Monday, September 28, 2015

The great work.

If you have been around the occult community for a while, you'll find them throwing around the terms 'The Great Work'. I became charmed with that expression when I first encountered it decades ago. In this case, what 'the great work' is referring to is not arcane enlightenment. I use it to speak of my writing. It has been a driving force in my life for twenty years, if not longer. As a child, I loved books and wanted to emulate the authors in my life. (It was an enormous privilege to grow up in a family with two authors in the generations before me that were still living during my formative years. I will always be thankful for that.)

When I was young, writing was a romantic thing. While some people dreamed of making lots of money with a big publishing contract, I never did. For me, I was enthralled by the idea of creating worlds and lives separate from my own. I was also in love with language. Some days, I wish that my romance with language included a bit more emphasis upon Spanish. (Those classes were horribly difficult at college.) But I dove into learning about the history and development of the English language with utter joy. I can honestly say that I was crushed when I learned that where I attended college dropped the coursework in Anglo-Saxon the year before I first enrolled. It was part of the reason why I picked Notre Dame of Maryland University.

Even though my attempts to learn the roots of the English language have been challenged over the years by circumstantial difficulties, it did not stop me from embracing the craft of writing. When I wasn't learning how to wield the language like a scalpel (I'm not there yet, but it is a goal of mine.), I was practicing writing in different genres and formats. The process of learning where my strengths lie was difficult and painful at times. There are some forms of writing I simply am horrible at it. Writing news articles, for example, is something I was so bad at that the campus newspaper asked me to stop. It hurt and I was somewhat angry, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't master that format.

But my passion has always been for fiction. I dabbled in poetry as a hobby for several years. That hobby, however, always came second to working on writing stories. I would be remiss in not telling you how much of a thrill it is to see the way a work of fiction comes together on the page. Even my rough drafts, which are not prettiest part of writing, I have a deep love for them. Revision is still hard work. Especially when you are talking about over 50k words and hundreds of pages of text.But it is a labor of love.

I wish I could put into words how much joy I have when I encounter other authors who share the same love for the craft of writing. It doesn't matter what genre or format they write in. These people who are always looking to learn more about their art form and exude pure enthusiasm when they talk about it make me supremely happy because they are my kind of people. They understand the excitement I feel when I am trying out a new technique or the giddy rush of when I encounter something exceptionally well written.

A friend of mine shared a meme with me. I am going to post it here, because it is so delightful I feel that everyone must see it.

Have a beautiful day, hug the weirdos around you, and follow your passions.

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