Monday, September 7, 2009

Mentor Monday--Happy Labor Day!

I know a writer never gets a day off. How can you turn off your imagination or your curiosity? You can't, but perhaps you can cut yourself some slack today. Force yourself NOT to read anything writing related, unless it's strictly for fun.

Let me give you a few "fun" titles to consider, starting with Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life, edited by Monte Schulz [F & W Media, 2002]. Interspersed with Snoopy strips is advice for Snoopy from real writers. Included are Julia Child, whose books have suddenly become very popular again since the movie Julie and Julia opened last month, and Catherine Ryan Hyde, whose Pay It Forward [Simon & Schuster, 1999] makes a great book discussion group choice. Here's Hyde counseling Snoopy on editors,
Yeah. What is it with editors, anyway?

They send form rejections. They don't deign to comment. Or they scribble a mortal wound of an insult. Or you hear nothing for nine months. Or your story disappears entirely.

Who are these people? Don't they appreciate what we go through?
And speaking of rejections--visit your favorite used book store (I like the online vendor, and look for a copy of Rotten Rejections edited by Andre Bernard [Pushcart Press, 1990]. As one who has collected hundreds of rejections, I know that reading this book always puts a smile on my face! For more rejection fun, head to the Literary Rejections on Display blog. You'll find yourself asking, "Who are these people?"

Remember Snoopy's favorite opening line, "It was a dark and stormy night..."? It was originally written by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton in 1830. It continues thusly, "the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness." Bulwer-Lytton's horrendous prose lives on and is imitated annually in the "Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest." Check it out here.

It's Labor Day, so put the real work away, read, and relax!


1 comment:

Mur said...

Great post, Diane! And, if you haven't seen Julie & Julia, go see it. Meryl Streep is her usual genius self and the story is a tribute to the writing life.