Friday, June 22, 2007

Mid-wife and creative expression

I thought I'd be leaving messages more frequently...but I forgot about traveling. I'm just back from Write! Canada, a writer's conference at which I taught five classes on writing the historical novel and one class about putting duct tape on the harpies, those negative voices that keep us from writing. I had a grand time! Canadians are kind, there's just no other way to say it!
One of the things that happened was my awareness that mid-wife, as a metaphor for the work we writer's do, is very fitting. I've been reading Jan Richardson's work Sacred Journeys, A Woman's Daily Prayer Book that is filled with great insights and connections about women and life. In that book she notes that mid-wife means "with-woman" and that mid-wives give everything to bring that baby to life, all along the way, not just at the delivery. They'll even set aside their own families to make sure the delivery goes as well as they can make it. It's holy work, that's how Jan described it.
One of the class participants, a writer, told me that she'd been asked to submit her manuscript to an editor and I cheered and said how wonderful, good going! She was sort of ho hum about it, saying it would probably come back, she probably wasn't serious etc. etc. Well, that mid-wife image jumped right out at me. We wouldn't wait until the baby took it's breath before we celebrated, would we? We have to celebrate each step of the way. When that ultra sound picture of our friend's baby is shown to us we don't say, well, gee, I can't really see what you see, and it's only a picture and pretty small at that so let's wait until the baby is delivered before we cheer, ok? None of us would do that and yet with our creative efforts we often do.
So this week I'm cheering steps along the way. I finished my manuscript and sent the revisions off to my publisher. I taught in Canada! And survived! Yesterday a very famous sculpture who has connections to Aurora, the little town where my characters live in this last series said my work reminded him of the writing of Cormac McCarthy (who happens to be the national book award winner and current author of the bestseller, The Road.) So ok, it's just one person's opinion but for just a little moment, my name was in the same sentence as a National Book Award Winner. You can't beat that!
This week I also opened a page. It's another connection with other authors and readers that I hope will make new strides in marketing for me. My publisher also has set up a blog tour. I'll keep you posted but for sure I'll be on 10 blogs and one you can link to on the 28th of June is Margaret Daley's blog Join me there.
Meanwhile, we're baling alfalfa hay this week hoping the rain stays off. We've had equipment problems but looks like things are working. Some friends from the Seattle area are coming for their annual "testosterone poisoning" weekend: seven guys in a camper who'll fish and lay around and enjoy the sunshine. It's been in the 90s so I hope they're ready for heat.
Hope you're ready for heat too...heating up your writing life or whatever it is you're about. Jane