Monthly Archives: October 2013

But I’m Really Famous in Japan!

I can’t remember if that line was courtesy of a friend or a friend of a friend, whom upon trying to explain why he/she considered themselves successful in their art (I think it was music), they replied, “but I’m really famous in Japan!” And by Japan, they actually meant one of the smaller islands that had a population of less than a 100. It just goes to show that we artists, whether it be visual, musical or written word, will literally take what we can get to validate ourselves in said art world. After all, we create not only out of desire to quench an insatiable need to get these ideas, visions or demons out of our heads, but we secretly want to be told that what we’ve created matters. I firmly believe an artist who says otherwise is lying.

Sometimes the validation comes in big forms of recognition. Sometimes it comes as one person who happened to see something you wrote and just wants to say “good job!” To me the big nods and the small nods are the same. It thrills me when a friend reads something I’ve written and tells me how excited or sad the story made them, or whatever objective I was shooting for with the story. Yet, it secretly thrills me more when a stranger does it. Why? Because I know the stranger isn’t saying something just to be nice. Not that I’m saying my friends are lying to me or trying to cushion the blow. My real friends know better than to give me fluff feedback. They are writers as well, so they know fluff feedback hurts you more than any rejection letter or criticism can. So when a stranger gives you that positive or creative feedback that actually mirrors exactly what your friends are saying, why does it hold more weight? Any Psych 101 student will tell you it’s because we do anticipate our friends to say whatever will make us happy or feel good. But a stranger (especially thanks to the dark cloak of the internet) will be truthful with you. Sometimes with a happy ending, sometimes with monstrous results. Either way, as artists, we seek truth, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. When another writer can’t handle the truth, they are obviously in the wrong field.  But no matter what, validation keeps us going, and going, and going, no matter what we do.  Whether it’s as a wife, employee, student, child, parent, king or pauper.  We all like to hear that “good job!”

Bottom line, it’s always an excellent feeling when your work is recognized, nevertheless. And even more so, as I discovered yesterday, recognized in a different country. Yes, I can officially add INTERNATIONALLY published author to my resume!

http://sanitariummagazine.com/blog/
Sanitarium Magazine
, a small publication south of London in West Sussex released Issue 14 yesterday (although their front page and blog haven’t caught up to the fact.) This issue is available in both Kindle and printed format. And as if I needed additional validation that I’m getting somewhere with my writing, I officially have a writing credit through Amazon!

To say I’m pleased would be an understatement. Still not getting a stipend from my writing, but I still consider this a big step. So check it out, buy it if you can (only 2 pounds sterling; I’m too lazy to look up the conversion rate on that. It’s probably about 3 bucks). It’s a nice story right in time for Halloween and will get you in the holiday mood. It might not mean I’m exactly famous in Britain (or Japan for that matter), but perhaps I’m getting there.

Cheers and Happy Samhain!

Wendy

 

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To Post or Not To Post (Does it get anymore cliché than that?)

When I decided to become a blogger, I told myself I would use it sparingly. You know, no more than a couple of posts a month.  You see, I’ve been known to overdo it from time to time on Facebook.  I’ve literally been with Facebook since Mark Zuckerberg and Sean Parker plotted to put it in every college campus within 150 miles of Texas’ big universities.  At the time, it was a novel new fad, one that my archaeology group decided to use to inform others of archaeology group meetings and lab times.  Those were the simple days, when only college students could join, before corporations started hawking their ads and targeting your likes and dislikes, and long before high school kids were able to join, thus making me painfully aware of the spelling and grammatical issues plaguing teenagers today.    I’ve gone through every incarnation known to Facebook, and along with every change, I’ve dreadfully accepted it, knowing each change would dramatically add to my procrastination schedule.  Believe me, it’s full.  But surprisingly enough, never full enough for whatever new app, game, or new and improved whatever flavor of the day.  And stupid me, knowing full well what I’m getting myself in, will post about it, comment, like, unlike, post a pic, post a video, check out the game or block the game, agree or disagree with the political rantings (of which there are MANY the last 2 days), hide certain people for said political rantings, block people who post pics of dead babies and animals, laugh at memes, repost memes, make a few memes, and react in horror at highly inappropriate memes while I secretly laugh inside, then start the cycle anew the next hour.  Yes, I have a slight Facebook addiction.

And because of that, I swore I wouldn’t overpost on my blog.  I tell you all that to tell you this.  I’m making a new post, barely 24 hours after my last post.  Why?  Because I had two stories come out yesterday.  Just when I didn’t think I could get excited enough about my story, “The Grace of None, Save One” being featured at the Wordsmith Journal Magazine, I received an email from Gravel Magazine, the MFA journal of the University of Arkansas Monticello, informing me they would be posting a non-fic piece that day.  I received the acceptance letter last month, but at the time the journal didn’t know when they would post it.  I didn’t think of it as a big deal since I had another story coming out on Oct. 1st.  But come to find out, I had a two-fer yesterday and that was just a glorious feeling!  I’m quite sure I made about 10 posts on Facebook yesterday about the new publications.  And being that I’m running two blogs now (http://octoberwineandwrite.wordpress.com/), everyone on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc. are getting double doses of my postings.  I’m not sure if it’s becoming annoying yet.  Believe me, I find nothing more annoying than people who literally post 20 videos in a row on Facebook, or 30 about cats.  I don’t want to be one of those people.  I remember comedian Bernie Mac once discussed the merits in the entertainment business of “always leave them wanting more”.  I really like that philosophy and personally use it.  And as Oscar Wilde so eloquently put it, “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”  If I had to accomplish two things at this stage in my journey, it’s to leave you wanting more and to keep the good chatter going for a little while longer.

