Friday Speak Out!: Writing, Not Making Moonshine, Guest post by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Friday, June 28, 2013
My process of generating writing can appear as being as interesting as counting wood shavings on a busy carpentry shop’s floor. Like most word players, I generate my ideas, organize them, and then develop my language according to the situation into which I want to place them. Thereafter, I focus on rewriting.

Rewriting is a lackluster operation, albeit one without which there can be no worthwhile product. There’s little glamour in struggling with nuances of expression, in sorting important ideas toward the goal of making discourse seem effortlessly eased into existence, or in improving the mechanical precision of texts. Like forming desserts from egg whites, good writing is necessarily laborious; the deed requires much thrashing.

What’s more, in my case, there are no accolades forthcoming from my dearest others to support me in my process. My adored sons and daughters and beloved spouse roll their eyes when I announce what they esteem as “yet another” acceptance. As well, they rant loudly, with familial impunity, if I insist on offering up what looks to be, per their measurement, a goofy text, or something otherwise viewed as embarrassing, such as works concerning menopause or narratives about invisible hedgehogs. To wit, my writing necessarily gets scrutinized by my local critical thinkers after it has milled through my process, but long before it reaches the desk of persons whose names can be found on mastheads.

I strive to salvage a smidgen of self-worth by striving not to care what my family thinks. After all, I’m engaged in writing, not in making moonshine.

Consider that other authors: create their works for folks interested in similar topics, let loose any and all critters roaming their heads and then stick around or not for subsequently needed cleanup, or get wasted on questionable substances before offering the results of their chemically-influenced fancies to publishing venues. More often than not, other word shufflers: insist on describing the rails and bricks of outhouses, adamantly remark on dysfunctional mobile phones SIM cards, assert their right to publicly contemplate the merits of edible wild flowers, and aver, in general, their entitlement to write wonky bits. As for me, I write what seems cool, and then subject my text to the caprices of my family.

No writers ought to be made culpable for the quirks of industry; we merely take responsibility for the decisions we make about why and how we write. In my case, the reality remains that the folks who love my writing best are not kin, but are: academics, professional parents, and lovers of speculative fiction. They resemble me; I mimic them.

So, while I eschew notions such as “adequate sleep gives us luscious skin, helps us control our metabolisms, and makes us feel energized” and while I write neither romances nor mysteries, I get my groove on with: hard core science fiction, social morality essays, and poetry concerning lint found in pretend critters’ navels. Essentially, I write for me.

* * *
KJ Hannah Greenberg eats oatmeal and keeps company with a hibernaculum of sometimes rabid imaginary hedgehogs. Those critters, in turn, take bites out of brooding critics, uncomplimentary readers, and assorted nocturnal terrors. Her most recent books include: Can I be Rare, Too? (Barometric Pressures, Forthcoming, 2013), Intelligence’s Vast Bonfires (Lazarus Media, 2012), Supernal Factors (The Camel Saloon Books on Blog, 2012), Fluid & Crystallized (Fowlpox Press, 2012), Don’t Pet the Sweaty Things (Bards and Sages Publishing, 2012), A Bank Robber’s Bad Luck with His Ex-Girlfriend (Unbound CONTENT, 2011), and Oblivious to the Obvious: Wishfully Mindful Parenting (French Creek Press, 2010).

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



Margo Dill said...

KJ: That last paragraph cracked me up, but the best line is this: I WRITE FOR ME. It's really all we can write for. Then we can hope and pray that someone else will want to read it. Then paying us is great, too. :)

Unknown said...

I suspect if you did make moonshine, it would be excellent. I loved this seemingly effortless post!

Sioux Roslawski said...

KJ--I agree. "I write for me" is the line we should all hold fast onto.

If we like what we write, if we write what gets us jazzed, hopefully others will appreciate it.

Thanks for the post.

Unknown said...

I think as writers we can only pander to the market and expectations so much, then we just have to write as our heart leads. Great article reminding us that this is the essence of the "why" of what we do.

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