Kicking off this week with a quote from poet/essayist Mary Karr’s Syracuse University commencement address, 2015.
A reflection: Will our lives be immortalized in the Louvre, or written on a sidewalk in chalk?
What I’m Writing This Week
Let me reverse the order for this week and start with my own writing, a bit of text and imagery.
DaVinci’s portrait of Mona Lisa, her identity as yet unproven after 500 years, hangs in the Louvre in Paris. The woman endures, etched in our collective memory.
The Indian leader Gandhi’s image, semi-permanently, lives on a brick wall in Downtown Los Angeles as street art.
The common man worries (translate as: is scared shitless) their image will be drawn on a sidewalk…in chalk…remembered till the first rainy day.
What I’m Reading This Week
My reading pulls together a mashup of sources and voices that intone both harsh reality… and confidence.
First, a quote from The Dead – “If I knew the way I would take you home.” If only…
Next, last Friday’s newsletter from artist/writer Austin Kleon. In a note about writing as a spiritual practice, he references poet/essayist Mary Karr’s commencement address at Syracuse University in 2015. The address is available in book form as Now Go Out There.
Karr told the grads: “I’d like to install a button you could push that could say to you during the bad times, in a really convincing voice: This hard spell might be the start of something truly great I can’t foresee right now because I’m scared shitless.”
That pretty much says where I’m at as I work on my next book, Surfrider. It will be the second in my Film Crew adventure series. I drafted it a year and a half ago. It has been sitting while I dithered around with courses and while life threw curve balls I couldn’t hit. And while I worried that I wasn’t good enough to finish it.
I re-read the draft last week. It’s an exciting story, but the plot is full of holes. Right now I am taking an online course in plotting. I hope it helps me close the gaps. I know I will finish it, but I am scared shitless I won’t find readers.
The current newsletter from author and book coach Dan Blank offers encouragement: “I work with writers everyday on book launches, platform building, and integrating creativity and sharing into their daily lives. If this work seems difficult to you, that is because it is. Because it asks you to stand up for who you are. For the vision of what you want to create. And to connect it with the lives of others.” Thanks, Dan!
And Mary Karr closes us out: “Being smart and rich are lucky, but being curious and compassionate will save your ass.”
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