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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Let Me Entertain You... Please...

I like telling stories.  Forming and telling stories is what makes me tick.  I see things, think of what lies behind them and what lies before them in the future, and from that I come up with stories.  It sounds strange when I phrase it like that, but it works that way for me, as I posted here.

We write our books (most of us) to entertain people. I am still blown away when I see that someone shelled out cash to read something I 'made up out of my own head', but maybe that's just my oddness.  Our creativity is fueled by everything around us - whether stories our grandparents told us or myths we have heard or things we have read.  

Arthur O'Shaughnessy put it interestingly:

We are the music makers
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams; - 
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world forever, it seems

I am not sure that I would call myself a 'Mover and shaker' so much as an observer and reporter and 'what if' er.  I watch the world move past me, I catch glints of thoughts and I find the stories.  And I tell them.  I can't help it: it is what I love to do, and I can no more not weave stories than I can stop breathing.

Everyone has something singular about him- or herself.  We are not all built the same, but we all have something that touches us, that makes us shine, that brings us to action.  Perhaps the hardest part (for me) is not to share this quirk, if you will.  It is rather like having a gift and wanting to give it, hoping that those who receive it will enjoy it and - somehow, some way - be strengthened or refreshed by it.

Listening to Poetry

I remember speaking with some others like me.  One fellow said that if people would only listen to him, trust him with their time, and let him entertain them, he would do it for nothing. I remember nodding.  I understood him.

But then someone else spoke up and said that, well, what was the point of doing that?  After all, there was 'nothing to be gotten out of it' that way.

I agree that no one should ever be sold short.  If you are producing something that people are willing to purchase, well and good.  Some things, however, go beyond buying and selling, and the pervasive 'what's in it for me?' mindset troubles me. And I am encountering it more and more frequently in my own area of joy.

When will I start seeing money?  What do I need to do to get more sales?  Why aren't people buying?  What are the contacts that I need to start selling?  Well, if people are reading this sort of work, then I guess I'll have to write it!

I am not saying that it is wrong to sell your work.  I am not saying that it is wrong to seek ways to find more exposure, to make yourself known to others, to make your offerings available to more people.  There is nothing at all wrong with sharing, and there is much that is right about being paid for your hard effort, but I sense a serious disconnect or, perhaps, an area that has not been thought through.

Someone said, "If I can't make any money, I don't see any point in continuing."

Is the measure of the worthwhile nature of an activity the amount that people are willing to pay for it?  In that case, I know of a great many athletes who might as well take up a seat before the television set and forgo their archery practice, golfing endeavors or horseback riding because they will never win The Masters or star at the Devon Horse Show's hunter/jumper classes. They aren't ever going to be asked to endorse anything in exchange for money.
What price agony?

And what of the singers who do not sell their recordings?  Singing for one's own enjoyment or the enjoyment others is surely not pointless if others are enjoying it.  Causing agony is another matter and should be addressed as it comes up.  

But what of 'the fire in the belly' that makes me, at least, burn to bring my characters to life, to share them with others, to enjoy their antics and be touched by the things that they have done.  I am at this moment about to quickly jot a scene where one character, a man with a difficult childhood who discovered the constellations in the night sky, tells another man who is despairing and somehow has fixated on the blackness of the night as a sign of his own despair, that "the stars are there - right there! - behind the clouds.  Cassiopeia, The Swan, Orion - all are there, as they have always been.  Trust that they are and don't rely only on your own sight.  I swear it!  There is never any need for despair!  I promise you--  I promise you!"

No one else will read it.  But I must write it.  Every little bit of joy must be savored...


  1. Hi Diana .. you are so right - it is let me entertain you, isn't it. The bit that was so sad .. was the person who said 'what's the point if you can't or don't earn anything' ... there's passion in us and a desire to improve, to learn ... we find our way forward as we move through life ... and some people wait forever - but they satisfy themselves along the way and create and learn new aspects of life ...

    Great post - and so so true ... we get more creative as we think around this world we live in ... cheers Hilary

  2. Thanks, Hilary - and sometimes people like you find ways to open our eyes to the wonder, coincidences and joyous oddness that is out there.

  3. Totally agree. Would it be nice to be able to "live by my pen"? Sure. But that's not why I do it. I do it because I love it, and will continue to do it even if I never make another penny at it.