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    Home Articles

    Real Joy of the Writer

    What brings "real" joy to a writer? Is a writer's "real" joy instituted by the actual writing process, by the strict adherence to standard rules and guidelines, or by the sum of checks received in the mail?

    For me, I heralded the introduction of a computer to my home as a different writing tool. The "You Got Mail" notice on the computer still animates an innocuous smile on my face. But can a writer's joy be established by the purchase of a new word processor, a bargain on a refurbished desk, or a gift of assorted office supplies that only a writer can cherish?

    Some ambiguous editors can take a writer's joyful creation and pickle it with vinegar words. Demanding deadlines can cringe a writer each time a creative notion lights the "idea" brain bulb, and stifling rejections can boot "Ole Joy" right out of the creative mind of a diligent writer. So how do writers define what brings "real" joy to themselves?

    MJ Rose, author of LIP SERVICE (Pocket Books, Sept 1999) breaks her roles down to "author" and "human" for declaring what brings "real" joy into her writer's life- "As a novelist: getting lost in the writing, when the world disappears and I with it and the story becomes reality. As a human: Going to the beach in the winter with my dog and my boyfriend and running on the cold half-frozen sand while the surf orchestrates the afternoon." The "human" trait tends to lean her toward the simplest of activities for fulfillment.

    I summarize that simplistic joy keeps a writer humping for the next poem, article, short story, or novel. For me, my husband's pestering antics are a refreshing twist to a long day facing a computer screen, even though I find great joy at his exit from the room. Without him to harass me, I would be a lone writer. Solitude is nice in my office, but life and writing would be trivial without him to share my work and accomplishments.

    "Running past the pine trees in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, which always makes me think of my grandfather, and the pine trees that bordered his yard," is what fellow writer, Martha Garvey, does to bring herself joy. And Glenn Sasscer, a struggling novelist in Ohio, believes "Joy is trusting in the Lord."

    I like for family to surround me, especially my three grandchildren. Ok, maybe not when I'm writing full force, but they are the best audience for my children's tales and poems. Nothing fills my heart with more joy than to have them ask me to reread one I've written especially for them.

    Family seems to be a major joy for many other writers as well. Joshua Lucas brought memories rushing to mind in his admission: "My six month old daughter...especially when she sees me walk through the door after being at work all day. The gummy smile is something which can melt anyone's heart." And Barbara Lopez-Lucio's statement, "The sound of my teenager's key in the lock at midnight Saturday (on time and home safe)", embellishes the joy and comfort of knowing one's family members are safe and well.

    Pets are many a writer's joy. My Rottweiler, Booger, and my Great Dane, Dutchess (no, I didn't name them), are like children themselves They make my office tapestry carpet a favorite bedding and me their favorite pal. That's a "real" joy in itself.

    Another writer, Wendy Christensen, shares how her cat brings her joy: "The ineffable satisfaction of half-awakening at midnight, sensing the soft thud of a light-footed feline joining me in bed, feeling her curl about herself, precisely three times, just so; tail caligraphing three-dimensional poetry in the moonlight; marveling claws glowing like pearl in starshine as they gently extend and retract, extend and retract."

    Health appears to be another factor in what brings joy to writers. Arline Zatz, award-winning author of "New Jersey's Great Gardens," "Best Hikes With Children In New Jersey," "30 Bicycle Tours In New Jersey," "New Jersey's Special Places," says, "What brings me joy is the ability to still get into my canoe and paddle New Jersey's meandering stream-far away from the maddening crowd."

    Food ranks high on my list as another joy for writers (as I always have plenty strewn on my desk), especially when homegrown. Writer, Judy Waytiuck remarked that "The taste of a real, homegrown fresh tomato I've just picked from one of my plants, still warm from the sun," brings her joy. And drinks, well, writers need to have a swig of something for parched throats. Brian Hooper, Editorial Evangelist, finds "Sipping a good cup of Java all day...from 8 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon...turns my girlfriend off, but makes my heart do James Brown splits."

    I think there is no greater joy than from the familiar. The aromatic scent of burning candles, the miniature antiquities of old tins and novel, miniature, toy items, and shelves lined with my favorite books relax me. Posters of Brandon Lee's "The Crow" and Whoopie Goldberg's "Theodore Rex" movies stare at me from ex-bedroom, office walls as I compete with myself on the computer. A yellow construction paper fish (made by my oldest grandson) hangs above me suspended on a kite string. The ceiling fan waves it 'round and 'round as I get lost in the faint "chucka-chucka"of its blade rotation.

    Writer, Kris Ratini, stated, "What brings me joy? A hot bath. A call from a friend I haven't heard from in awhile, and the subsequent conversation that picks up where we left it three months before." How familiar are these activities to us all? Quite familiar?

    The familiar touches us all as writers. The familiar is real in the sometimes "unreal" world of the writer. "Real" joy can be simple to embrace. Kevin McPherson, editor for NEVERWORLDS--Unique Fiction, declares, "Joy is simple: the pleasure of family and friends; the quiet times; a shared moment that will live as a memory."

    Copyright © Patricia Spork

    Patricia Spork is the owner of The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ


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