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Sunday, May 28, 2006

A DREAM OF WRITING

"Writing is nothing more than a guided dream."
Jorge Luis Borges 1899-1986 "Doctor Brodie's Report" 1972 Preface.

"A Dream of Writing" was the keynote address given by Stephen Osborne, editor of Geist Magazine at the Federation of B.C. Writer's AGM Friday night. He read a writer's memoir, how it all began for him as a writer/editor, launching the Pulp Press back in the late 60's/70's which later became so successful he now published Geist a local literary magazine. The topic of his reading reminded me of the day before when I had attended the Youth Writer's Conference and had been reminiscing about my youth, when I had dreamed of being a writer.

I guess all of us have had that dream at some time in our lives, and that's why we still write, some of us very successfully with publications. Who would have dreamed back in my teens that one day I'd actually be instructing writing classes and participating in presentations to kids.

In living the dream though, there are sacrifices to be made. You don't get there without a lot of dedication and discipline (that's the hard part!) and willingness to be poor sometimes, to make do without in order to have the time to write. I never regretted quitting my full time job as a daycare supervisor back in '94 in order to take more time for writing. Sure, sometimes I've been dirt-poor but somehow I've always survived. I haven't had a big piece of work (novel) published yet, but lots of smaller publications (travel articles and a very small amount of short fiction). But the pay-off is there. Two 'free' trips gifted to me by the Travel Writers' Assoc. and at the FED meeting I won a $50 book certificate. Things have definitely been looking up!

I'm still toiling away at the novel and one of these days it WILL be finished. Meanwhile I am doing lots of other writing too, as well as teaching. And the workshop I've been conducting privately has really caught on so it will continue through most of the summer. How do I make a living from my writing? By instructing others. And I love it as it's a learning experience for me as well.

Yes, I grew up dreaming of writing and it eventually became a reality. I can call myself a writer -- full time! And one of these days I will call myself a published historical fiction novelist.
That will be a dream come true!

"He (the writer) must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed -- love and honour and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice."
William Faulkner 1897-1962 Speech on receiving the Nobel Prize, Dec. 10, 1950

2 comments:

Sam said...

that was a great post - I know it's true about sacrifices, and one of the things my kids make me feel guilty with is - "Mom, you're always stuck in front of the computer!"
I try not to work when they are home so I can spend time with them, but sometimes I feel torn between my muse and my responsibilities.
Oh well, I suppose you can't have Everything in life!

Wynn Bexton said...

Yes, Sam, I know what it's like to be a writer with a family at home. When I was a stay-at-home Mom I pretty well quit writing as it became too frustrating. Took up painting instead. I finally got back to writing some years later when the kids were older and I was a single Mom. But it wasn't until I was entirely on my own once again that I began to write seriously and very soon became a published travel writer. Now that I have my life organized so I'm 'full time' writing, it's such a joy -- although believe it or not, staying disciplined and focused is still a big hurdle to surrmount! Sometimes I'm just too busy with other writing activities such as workshops, teaching etc. But at least it's all to do with writing.