Releasing Angels From Granite

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'I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.' Michelangelo.

A heartfelt, hopeful and honest screed for scribes...

 

There is always a chance…

There is a chance that your novel will snag the attention of some influential agent who understands where you're coming from and how the dynamics of the marketplace might be harnessed to your book, that he/she will carry the rest of the team and that you will get to edit and polish it under the eye of a sympathetic and enthusiastic editor.

There is always a chance that you will eventually hear that a publishing house wants to pick up the work. It could take a year, or two...or three...

There is always a chance that you will get a non-returnable advance…

There is always a chance that you will attract sales, sell online, to bookshops, to libraries, achieve foreign rights…

There is a chance that your work will gain sufficient interest for said agent to want to see follow-up titles…

There is even an off-the-scale chance that, in terms of success, you'll become the next J K Rowling… (When nothing is certain, anything is possible...)

But bear in mind…

Such phenomenal luck happens by accident. No one predicts it. No one contrives it. No one knows why or how it comes about, though in retrospect reasons will be assigned, patterns recreated with superstitious obsession and hopes staked on dreams and hot air.

Rather…

Write because it is your own sacred path to comprehension of the world and humanity...

Because you want to share some of those revelations...

Because it puts life's joys and agonies in a truer perspective...

Because you have a story to tell and, by heaven, you're going to tell it…

Write, develop the knack of objective appraisal, and refine your process. The insights gained by commitment alone will work greater wonders than an MFA, or Creative Writing Degree… (New authors seldom believe this!)

Write...and keep writing...and you will have many adventures and epiphanies…

Write...because it will do the work of the Sculptor on the glistening marble (granite, maybe, for most of us!) that is the unique You...and will thereby change the universe…

And for those following the dream of fame and fortune, it may be worth noting…

There is no automatic connection between writing well and the ability to write and construct fiction.

Releasing cherubs from stone is not for everyone in that sense.


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Margaret Drabble's writing room, jigsaw pieces on the table.

Comments 9

 
Monika Schott on Wednesday, 19 August 2015 20:26

Gorgeous, Rosy. ;)

Gorgeous, Rosy. ;)
Rosy Cole on Friday, 21 August 2015 16:32

Moni, that's much appreciated. Thanks! :-)

Moni, that's much appreciated. Thanks! :-)
Ken Hartke on Wednesday, 19 August 2015 22:07

Thanks, Rosy, I needed to see this today.

Thanks, Rosy, I needed to see this today.
Rosy Cole on Friday, 21 August 2015 16:33

I'm glad if it helped in any way, Ken. Thanks for saying so :-)

I'm glad if it helped in any way, Ken. Thanks for saying so :-)
Stephen Evans on Wednesday, 19 August 2015 22:42

We owe it to the angels to keep going.

We owe it to the angels to keep going.
Katherine Gregor on Thursday, 20 August 2015 09:03

William Hutchinson Murray:

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!"
(The "Goethe couplet" referred to here is from an extremely loose translation of Goethe's Faust lines 214-30 made by John Anster in 1835.)

William Hutchinson Murray: "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!" (The "Goethe couplet" referred to here is from an extremely loose translation of Goethe's Faust lines 214-30 made by John Anster in 1835.)
Rosy Cole on Friday, 21 August 2015 17:01

It's funny, I often think of that couplet in relation to writing...and even publishing. The 'Murray' paragraph also rings with deep wisdom.

But as regards the present publishing scene, those statements need to be taken with a pinch of salt. There's a perception that if you work hard enough, for long enough, gain all the advice there is going, you'll make it in terms of 'the system' itself in the end. It would be nice if it were true (I think, though I'm not sure!). But industry and good content are largely unnoticed these days. No one is waiting on our efforts. But we should welcome modern-day opportunities to put our work out there. Despite the fact that technology has clogged the market, I suspect it will eventually sift the truly committed.

Thanks kindly for sharing these thoughts, Katia.

It's funny, I often think of that couplet in relation to writing...and even publishing. The 'Murray' paragraph also rings with deep wisdom. But as regards the present publishing scene, those statements need to be taken with a pinch of salt. There's a perception that if you work hard enough, for long enough, gain all the advice there is going, you'll make it in terms of 'the system' itself in the end. It would be nice if it were true (I think, though I'm not sure!). But industry and good content are largely unnoticed these days. No one is waiting on our efforts. But we should welcome modern-day opportunities to put our work out there. Despite the fact that technology has clogged the market, I suspect it will eventually sift the truly committed. Thanks kindly for sharing these thoughts, Katia.
Anonymous on Friday, 21 August 2015 15:50

I do appreciate what you say, Rosy, but I can't help looking at the Michelangelo miracle and saying, "Chaz, I think making aerospace parts was your peak." Is this humility or futility? But -- I'll slug along. Because, as a woman friend said to me years ago in Los Angeles, "it seems as if you just have to tell it."

Interesting sidelight: I recently sent Katherine Gregor's contribution to a great-niece who's in trouble in Florida. I've been passing this on to different people since 2004. I have several copies that I printed out sitting beside me as I write, along with a version of The Lord's Prayer I say when I'm alone. It's as close as we can get to the original Greek in which the prayer was first spoken. I try to send things to the kid in Florida that will alter her self-perceptions, along with my own experience and assurances that she is loved and valued. Guess I was a little stunned just now to see that. I probably thought of it as my own personal discovery. We do that. (I do get good responses from the kid down south.)

I do appreciate what you say, Rosy, but I can't help looking at the Michelangelo miracle and saying, "Chaz, I think making aerospace parts was your peak." Is this humility or futility? But -- I'll slug along. Because, as a woman friend said to me years ago in Los Angeles, "it seems as if you just have to tell it." Interesting sidelight: I recently sent Katherine Gregor's contribution to a great-niece who's in trouble in Florida. I've been passing this on to different people since 2004. I have several copies that I printed out sitting beside me as I write, along with a version of The Lord's Prayer I say when I'm alone. It's as close as we can get to the original Greek in which the prayer was first spoken. I try to send things to the kid in Florida that will alter her self-perceptions, along with my own experience and assurances that she is loved and valued. Guess I was a little stunned just now to see that. I probably thought of it as my own personal discovery. We do that. (I do get good responses from the kid down south.)
Rosy Cole on Friday, 21 August 2015 17:07

The thing is, that's far from Michelangelo's best work. He was young when he chiselled that. Even he, genius as he was, had to learn to mine his inner resources. Compare that with the Pieta and it's hardly the work of the same sculptor.

I'm sure nothing will put you off telling it, Charlie. Like it is, too! :-)

The thing is, that's far from Michelangelo's best work. He was young when he chiselled that. Even he, genius as he was, had to learn to mine his inner resources. Compare that with the [i]Pieta[/i] and it's hardly the work of the same sculptor. I'm sure nothing will put you off telling it, Charlie. Like it is, too! :-)
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