Just because

Digging in the ancient but still functioning bowels of an old (6 years!) laptop, I came across a story I wrote in the spring. Immediately  I thought “I should post this on Wuthering Bites,” not “I should send this out for publication.” Back in the spring I was in a fever, a St. Vitus at the keyboard, having decided that the time had come to peddle my prose beyond the blogosphere.

I’m not gonna whine. I’m not gonna complain. I’ve got nothin’ to complain about. I’m lucky I have time to write instead of working a second job as a banquet server on the Al Gore $1000 a plate stump circuit to make rent. Instead, I get to go to my desk after dinner, sit and gaze out over the neighbours’ rooftops, through the naked trees, up into the stars and write.

Over at Red’s Wrap, Jan Wilberg wrote about wanting to have more impact from her blog. I admire her ambition. I look at my two blogs and I am thrilled that ANYBODY reads and that some of you seem to enjoy what I write. What more could I ask?

I’ve made half-hearted attempts to find publications for both my fiction and non-fiction writing but I always come back to ‘why bother’ when I already have an audience? Fame isn’t my goal. Wealth isn’t what I’m after. I’m after readers. Why does it matter whether some external source decides to publish something I sent in? Why are the readers of those publications supposedly better than blog readers?

In theory, it might matter because I have a story to tell and those publications have bigger (not necessarily better) reach than my two tiny blogs. It matters because I want to be heard. It matters because telling a story around an empty campfire isn’t the same as telling it to attentive listeners. But you do that right here. And over there at Wuthering Bites.

I could sit at my desk and pump out stories, get my expert editor (aka my husband) to red pen them, shine them up ‘til they smell like shoe polish, then send them out to sit in publishers’ slush piles gradually turning yellow like unwatered grass until some avid young intern is sent to shovel the mess into the writer’s bonfire. (Let’s call it the bonfire of the vanities.) No one but my husband and I would ever have read the stories. But I like hearing from YOU, real people, real readers. Does that make me a self-absorbed narcissist – as someone once said to me about blogging? That same person also said if bloggers had anything worth saying they’d go out and get their work published.

Writing and putting it out there is risky business, especially in the blogosphere. It’s like being a dancer and getting a gig at this club known for its edgy performances. You get on stage and layer by layer you reveal yourself through movement, trying to get at some truth you’re not even sure you understand. You’re left standing on the stage, naked, with a bunch of slavering neanderthals transferring all their desires onto you when what you meant to do was bare your soul, not your breasts. And then you end up feeling like a boob. But you keep doing it because you have to, not because you want to be drooled on. Sometimes though you think maybe you should have just stayed in your kitchen and danced alone – fully clothed – because there are some people out there who think you’re just a stripper, not an artist, who secretly wants to be ogled.

Maybe not the best analogy but do you get my drift? I’m going to get this stuff off my hard drive and into the ether. I’m going to keep dancing. I hope you’ll keep reading. In the meantime I encourage you to visit some of my favourite bloggers whose work is wondrous.

DryCrikJournal – John Dofflemyer
TheLittleOldLadyWho – Cynthia Jobin
Weave a Web – Bruce Goodman
Ellen Morris Prewitt
Dawn2Dawn – Michael Andrew Just
The Sick Days – Shelley Page
On The Heath – Heath Muchena
Red’s Wrap – Jan Wilberg
Martha Lightfoot Illustrator

Artists – every one of them.


26 thoughts on “Just because

  1. Martha Lightfoot December 4, 2015 / 8:36 am

    Thank you for the link Susanne. I LOVE reading your stories. I don’t think it’s narcissistic – it’s communicating your ideas and enjoying the moment when someone responds. It’s like E.M.Forster said – “Only connect”…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne December 5, 2015 / 7:42 am

      I don’t think it’s narcissistic either (but maybe that’s a sign of narcissism??) and blogging is just one tool of many available for self expression. I’d lick the boots of whoever invented blogging if I knew who it was, that’s how much I appreciate this medium.

