Self indulgence . . .

Moving to the subject of writing this week (with one small exception—see below).

I received a rejection for the sequel to The Last Resort so cringe-worthy, I have to share it.

Here’s the part right after the editor says a lot of woman might enjoy this book but, alas, she is not one of them:

“I was struck by that letter from Eudora Welty quoted in the memoir and wished that Watkins had listened to her words about self- indulgence.”

I wanted to dig a hole and crawl in.

On a happier note, I spent most of last week at the Key West Literary Festival. The theme was Writers on Writers. We heard Geoff Dyer on D.H. Lawrence, Pico Iyer on Graham Greene, Jay Parini on Leo Tolstoy, James Atlas on Saul Bellow, and (my favorite) Colm Toibin on Henry James.

Geoff Dyer

Geoff Dyer

James Atlas

James Atlas

Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer

Jay Parini

Jay Parini

Colm Toibin

Colm Toibin

Nothing revives a flagging writer’s spirits like listening to brilliant and witty writers talk about what they do.

One quote from Geoff Dyer: Graduate school, where we forget how to write and learn to loathe reading.

Another: Writing is a form of self-examination (See? not self-indulgence)

Colm Toibin: Your only duty is to your next sentence. And then the next. Stop thinking. The page is blank and it is your job to fill it. Forget yourself. Suppress yourself. There will be chocolate later.

Back to race:

On the last day a man in the audience stood and wondered why the presenters were so predominately male and, except for Pico, Caucasian: white men talking about dead white men?

12 responses »

  1. Publish on line. You have a lot of supportive readers.

    Reply
  2. Norma,
    You uplifted my waning spirits, by sharing a quote from your own rejection letter.
    I’ve received 3 myself recently.Though my skin’s thicker each time, I find it hard
    to return to writing and harder to submit again.

    I hope you have already submitted elsewhere, or you have strong alternatives in mind.
    You’re a refreshingly honest, deep, funny and sexy writer.The rainbow, no gray shades.
    For the record, artists called “indulgent,” by some, have been called “genius” by others.
    All the best.
    Alena

    Reply
  3. I love how brutally honest you are, Norma. How you think about crawling into a hole, but don’t. Your courage inspires me.

    Reply
  4. OH NO! Well that stupid bitch, obviously an idiot.

    Tonight we had a practice read at the Mendo Hotel for tomorrow’s opening of the seventh season of Mendo Stories and Music. We were being given advice on what to wear, in order to match our pieces. I was told my “outfit” made a statement, and I didn’t need to dress up, being from New Jersey and all. Hmmmmmm. Maybe I’ll put on a lowcut sleeveless velvet evening gown to make a statement. Hope to see you there, Norma, I’m sure you’ll follow your advice to us – keep sending it out there

    Reply
  5. norma… thanks for your blog. It is helping me in many ways.. We all need to share these things. I adore colm toibin. His book Brooklyn moved me to tears. He is a lovely lovely voice,,, I do not know any of the other writers.

    Reply
  6. Hi Norma,

    Where were the women writers talking about women writers?

    Ross

    Reply
    • There were a few: Rosalind Brackenbury on George Sand, Julie Salamon on Wendy Wasserstein, Brenda Wineapple on Emily Dickinson, Judith Thurman on Colette.

      Reply
      • Carmen Cummings

        Hi Norma,
        I had hoped for a sequel to The Last Resort, so I will be waiting.
        “Self indulgence”? I would call it honesty..I am with G.Dyers on his comment on writing as a form of “self-examination”.
        Thanks for sharing about your “rebel cousing” . I would have liked to meet him.
        Carmen Cummings

  7. There will be chocolate later.

    Reply
  8. Kerry & Christina Marshall

    Hey Norma don’t let that redactor-blue-pencilers make you sad… Kerry

    Reply
  9. I think that most editors would do well have their comments edited. Especially when they are actively discouraging a potential big seller. We can delight in the 11 publishers who turned down Jan Karon’s story about a priest in a small town (multimillion dollar “Life in Mitford” series lost), or the 75 who laughed away the chance to make a bundle on “Jonathon Livingston Seagull”. And then there is Julia Cameron’s own publisher who told her she was self-destructive and insane to even consider “The Artist’s Way” be seen by the public. Stories like these are meant to help writers with unique voices and ideas to keep the courage to seek more open minds. I hope you do, because I’d so love to read the sequel, and soon!

    Reply
  10. WELL ,SHE SOUNDS LIKE A REAL BALL BUSTER! MAYBE SHE SUFFERS FROM A LACK OF MALE COMPANIONSHIP. SADLY, SHE GOT YOU ALL WRONG BUT I AM CONFIDENT THAT YOUR SEQUEL WILL BE PUBLISHED AND WILL FIND THE RIGHT FIT, BUT PLEASE TRY TO HURRY, I CAN’T WAIT!!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: