Fall harvest in La Drôme - With Enthusiasm!

"The Greeks understood the mysterious power of the hidden side of things," wrote Louis Pasteur. "They bequeathed to us one of the most beautiful words in our language––the word 'enthusiasm'--en theos--a god within. The grandeur of human actions is measured by the inspiration from which they spring. Happy is he who bears a god within, and obeys it." poppyI chose "harvest" as the ending title for “Summer in la Drôme,” because, during my stay there, I lived in the fields of my imagination, where I planted and nurtured what grew into 116,297 words of my new novel MELISSA. I’ve brought the results, my harvest, back to America to sell in the publishers marketplace.

I chose Louis Pasteur's quote on enthusiasm because I would never have finished MELISSA if I hadn't obeyed my “en theos” who supported me through the days when no words budded or worse they died on the vine, and who celebrated with me on the days when words burst forth into colorful and loquacious blooms.

I chose the butterfly and poppy images because the enthusiasm of nature is the source of our own and it's contagious. In a sliver of Brazilian forest only a few miles square, scientists have counted more than 1,500 species of butterfly. And the poppy when coupled with another poppy and given seven years and the right conditions will produce 820 thousand million million million descendants. That’s enthusiasm!!!

News to follow on Melissa's publication date. First I must complete the third draft come Spring. So from now on my blog will be about the writing life. Well, not entirely. I am pulling up my Manhattan roots, deeply grown down under for thirty years. It isn’t easy to get out of New York, it takes a lot of enthusiasm, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for some time.

If you would like to learn more about enthusiasm I recommend "Exuberance: The Passion for Life" by Kay Redfield Jamison from whom I cite in the above text.

 

The Katherine Mansfield Story has gone to print!!!

I'm treating you as a friend asking you to share my present minuses in the hope that I can ask you to share my future pluses. —Katherine Mansfield

Today I got exciting news from CreateSpace: “In Pursuit . . . The Katherine Mansfield Story Retold” has been ordered and will be shipped to you within five days. What that means is that I am about to actually, after all these arduous mounts, going to touch finished product. Not the stack of manuscript sheets proudly displayed on my bookshelf or the PDF file but the book itself will be in my hands and I can open the cover and look between the sheets. That’s cool.

Next I will have to approve it. And that will happen very quickly as my primary concern is the cover. I have only seen the jacket on a monitor screen and I can only hope it looks as good. Then I have to email my “design team” and somehow shout “Print it!”

Meanwhile what have I been doing and what will I be doing? Internet Marketing 101 – what else! Long tedious hours pursuing ways to make “In Pursuit . . .“ available to the public thorugh my website. Ah yes, speaking of websites, mine is still in constuction. It has taken way longer than I could ever have imagined. And the writer? What has she been doing? Not a word. And there won’t be a word put to the blank page until I go on my retreat in January. Until then I will continue to market “In Pursuit . . .“ in a responsible manner. I owe it to Katherine Mansfield’s memory and to myself for she would haunt me to the end of my days if I left her hanging.

So though I can’t develop a character, or write dialog, or place a scene, I can still blog. It’s not exactly the same as putting down words on a blank page but it’s better than no writing.

So with that thought I am going to make myself a vodka gimlet. Then I am going lift my glass to all you writers who know the pain of not writing. You who know that feeling when someone asks “what do you do?” and your immediate response is “I’m a writer” and then you immediately ask yourself if that is entirely true seeing you haven’t put ink to paper or fingers to keys in months!

Wait that is not entirely true. Today I spent condensing my 333-page biographical novel into a 500-word plot summary. Not easy. In the next few days I will put the plot summary up on my site so you can see how I did manage to compress “In Pursuit . . .” from 110,000 words to 500.

Katherine Mansfield was a mistress at condensing her stories. And if you don’t know that I suggest you read one of her short story collections. There is a reason for Virginia’s Woolf’s jealousy toward Katherine’s work. And if I was tech-smart I would code a highlight here that would immediately link you to Amazon and Katherine Mansfield’s book collections. I still have to work on that. But I will in the future recommend several of Mansfield’s short stories.

Now before I go here is the shock of it all at least for me. This is the second time I have written this blog tonight. It took a lot of courage for me to start writing a blog again. After the last blog crashed, I was blog-shy. So tonight I started. And guess what happened to my first copy? It disappeared, swallowed up into internet infinity. This second time I have backed-it up so that it won’t happen again. But let me tell you I was ready to pack it in. Instead I slammed my door and sat back down again and here are the results. I liked the first version but at least I did it and I will be back.

Katherine Mansfield is available in fine bookstores!

"Oh, to be a writer, a real writer given up to it and to it alone!” - Katherine Mansfield

How often these past few months have I moaned over that Katherine Mansfield quote while occupied with publishing my book. And now here comes another deterrent from being a writer again – Marketing 102;"Build it and they will come." But with 21st century book releases it's more about Link-it and they might come.

So I have built my web page and linked it to virtually millions. I have also linked to Wikipedia, Goodreads, and Amazon. And before Katherine's 122 birthday candles blow out tonight I must tweet the book release announcement to Tweeter and face it on Facebook and send out countless emails.

If Katherine's extraordinary life hadn't been so brief, perhaps it would not have haunted me as much as it has, and been a driving force behind my publication efforts.

Even in the summer seasons during the past three years when I was researching and writing "In Pursuit . . ." she didn't leave me alone. I would be reclining in my hammock under an ancient walnut tree in the south of France and her spirit would land in the form of a stunning black and gold butterfly on my shoulder and flutter her wings to say, "What are you doing out here? You promised to write my story and you can't do it lying in a hammock.

And now the book cover has been chosen. The readable font decided upon. And I am just waiting to approve the final proof before it goes to print.

So I must get the word out on "In Pursuit . . . " in the hopes that Katherine will live again if only in our imaginations.