      I had to look up the E.M. Forster quote. Have you read it in context? I’ve pasted it here because it is so appropriate to the kind of writing I like to explore AND it is strangely relevant to the writing assignment I’m working on today: “Outwardly [Henry Wilcox] was cheerful, reliable, and brave; but within, all had reverted to chaos, ruled, so far as it was ruled at all, by an incomplete asceticism. Whether as boy, husband, or widower, he had always the sneaking belief that bodily passion is bad…. And it was here that Margaret hoped to help him.
      It did not seem so difficult. She need trouble him with no gift of her own. She would only point out the salvation that was latent in his own soul, and in the soul of every man. Only connect! That was her whole sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.” Thanks for that.


  2. John December 4, 2015 / 9:07 am

    Thanks, you said it for me, Susanne… and of course, for mentioning DryCrikJournal. Keep dancing when and while you can, it’s inspiring!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Susanne December 5, 2015 / 7:46 am

      I really do love dancing in the kitchen. It’s small and the sound fills it up and so do I when I start whirling around. As long as the fingers can hold a pen and my muscle memory finds the letters on the keyboard, I’ll keep going.


  3. jbbluesman December 4, 2015 / 11:49 am

    DO keep writing Sue! It makes me smile when I see that I’ve received a notification in my email that you’ve posted something on one of your blogs.I never know what to expect, which is exciting! Stay true and honest to your craft and we will always be here! Smiling!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Susanne December 5, 2015 / 7:52 am

      Spoken like the dedicated musician you are, Jean. You inspire me with your commitment to YOUR craft. I’ll keep sending out the odd piece (emphasis on odd) for publication and maybe someone will pick something up, but it’s not the focus of my writing anymore. Not from discouragement but more along the lines of what Cynthia so clearly expressed in her comment – that writing and hawking your writing can be two different skills. Yes, I’m sure I can learn the other but that would take away from the writing time which I value more than the actual learning to flog. Maybe when I retire from the salaried life and the kids have flown the nest, maybe then I can concentrate on that more. But right now, blogging satisfies many itches. Hugs to you, old friend. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  4. Bruce Goodman December 4, 2015 / 12:13 pm

    Thanks for the mention, Susanne. Dancing, naked or not, in the kitchen conjures up a most unwelcome image. I much prefer to imagine you, clothed, penning the wonderful stuff you do. It is a delight to be one of your groupies!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne December 5, 2015 / 7:52 am

      Hahaha, Bruce, you always make me smile. It is a delight to be one of YOUR groupies!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Cynthia Jobin December 4, 2015 / 1:43 pm

    Thanks for the link, Susanne…

    I think we first met in the blogosphere after I read and told you how much I loved a piece on your old blog and/or you reblogged my poem “A Great Reckoning In A Little Room,” which is exactly about this topic of writing-fame-publication-why bother?

    You shut down that blog shortly thereafter to make a stab, as you said, at getting your work published out in the real world. But you must have missed blogging (as compared to the “submission” world) because you reappeared here and on wuthering bites, as I was most happy to see!
    I’ve learned over the years that to deal seriously with one’s itch and gift of writing is almost antithetical to the job of hawking the work. Art, and selling art, are very different activities and use different talents. Where did we acquire notions that publication will satisfy us, when being read, understood, and appreciated is really what we want.?

    I think people who write for the importance they think it will bring them may not be real writers anyway. They seem constantly to be complaining about how hard it is, and needing prompts and crutches. And how much attention is enough? It could be the case that more is less.

    Selling a million copies of one’s work does not mean it is good, or valuable, appreciated, or even read. Hearing from some good readers on a blog may in time turn out to be the more satisfying thing. Becoming a star–or even a twinkle– in the literary canon of our time, well, that’s a matter that has little to do with the work itself. And now that there may not be any such thing as a serious literary canon anymore, the eventual fate of our work, and its repute, seems to be a matter completely out of our hands. Perhaps blogging is new pioneer territory for writers, and “publication” will mean something quite different in the future.

    Your own work is very good, and apparently inevitable. Keep at it. I’ll keep reading.

