Friday, March 21, 2008

Making a Literary Life: Gaze into My Crystal Ball

So often in life, we move forward with heads bowed, not really paying attention to where it is we're going. Our goals are short term: two pages today, finish the manuscript, get an agent, sell the book. We become caught in the monotony, the drudgery of daily habits. Take a moment, think about what you want from your writing, where you want it to bring you and what you want to bring to it. Let time stretch before you, consider what you may be like ten years from now, twenty. What is your literary life?

Lisa Lowry
I would like to be an author that puts a smile on the face of that girl that sits friendless in the middle school cafeteria. I want to tell that boy with the pimples - such awful skin! - that he won't be a teenager forever. Someday he may be called Doctor. Could he graduate from Harvard Law School? I want to write books children and teens pull out from under their pillows at night, to read just one more chapter before they dream their dreams. I hope to write books with the message that kids aren't alone, even when they are so very lonely.

Amy McEwan
What I would like people to say twenty years from now is that the books I write don't fit neatly into any genre. They're almost literary -- but not. There are suspenseful elements -- and yet. They have wide commercial appeal -- still. I don't want to be labeled. Not now, not ever. Best of all, I would know my life had a purpose if somehow one of my books touched someone, reassured them when they needed it most. That would be a dream come true.

Hannah Lipman
I want people to reach for my books confident they will immerse themselves in a story that entertains them in this too-hectic world, that makes them laugh, that introduces them to people they enjoy (even if they wouldn't want to live next door to some), and that maybe slides in an observation or two about the world. I, too, seek constant improvement, so that each book is fresh, each tale a new ride that someone looks forward to taking with me, no matter where the Muse leads.

Lynne Quindlen
I want readers to reach for my books because they know they'll find fresh details and new insight into family life. When the people you love or want to love, confuse you, distance themselves from you or view the world in ways foreign to you, I want my writing to shed light on the intricacies of the human mind and heart. I want to write honest books about love, marriage, raising children and finding hope in the dark moments. To have readers say my fiction is smart, compelling and difficult to put down--that's my dream.


Larramie said...

The blogsphere is a bit slow today and, um, so am I. Lisa's new last name was overlooked, but Amy's...! All I could think was: But you *love* your husband and family." Then I got the real message of the goal. :)

Happy Spring!

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Larramie, so funny! My dream is to someday write half so well as Ian McEwan and transcend genre the way he so effortlessly does. What's yours?


Lisa said...

What fun! I must say that Ms. McEwan's dream comes closest to my own, but they are all so thoughtful, personal and genuine. I applaud each and every one of you. This must be my cue to believe in that earlier bit of advice about visualization. For weeks I've been wrestling with the very question "what kind of writer do you want to be?" I think I've nearly figured it out. Thanks for the prompt and have a great weekend.

Lisa Stilltryingtofigureitout

Larramie said...

Far too many dreams to list here, Amy, but I'll definitely add the joy of knowing -- an telling everyone I know -- the female Ian McEwan to the collection.

Carleen Brice said...

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Or at least trying to. I keep telling myself to take some time and daydream (visualize) about what I want from writing in a larger sense. I'm easily distracted right now by emails and travels--all GREAT and exciting--but I do need to take some time and just BE with writing and my dreams for a bit. Thanks for the reminder. I think the universe is speaking through you on this one!

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Ms. Imstilltryingtofigureitout, yeah, I know exactly what you mean. It took me a few years before I could that I could write a book (I thought only smart people could) and that I had something to say. I plant that seed in my children as well: What do you want from life, no dream is too big, no detail too small. Tell me.

Well, Larramie, you may have to wait quite a few years, but hopefully someday. It's good to have a map along this journey. Guess which book I get to start tonight? Yup, Orange Mint & Honey. I can't wait!


Carleen, how exciting to be a conduit for the universe.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Oh man, I'm just not that bright. I thought you had guest bloggers until i looked at the comments today and finally got it.

I'm there with you--mostly Amy and Lynne, I suppose. I want my words to resonate.

Judy Berg Stegner Quindlen O'Brien Irving Guest (and more)