Dear Karen,

It’s funny that your last letter to me should be about praise, and then less than a week later I find out you’re the Hollins Writer in Residence for 2014.  Congratulations! You deserve this praise and more.

Sometimes I think that because I am not involved with a university we travel in different circles, but I know this is false. There are so many different ways of being a writer. It’s uplifting to think how large the house actually is, how many rooms there are, and how many tables.

I’ve read writers who are ranchers, hunters, farmers, nomads, shepherds, maids, strippers, kept women, jilted men, teachers, mechanics, mothers, lawyers, soldiers, policemen and police women, and some who were even professional writers. Every one of them brought something to the table that could not have been there otherwise. I did not realize this when I first started out. Perhaps I am finally aging into comfort with where I am in my own writing life.

When I was younger I wanted fame more than anything. My original fantasy involved publication parties, stuffed mushrooms, shrimp cocktails, drinkable cocktails, and toasts to my next book. The one thing my fantasy never included was writing. I never pictured myself at a desk, sweating over what word to use, or pulling my hair out as I considered a change in point of view. If I pictured myself at my desk at all, I was looking out a window at a beautiful view while chewing thoughtfully on the end of my pen.

I am happy to report that the real thing is a whole lot better than the fantasy. That’s how life should be. We shouldn’t be living our heads too much, except I don’t even know how I can say that, since writers, especially writers of fiction, often do live in their heads. And there’s the thing. I love that part of it. I love the time travel that writing a novel can give me, the wild ride that I would never experience otherwise.

The word spaciousness comes to mind. It’s a word that I love, and a feeling I love. It is something that I think every creative person needs, along with the praise. I wish you, my friend, great praise and great spaciousness. I wish it for both of us.

Metaphors be with you!

Much love, Nancy


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One Response to Spaciousness

  1. Mamie says:

    Oh lord. I needed a laugh about writing. I needed to hear the word “praise.” I needed to see your fantasy of looking out the window chewing on a pencil. Thanks, dear writer-ly friend.

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