This and That

Musings on Being a Writer and My Life

Musings on a Writer’s Workshop

  • July 30, 2012 4:50 am


People surround me. Perched on uncomfortable folding chairs, we are jammed into a small space squeezed between the shelves in a book store.

Voices make a hub-bub, and I look around to see the other fledgling writers. Some are young. But most are older, like me. A lifetime of experience lines our faces.

Some people sport long shapeless tee shirts and shorts several sizes too big to define a body underneath. Others wear long skirts and tie dyed shirts. I even see someone wearing a fringed vest. Gray hair is pulled carelessly into unruly pony tails which are held in place by leather barrettes. And few people have long braids that trail down backs. A woman climbs over me to find a chair. Her hair is too long and uncombed and she is wearing a gypsy skirt.

Aging hippies, I think.

The ladies with money sit nearby, their perfectly coiffed hair a sharp contrast.

What unites this strange band of fellows is one shared belief: that the words we write should be read. No, our words must be read!


I wait for the speaker, a successful author, to begin to fill me with her wisdom. Like a school girl with a homework assignment, I begin to page through her book, a how–to for writers.

She fiddles with the projector, exasperated because it won’t do what she wants it to do.

Finally a man arrives, his baseball cap firmly placed on his head, with a bulky bundle of keys on his hip. He adjusts the projector and it throws pictures of rich and beautiful authors on the screen.

My desire is to be a member of their club.

I want to rise above the rabble around me, the young and the old, the experienced and the apprentice and write something that is compelling and uniquely mine—a real book, with a glossy cover placed prominently on a bookstore shelf.

I’ve seen web sites featuring books with covers designed to entice a reader to open the pages of the book. The authors of these books were once hopefuls like me.

I worry that no one will get to know the characters that have lived in my imagination for so long. I want someone other than me to care about them with all their human frailties and strengths.

I am humbled to realize that even if my work sees the light of day, nothing will change. Turmoil and war and discord will still reign—and people will still pray for peace.

My reverie is broken when the author starts to talk about the business of publishing, warning us of the overwhelming amount of work involved, of the sacrifices we will have to make. And of the almost non-existent chance we have. She causes me to think about my choice.

And then I go home, boot up my computer and begin to work my current novel. Because every time I write the best sentence I can, a thrill runs through me.

And so, I continue to write.


  1. Linda Young says:

    Thanks for sharing your dreams. Hold fast.

    • Linda Young’s comment is actually part of Langston Hughes’ Poem
      Hold fast to dreams,
      For if Dreams die,
      Life is a broken winged bird,
      That cannot fly.

      Hold fast to dreams,
      For if dreams go,
      Life is a barren Field
      Frozen with snow.

      Kathy your dreams give you something to grasp.
      Blessings to you and Dan in your hour of need.
      Bobbi Mastrangelo

    • Hope now that your book is out we can see more blog posts.

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