of these years. I love, love Mary Karr's writing, too.

Shawna said...

To keep moving forward, growing and stretching in those areas we've been called, even when we feel inadequate or uninspired, that's the challenge. But giving it our best, always striving for His Glory, in this our returns could be earthly, but always heavenward. Walking is a movement only to be stilled by our Maker. Keep moving.

Richter said...

thanks margie from toad hall. i love the way you write and i love who you are.

losing so much hard work on the damned computer makes a person feel sick. perhaps the next revision will be even better!?

praise God he knows what he's doing.
luff you

Ransom Fellowship said...

trav, I woulda, but I didn't have a car. It was tough.
jenni, hadn't read or heard her. She's pretty amazing. Wouldn't want to be her enemy.
shawna, k, thanks for encouragement. I'm embarrassed. I was too pitiful. Things, things of far more significance, are lost by others. What have I ever kept that I deserved? Nothing. All is mercy. But, man, I have trouble remembering that sometimes.

Steven said...

Margie my friend...

I remember a time when I lost hours of writing, and I felt heartsick. It was in those "dissertation days," and I had awakened very early to work. Pages later I was sure I had done some of my best work, and then... something happened, and it was all lost. This was in an earlier day when those kinds of accidents "happened" with computers. All the file retrieval tools were unable to find it, and I had to sigh, pray, and start over again. We are frail people doing frail work.

You have good gifts to give, and I am only one who longs for the day when your writing is set down in print to be a grace for the generations