So check out my newest non-fiction story, “Toward The Light” at Gravel Magazine.  And a big thank you to my friends and all who follow me on this awesome journey.

 

Wendy

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Variety: The Spice of Life

I started off today’s blog entry by spending nearly 10 minutes looking for silly memes about variety being the spice of life.  I have major focus problems at times.  I’m not sure if it’s because I woke up this morning at 6:45am and decided I needed to get a head start on my blogging, my coffee is kicking in, the homemade egg white and avocado sandwich I just ate has my tummy so full that I just want to veg in my computer chair and look at weird things on Google while I digest, or I’m just really that much of a procrastinator.  It’s a flaw. It’s a mystery.  It’s who I am.  Either way, I finally got my word doc open and am hoping to deliver a thoughtful, well written and witty morning blog.  One can hope.

It goes without saying that variety is essential to the life of a writer.  One must always push one’s limits, try new methods, new perspectives, always keep honing one’s craft.  When I was a teenager, I had the idea that once you started writing, you had to stick with the genre you began in.  After all, when I looked at the writers who were popular during my teen years, book reviews and adverts were pretty clear that Stephen King was the master of horror, John Grisham was the master of lawyer suspense drama, Danielle Steel was the master of romance and Judy Blume was the master of children and young adult lit.  They never really changed.  At least, I didn’t perceive them as changing.  And I was destined to be a master.  By the time I was 18, I thought I understood what writers and the publishing world did.  I was wrong.  I had a typical teenage  view of books and the personal repertoire of books I had read and books/authors I wanted to read was minute.  Tiny.  Pequeño.   Yet, as I grew, as I read, as I approached my mid-twenties, I realized how naïve I really was when it came to writers.  By the time I started working at Barnes & Noble, the real world of books exploded on me.  I became familiar with more authors, more genres, fiction vs. non-fiction, biographies, humor, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, and literary fiction vs. everything else.  And more shockingly than anything, I began to realize that authors crossed over.  Stephen King actually wrote non-horror.  Julie Garwood started writing contemporary.  Anne Rice wrote about more than vampires?  And she used a different name?  Hold a tick, so did Stephen King? What is this craziness all about?

The Spice Must Flow

The Spice Must Flow

Pigeonholing an author is probably the worst thing one can do and is something I’ve often done.  I don’t do it intentionally, but it happens sometimes.  I don’t think it had anything to do with my favorite author stepping away from their comfort zone, but there were certain styles and genres that I liked and I stuck with them for quite a while.  Fortunately, as a student of creative writing, I had to get out of that comfort zone and read stories I was unfamiliar with, genres I would have never picked up on a random day at Barnes & Noble, writing styles I would have thought of as foreign 10 years ago, and authors I might have ignored because the book cover was plain or didn’t “speak to me”.  I held a lot of strange beliefs when I was younger about writers and what they were meant to do and I realize now it was a bit detrimental to my growth as an author.

I say all this because while in school, I not only stepped out of my reading comfort zone, but also my writing comfort zone.  I experimented with styles.  I experimented with genres.  I shucked the shell of what my fellow students might have thought of as weird, taboo and not popular.  I wrote the typical funny stories, I wrote characters that were young, college types, hip, rebellious, whatever I thought my fellow work shoppers might find good and cause them the least discomfort.  That changed dramatically my last semester when I decided I wanted to push a personal envelope and write a story with an unusual POV (first person plural) and I went further in writing a story about religion.  It came with its due amount of fear.  One being, I hate people who proselytize to me because they perceive my religious beliefs as different from theirs.  Granted, they probably are, but they are surprisingly similar.  I was raised in the American south in a southern Baptist family.  It’s not a far leap to guess what my religious upbringing was like and what beliefs and doctrines I still carry today.  But they are still different and more than anything, personal.  So I don’t proselytize to others.  It’s a courtesy thing.  So writing a religious story made me nervous.  Having others read a religious story made me nervous, because the story isn’t so much based on proselytizing, it’s based on a speculative view of human nature.  Its base was a human story about one of the most famous events in human history.    I really wondered if my fellow student of differing religious upbringings (or lack thereof) could read it objectively and give me good feedback on the form, the craft, the new style of POV I was attempting and not get their panties in a bunch that I dared to write a religion story and present it to a state college classroom.  It was tricky, but I did it.  Not only did everyone give me good feedback, I didn’t have any students chastise me for “forcing” a religious piece on them.  I hate that I live in a world where people are afraid to speak of religion.  I’m fascinated by religion.  It’s history, after all.  And all I can say is if you don’t want to live your life based on religion, at least live your life based on what history has taught us.  It comes back; sometimes with a vengeance.

Forgive the early morning rambling.  I seriously only wanted to post a little blurb about the new story I have published today, “The Grace of None, Save One” featured in the October 2013 edition of The Wordsmith Journal Magazine.  I was happy when this one got picked up, wondering for months if it would be unpublishable in typical literary markets. (the amount of rejections was staggering.)  In the end, I submitted it to a religious based magazine and was happy when I was informed it was picked up,  (with another publishing contract.  Publishing contracts always make it feel more official).  I hope everyone enjoys it as a well-crafted and thoughtful story.  As my personal repertoire of readings has grown over the years, so does my list of publications.  None can begrudge me of that.

Wendy

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