The books on my shelf mark my metamorphosis over the last few years as I’ve moved towards writing my first novel. A lifelong lover of books, both to read and just to have, I often wander bookstores and revel in all those words. And I buy. And I hold my books with reverence. I no longer collect, having given away about 1300 books a couple of years ago when we downsized, but still my shelves are full. Here are a few.
If They Ask You, You Can Write a Song, by Kasha & Hirschhorn has been with me the longest–over twenty years. A thoughtful gift, it opened my mind to the possibilities of indulging my lifelong love of music. Today I have a collection of over twenty pieces bound and beautifully printed by my music writing software.
One day I happened into a fly-by-night book sale set up in an empty store. On one of the rows of tables I found Maureen Jennings’ The Map of Your Mind: Journeys Into Creative Expression. It is a how-to on tapping into one’s creative juices, the brain’s right side, if you will. After all my years of following the program life had laid out for me, I was ready to think right.
Then my daughter suggested The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. Reading and thinking through the book’s creative exercises was a joy for me. I felt more alive and ready to create.
Walking in This World is Cameron’s follow-up book. I had to have it and spent many a happy moment rediscovering my world and myself.
Throughout my reading of these books I wrote first My Version, a retelling of my childhood, and The Cougler Family, which tells about my husband’s and my first twenty years together. Both of these were written with love and tears of joy and self-published for my children to keep.
From the day I sat on my porch reading a favorite author with tears running down my cheeks at my secret longing to write and be published, I have been on a path to today. Finally I picked up yet another book and began to read in earnest How to Write & Sell Your First Novel by Oscar Collier. Family trips became about historical research, talks with librarians brought me wonderful sources and every day I wrote for about three hours, blissfully lost in the power of my own words.
I took writing courses, started a small writing group, bought more books on writing, such as How I Write by Janet Evanovich and Jack Hodgins’ A Passion for Narrative. I revised my completed manuscript. Oh, did I revise. I had many others read and make suggestions and I revised some more.
Finally publication seemed near and I began to think of how I might do that. How to Get a Literary Agent by Larsen as well as Get Published! by Driscoll and Gedymin appeared on my writing desk. And I had pages of literary agent lists, people who were actively seeking authors. So exciting. I read them all and today, I am busy sending out my packages to as many interested agents as I can.
Meanwhile one of my Christmas gifts was my very own website for my novel and an ISBN number, as well. Today I work on script for the website with my computer angel son against the day I will have this book ‘out there’. And I write short stories and enter contests, trying to push my foot in the door of the writing world. I research the sequel to Loyal to the King. I keep up my two blogs, On Becoming a Wordsmith and Beadergirl Jewels. I love it all. And that is herstory, well, my story. So far.