On Writing : Louis CK Interviewed on NPR

The following is a quote from comedian Louis CK in an interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air from a couple of weeks ago. I found this bit about script writing especially insightful. Louis had decided to write an episode for his FX series, Louie, based on some of his fellow comedians, in which a friend has informed him that he has decided to commit suicide. Louis wrote the episode mere months before his friend and fellow comedian Patrice O’Neal died of complications from diabetes.

Gross : Have you been in that position where somebody’s told you that they want to kill themselves and you have to decide what are you supposed to do with that? 

C.K. : Well, it’s a scary thing to ponder, you know, but it’s emotional to hear that clip now because, I mean, I wrote that about a lot of comedians I knew coming up and comedy and show business are very cruel and they don’t have a nice way of saying no or good-bye, you know? And a lot of guys live really tough lives in this racket. 

And I’ve known a lot of them and come up with some of them and some have made it, some haven’t. And, you know, the idea of somebody saying to you look me in the eye and tell me I have a reason to live, it’s terrifying to think, well, what if I fail them in that moment?… 

And, you know, it’s just funny because I have such a different perspective on that issue of, like, someone’s not taking care of themselves. Someone’s not keeping themselves safe, and what is your role in that? And the anger I feel towards Doug in that scene is the kind of anger I feel about Patrice now that he’s gone. So it’s interesting to look back on it because the thing – the place I took myself in that scene, as I was writing it, I didn’t know where it was going. I knew I wanted to stand on that street and have him give me that news and I didn’t know where I wanted it to go. So I started writing to him my argument why not to kill yourself, and as I was writing it I realized for this argument to succeed would be really gross. For me to, like, be the guy who gives him the reason to live is so self-serving. 

And the fact that I was even attempting it on paper, I was embarrassed alone in a room. And so the way that I – the path I found to the truth of the scene for me was having Doug be the one to tell me how full of crap I was for trying it. So in other words, as I was sitting there typing here’s why you shouldn’t kill yourself, I stopped and said to myself, oh my god. Congratulations, you pig. You know, who do you think you are? And so then I had Doug basically say that.

I think the quote speaks for itself, but I will say that this is something I contemplate often. In my younger years of writing, I felt afraid of writing what I know, afraid that if I wrote it, it might not be the truth because it’s just me and my perspective. Yet, I have this desperation to write and life as I experience it only spurs me toward writing more. I have to tell this story, I think to myself. How do I tell it truthfully? Will others understand what I mean by what I write?

But the truth is what you know when you’re writing in a room alone. It’s what you uncover, beneath layers of drafts and words and ideas, once you sit down. It is scary because it is real. Don’t be afraid to write the truth. 

Merry Christmas

“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”
 - Luke 1:78-79.

Wherever you are, however you celebrate, may you find light, peace, love, and mercy. Merry Christmas, dear friends.


P.S. Friday, December 23 is the last day you can enter to win one of my paintings on Abby’s blog

bookish : A Guide for the Dreaded Semicolon

The dreaded semicolon. Most avoid it using it, but it’s really not that hard to understand. Should you need a re-education in appropriate semicolon use, here is your guide, courtesy of the Oatmeal :

book·ish/ˈbo͝okiSH/Adjective


1. (of a person or way of life) Devoted to reading and studying rather than worldly interests.
2. (of language or writing) Literary in style or allusion.
3. (of art and all manner of lovely things) devoted to the written word as a form of art and as a way of seeing the world.
4. (of SheWritesandRights.blogspot.com) anything of the aforementioned characteristics as they are found on the interwebs and reposted by Bethany, because bookish and writerly things always give reason for amusement.
P.S. Don’t forget to enter Abby’s giveaway for The Ripe Word! Enter by Friday, December 23. 

Holiday Giveaway : The Ripe Word

Abby is hosting a giveaway for my Etsy shop, The Ripe Word, on her blog from now until Friday, December 23! Head over to Underlined and Bold to enter! Thank you, Abby, for supporting my little shop!

Business in the City

Tuesday night I joined Jess Constable of Makeunder My Life for Business in the City, a gathering of small business owners for the purpose of talking through ideas, struggles, and plans related to starting a new business. Now that I’ve opened my Etsy shop, I’m looking for ways to connect with other small business owners and dialogue with them about this process. Having a network of like-minded people is key to building your business, for moral support, for idea generation, for learning the nuts and bolts of business success. It was so great to hear the diverse ideas and experiences that other attendees were there to share. A definite feeling of we’re all in this together
I also had the pleasure of meeting two dear blogging friends live and in person, Abby and Melissa. Abby is a nanny/waitress/traveler/blogger/total free spirit girl that blogs over at Underlined and Bold. She just completed her first ever marathon just because she wanted to “prove to myself that I could do it.” How awesome is that?! Keep your eyes open, Abby is doing a giveaway of one of my paintings in the next day or two. And Miss Melissa is a freelance writer that is about to celebrate transitioning from her full time job to her freelance job – so inspiring! Go get ‘em, girl.  
Tuesday evening solidified so many things for me. That writing this blog was the best random thing I’ve ever done. That there are people in this world that understand this visceral need to make an impact, to leave a positive mark, through art and writing and creativity. That the best thing I can do for myself, for others, for the world, is just keep going
Thanks, Jess, for opening up this opportunity for beginners like us to be inspired and motivated. 

Poem : For the Apple.

For the Apple. 

I delight in the crispness of an apple, 
 my lips wrapped around smooth skin
 and pure, sweet flesh
 broke open between my teeth. 


