Goddesses in the Dust: Comforting Words from Karen, Alexandra, Elizabeth and E.M.

An archaeologist unearths the divine feminine, one archetype at a time...
First Commuion: All Dressed Up and No Place To Go
As a writer, I feel isolated a lot of the time. It is the nature of the beast: unless you're part of a writing team, we work alone. To be honest, this doesn't make me unhappy. I love my work and feel fortunate to be able to do it. But having said that, even we isolated writers need to connect. Joining a local writing group is one way to do it, connecting with other writers out there through social media is another. I feel fortunate to be in touch with other writers who are doing the same thing I am: working alone, creating their novels, their essays, their memoirs. Letting go of agents who do not handle the new genre you are working in, hovering in a no-woman's land while looking for the next agent who does. Finishing one novel and starting in on the next, while working on five other ideas for travel articles and a short story - all to be submitted in the hopes of acceptance. 

Acceptance. That's the operative term here. We writers all write, number one for ourselves, and number two in the hope that our work will reach others. For that, we need agents and editors - or we can self publish. The publishing world is changing around us as we speak, so who knows what the landscape will look like in five, ten, twenty years? 

As I continue on this road, yes I am alone, but there are companions to call on when I need them, goddesses all (and one immortal) of the pen. 

Karen Russell, the Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Swamplandia! offers this:

So if I can move in a linear way through the story, and stay zipped inside the story, not jinx myself with despair or frustration or over-confidence or self-consciousness, and be basically okay with not-knowing what is going to happen from one sentence to the next, that’s a great writing day. 

Alexandra Fuller, author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, says:

I think you have to write about a million words to clean out the pipes. I think we are afraid of our own voices and very self-censoring, and we write as if the book is going to publish and be read by people. Once we realize we're never going to get published and we just write; that's our voice.

From Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love:

In the end, I love this work. I have always loved this work. My suggestion is that you start with the love and then work very hard and try to let go of the results. Cast out your will, and then cut the line. Please try, also, not to go totally freaking insane in the process. Insanity is a very tempting path for artists, but we don’t need any more of that in the world at the moment, so please resist your call to insanity. We need more creation, not more destruction. We need our artists more than ever, and we need them to be stable, steadfast, honorable and brave – they are our soldiers, our hope. If you decide to write, then you must do it, as Balzac said, “like a miner buried under a fallen roof.” Become a knight, a force of diligence and faith. I don’t know how else to do it except that way. As the great poet Jack Gilbert said once to young writer, when she asked him for advice about her own poems: “Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say YES.

But perhaps the most comforting sentiment is embedded within the oft quoted lines from E.M. Forster's novel, Howard's End:

Only connect! 

That was the whole of her sermon. 
Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted,
And human love will be seen at its height.
Live in fragments no longer.
Only connect...
Young love connecting  (yes - c'est moi:)) - note the angry onlooker!)

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