Sunday, November 23, 2014
Pretending to Write
9:01 am est
I have heard it again, the remark floating in the air
when a reader picks up pages that he or she does not appreciate by a not-so-well-known writer, someone accusing someone else
of “pretending to write”. I may not be capable of speaking for everyone here, but I do not believe there is any
such honest endeavor as “pretending to write”. Someone either has or has not written something. Writing
is defined in Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary as: 1) the “act or art of forming visible letters
or characters” and 2) “a letter note or notice used to communicate or record”. It is my suspicion that when
someone is accused of “pretending to write” the critic is taking a shot at explaining that he or she does not
agree with the communication taking place.
and writers may be critiqued on their form, style, content, technique and audience integration. Clarity and appreciation of
literary standards is the primary aim of such critiques given to improve a writer’s contributions for the readers or
to teach writers how to best utilize established practices successfully. When these critiques become a method of rendering
popular opinion, the message sent is that critics do not appreciate the method of communication rendered or messages sent
within a writer’s communication.
It is a scary world, in the art
form of writing, when writers are accused of “pretending to write” simply due to a desire for them to be discouraged
from communicating. Image and popularity have become so ingrained in our culture that “pretending to write” as
a put down is often followed by the observation that “even if you write, no one would ever read your work”. This
is not just personal enmity; those who phrase such words at writers are explaining that they do not value the cultural contribution
of writers communities unless they are “approved” and that the freedom of expressing ideas and values in society
is only to be granted to writers that can present larger approving readerships. I have faith that writers will continue
to write despite these mentalities.
On a personal level, I know what it
means to run up against this in people. I have heard worse from my own with questions about “Why write? No one cares.”
and other such things. I write because I care. I write believing that in a wide and varied planet Earth, I will find others
that care as well. Sometimes the best writing is because I care AND others care and I can write beyond my own backyard to
encompass the communication needs for others.
Beware the idea that writers
are trained monkeys typing “visible letters or characters”. Writers strive to better their craft through
form, style and technique to reach readers with content that is clear to those willing to interact with communication on the
pages. All audience members will not embrace every writer’s communications in writing. On the other hand, writers continue
to write regardless of those that “pretend” otherwise.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
9:07 pm edt
In Dante’s Inferno, Virgil guides Dante to a place where he finds
himself choosing to “turn back to look again upon the pass which
never had a living person left.” This is at times what it feels like in the colloquial workspace called “Writer’s
Hell”. It does not matter which type of writer’s employment (journalist, novelist, essayist, etc.) a writer’s
craft entails or where a writer finds him or herself in life, we all go through “Writer’s Hell” at some
point in time. Pages and ink can be a lonely place and writers are known to be miserable without writing AND with too much
writing. “Writer’s Hell” is a prerogative and a curse of the solitary pursuit of communication through the
medium of the written language.
I have my own tales to tell of working the writer’s craft, but a few words on how I see “Writer’s
Hell” (from my own perspective) are in order as I have found some strength in my life long pursuit of writing. There
are three observations to make about “Writer’s Hell”: 1) No one but the writer is in “Writer’s
Hell” 2) “Writer’s Hell” can spread further than the writer’s desk 3) Writing will not necessarily
relieve the symptoms of “Writer’s Hell”.
With these points in mind, I find it necessary to observe that writing is based
on life and that sacrificing your life for your art form opens the door for a disconnection from communication that severely
cripples a writer’s pen. On the other hand, as a writer I can state that writing is central to being a writer and laying
down my pen never made me any happier in life. In fact, I quit for two and a half years to try to be a better wife and this
made for more marital problems than I already had in place.
There are many well-written pieces on work/life balance, but a writer has a third
element to deal with- the creative spark. The creative spark can ignite at odd moments, die down to embers when it is needed,
and cause fits of “Writer’s Hell” if it is ignored. Work/life balance is healthy for most people. I have
found that to incorporate a healthy creative spark I have to have some loving care for my own needs directly pertaining to
the page and pen. This becomes a “three-way” balance (rather like a tri-pod) instead of either/or evenness.
There is not a way, as
far as I know, to be a writer and not experience “Writer’s Hell” in some fashion over the course of a writer’s
life. No known cure is one hundred percent effective for every writer as we all have our own personalities and quirks. In
the middle of the hardest writing efforts and the crafting of endless communications of written words, I think a quote from
Mike & The Mechanics “The Living Years” says it best: “…And if you don’t give up
and you don’t give in you may just be okay.”
-Kimberly A. McKenzie
Here you'll learn all about The Rest Room and Kimberly A. McKenzie: Follow the Blog for facts and fictions.
The Rest Room Fact Sheet
1. The Rest Room is Room 223 at the Motel Min.
Hale, South Carolina in The Rest Room is named after Nathan Hale- a soldier in the Continental Army during the
3. There are many types of shipping containers: intermodal freight, corrugated
boxes, wooden boxes, crates, intermediate bulk, bulk boxes, drums and insulated shipping containers.
Insulated shipping containers are a type of packaging used to ship temperature sensitive products such as foods, pharmaceuticals,
and chemicals. In The Rest Room, non-traditional shipping methods are at the heart of puzzeling circumstances
for the three main characters: Kervila, Optin, and Henry.
Look for the sequel
to The Rest Room. The Dream of Keriye will follow with Kervila's journey to find the truth among
a web of intricate coincidences.