    And now go, this mess is over!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Susanne December 5, 2015 / 8:06 am

      “Where did we acquire notions that publication will satisfy us, when being read, understood, and appreciated is really what we want?” Over the last 9 months, since I announced my grand ambition to reach for publication, I have come to this same conclusion. It seems to me the publishing world is so fractured now with so many vehicles available for expression that you could be right about blogging as a new frontier. There is, however, a fearful amount of dreck to be found on blogs – but that’s also the case with the publishing world, too, right? Anyway, I had to get this off my chest, mostly as a way to move on and just enjoy writing without the self-imposed pressure to find homes for my stuff. They have a home right here.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. exiledprospero December 4, 2015 / 6:36 pm

    If you write because it’s your job to write–you’re a writer. But if you write because there are embers within you that won’t be snuffed out–you’re also a writer. I make no distinction.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Susanne December 5, 2015 / 8:12 am

      I have no doubt I’m a writer and maybe a competent one at that, but one who is also learning about where the work and I fit in the grand scheme of things and what really matters to me. It is, as Cynthia says this: “… being read, understood, and appreciated …”. This doesn’t necessarily come from millions of readers. It comes from a few thoughtful, engaged readers, all of whom I hear from right here.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne December 5, 2015 / 8:15 am

      Hi Cath! Thanks for stopping by my virtual home. I have no intention of quitting writing. It’s like I’ve discovered the best bottle of Pinot Grigio and a view to go with it and some friends who sit down with me and have a glass from time to time. What could be better?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cynthia Jobin December 5, 2015 / 2:37 pm

        That is a lovely image with the wine and the view and the friends and all….but could you make that Pinot Noir instead?


      • Susanne December 5, 2015 / 8:17 pm

        You bet, Cynthia! I’d happily share a bottle of red with you.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Ellen Morris Prewitt December 9, 2015 / 7:27 pm

    You mentioned me!! I am so thrilled. Really. Thank you!! And I have to tell you, I was loving the stripping metaphor and then you just nailed it—”and you end up feeling like a boob.” That made me laugh out loud.
    I spent time this fall sending out much work to literary journals, something I haven’t done in a while because of working on the novels. Rejections have been trickling in: “we really enjoyed your work but then there was this bitty thing we didn’t like.” I once had the patience to keep submitting—2 times a year—and build a relationship until something got published, but I’m not there any more. And over 30,000 people have downloaded my stories. A literary journal can’t deliver that kind of audience. So it really is about what you want. I’m so glad you will be publishing new stories right here where we can read them.


    • Susanne December 12, 2015 / 3:09 pm

      I LOVE hearing I made you laugh!

      30,000 is truly an enviable number of downloads. Congratulations!

      Figuring out what you want from writing is a significant part of writing, isn’t it? I hadn’t thought of the cycle of submitting and rejection as an opportunity to build a relationship. You have such a healthy way of viewing it, Ellen. Thanks for that perspective – although I wonder what kind of relationship it is when there is such an imbalance of power.


      • Ellen Morris Prewitt December 12, 2015 / 4:30 pm

        Yes, imbalance of power. And I frequently had to conclude, after several times of “getting close,” that my work really would never be exactly what they wanted. As I type this, I’m thinking a parody using sentences from rejection letters would be funny 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Susanne December 13, 2015 / 11:49 am

        Do it, Ellen! I don’t even get rejection letters. Just punishing silence.


  8. hilarycustancegreen December 15, 2015 / 6:17 pm

    Go for it. I’ve grown lazy over sending out those letters… You might like to know that I read many books, but tend to shy away from long stories in blogs. Hmm, I must think about this.


    • Susanne December 16, 2015 / 6:41 pm

      I find it difficult to read blog posts longer than 1000 words and I’m not sure why, either. Maybe too many years of scanning e-mail quickly for the meat of the message has made me an impatient screen reader.


  9. J.B. Whitmore December 20, 2015 / 12:21 am

    It’s an odd slog out here in blog land. Thanks for the links, and happy writing.


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