To hold it in my hand, 
 the weight of it reminds me, 
 the gleam of green skin reminds me 
 of growth 
 of goodness
 of briskness and autumn
 of contentment 
in the order and seasons of things. 


Sun 
and rain
and leaves of trees
then blossoms bursting to this new thing,
  this sweet new thing,
ready for the picking, 
for the plucking,
for the grip of my fingers,
for my lips on its skin
for my delight in this gritty, delicious 
  nectar of nature 
  and newness of life. 


In one sweet moment, 
I hold goodness in the grip of my hand.

book·ish : In the Haze of a Good Read.

Loving this quote from one of my favorite actors. I can totally relate, Mr. Firth. Are you in the haze of a good read? I’ve just begun 84, Charing Cross Road at the recommendation (and donation!) of a friend. I’m already loving it. 

Source: imgfave.com via Bethany on Pinterest

~

book·ish/ˈbo͝okiSH/Adjective


1. (of a person or way of life) Devoted to reading and studying rather than worldly interests.
2. (of language or writing) Literary in style or allusion.
3. (of art and all manner of lovely things) devoted to the written word as a form of art and as a way of seeing the world.
4. (of SheWritesandRights.blogspot.com) anything of the aforementioned characteristics as they are found on the interwebs and reposted by Bethany, because bookish and writerly things always give reason for amusement.*

Readership Doesn’t Determine Writership.

I’ve been churning out poetry and journal entries like a human word mill, but when it comes to writing prose I’ve been struggling. I write with a feeling that I come close, but I miss the mark. The head of the nail is far away from where my words land. Poetry so adequately touches my emotions in that deep place where the logic and structure of prose do not fit. I dwell in that place right now. Memories fill my thoughts. Words and rhythms come naturally, lull me to sleep when the practicality of life feels burdensome and scary. 
If you don’t believe me, I can send you a screen shot of the 47 different TextEdit windows that lay open and waiting with half written posts in them. I can tell you that the only things that feel accomplished and complete to me are the six [count them! 6!] poems I’ve drafted in the last two weeks. This is record breaking, but also upside down and backwards to my usual pace and direction and orientation of writing. 
I’ve been worrying and nibbling off all of my finger nails over the idea that my blog isn’t a plethora of “Top 10 Ways to Blahblahblah” and that my daily blog readership is approximately 38 percent more than the number of people that actually respond to what I write.
No more. 
I’ve given myself a manicure and moved on. Because here is the thing that consoles and motivates me : 

My readership doesn’t determine my writership.

I am a writer, first and foremost. My blog is a medium for my writing, not the other way around. 
Most blogs are prose, pieces of advice for learning how to build SEO in order to become the next piece-of-advice giver. That works for some people. It’s garnered 30,000 readers and an e-book publication for them. Congratulations. 
I say that without sarcasm or disdain or jealousy. 
I say that with gratitude for the encouragement and useful information that continue to guide my journey as a writer. 
And I say that with the knowledge that it isn’t for me.
I may lend my advice on occasion, but mostly, this space is my medium for sharing my creative writing and dialoguing about the process. I’m going to be posting a lot of poetry and pieces like this one, but maybe not as much prose or any formulaic posts that make my SEO and Klout score happy. 
So what, Bethany? 
I guess I’m finally coming to terms with the idea that it’s good to be a writer that blogs, simply and plainly. And for the first time in awhile, these words I’m writing don’t feel forced. 
This space is where you will find me. The whole me. The girl that sits amidst half empty coffee cups and pens and scraps of paper and writes what she thinks about the world, in whatever words and order they come to her. 
I am no expert, but I have things to say about writing and creativity and life, and I’d love to dialogue with you about that. Join me. Let’s sit down with a cup of coffee and talk about our families and our dreams and what we wrote last night. 

The Velvet Coat.

It hung on her coat rack for most of my childhood. My five, six, seven year old hands would pet the cuff, rub it against my cheek as she shoved my feet into snow boots before school. A picture of her in it hung above my Grandmother’s rocker for years. Her dark feathered tendrils disappeared into the dark velvet collar, her face and eyes shining out from it with happiness, mischief. She was gorgeous, I thought.

One day she handed it to me.
“It’ll fit you now. Do you want to try it? I used to wear it to see the opera in the city while I was at college. Made me feel special with heels and my tweed skirt.”
And as I slip it on in the mornings, right sleeve then left sleeve, flinging my own dark hair from beneath the collar, I imagine her in this life before we knew one another. Laughing, glamorous and innocent and young in a dark velvet coat in the amber glow of city lights. I wrap it closer to myself, this jacket, this girl in another world. Stay with me now.

book·ish : A Holiday Gift Guide.

With Christmas just around the corner, I’ve been browsing Etsy for gift ideas. I’ve found plenty for family, and of course, plenty to pine over for myself. Here are a few gift ideas for the word nerds in your life. 
A Bookish Gift Guide. This one is conglomerative – Woolf, Bronte, Shakespeare, Austen are all noted here, but there are some functional pieces as well. And what reader doesn’t love a good houndstooth scarf? 

Let Shakespeare do the talking. Say I love you and Merry Christmas with one of these beautiful pieces.  

book·ish/ˈbo͝okiSH/Adjective


1. (of a person or way of life) Devoted to reading and studying rather than worldly interests.
2. (of language or writing) Literary in style or allusion.
3. (of art and all manner of lovely things) devoted to the written word as a form of art and as a way of seeing the world.
4. (of SheWritesandRights.blogspot.com) anything of the aforementioned characteristics as they are found on the interwebs and reposted by Bethany, because bookish and writerly things always give reason for amusement.
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