The Brotherhood of Writers
Hemingway and I were brothers.
Harper Lee wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird” for me.
John Steinbeck reached into my heart and squeezed it when he published “Grapes of Wrath.”
When my friend Sha wrote her latest article, she made me proud, and when my friend Iris wrote her latest, she had me in tears.
I have laughed with Paula, wept openly with PS, and screamed HOORAY with Janine. When Suzie suffered her setback I was there with her, in spirit, cheering her on and imploring her to get back on that horse. When Bob lost his son I felt his pain. When I published my last novel I was warmed by the bosoms of friendship, lifted up by the praise from Topeka, London, Halifax and Redding.
I may not be famous or independently wealthy, but I am a member of a brotherhood that I cherish.
The Brotherhood of Writers!
- Exorcise the Demon of Banality by Elevating the Conversation
This is dedicated to all those who do not fear the depths, those who treat words as a precious resource and use them to edify, uplift and add, not simply as a distraction and means to fill the void.
“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.”
Reading those words by Lewis, I understand. Not only that, but I am fed by them, enriched by them, and energized by them.
And Rushdie climbed into my psyche when he wrote:
And Charles Dickens sat at his desk, toiling for hours…possibly days…struggling with the words, awaiting the inspiration, and finally angels spread their wings, and embrace him, and one paragraph emerges:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
And for decades people read those words and know who wrote them, and today I sit here, at my desk, toiling for hours…possibly days…struggling with the words, awaiting the inspiration, waiting for my own angels to embrace me, and I know exactly what Dickens experienced.
Because he and I are brothers!
And then I read the words of Iris Draak, a relative unknown in the writing community:
“I say we remove our armor and flip this notion on its head. I say we turn our arms downward, that we open our fists and grasp the hands of those below us. I say that instead of looking down with distrust, we lift up with dignity, those less fortunate. I say that we, the ones who lament the loss of our own economic traction, make provisions for those who have little.”
And I know that she is my sister in this brotherhood, and I celebrate with her.
Few will understand. In a world of seven point two billion, there are only a couple million of us who can possibly comprehend what it is like to struggle for months, for years, for recognition and our own personal satisfaction. We have set the bar of excellence impossibly high, so that even our best work appears to be sorely lacking when we read it, for we are our worst critics.
Our families cannot understand. Of course they give us support, but it is support without empathy, and truth be known, even the most staunch supporters among them have no clue what it is like to seek the ethereal and to embark on a quest where perfection is a myth and obscurity almost guaranteed.
We sit in a room, alone, playing pick-up-sticks with verbs and nouns, adjectives and adverbs, hoping we won’t disturb the fine balance we seek. We have a vision in our minds, but the vision always sounds better than the words when we type them, so we mix and match, use and discard, delete and begin again, and the days become weeks and the weeks become months as we chase our tails and hope we don’t devour ourselves in the process.
When we are in a zone, nothing else matters. The dishes pile up, the emails go unanswered, the world revolves, the clouds form, the sunshine shines, the darkness gives way to light, world affairs continue, babies are born, the elders die, but the zone remains our focus. We are singular in purpose, and when we strike the perfect phrase, we experience a high better than any designer drug can give…but when we fail to find the magic, our lows threaten to devour us.
The triumphs are closely followed by defeats, the defeats by triumphs, our psyches threaten to shatter, and we get up the next morning eager to experience the full spectrum of emotions again.
Only another writer can understand.
Only our brothers and sisters of literature will nod their heads in agreement, and sweep us up in arms of compassion.
- What Being Irish Means (humor)
So what does being Irish mean? Here is a humorous look at a fictional course taking enrolment for students looking to learn what being Irish means in time for St Patricks Day. You have been warned!
So You See, We Need Each Other
Three guys are sitting at a bar.
#1: "...Yeah, I make $75,000 a year after taxes."
#2: "What do you do for a living?"
#1: "I'm a stockbroker. How much do you make?
#2: "I should clear $60,000 this year."
#1: "What do you do?"
#2: "I'm an architect."
The third guy has been sitting there quietly, staring into his beer, when the others turn to him.
#2: "Hey, how much do you make per year?"
#3: "I guess about $13,000."
#1: "Oh yeah? What kind of stories do you write?”
We read the joke and we laugh, but it is insanely close to the truth, and that’s if we’ve had a good year of writing.
Only a writer, in love with his/her craft, would work what is essentially a full-time job with no guarantee of a pay day.
So if the financial rewards are slim, then what keeps us motivated? Why do we continue?
We continue, simply, because writing is a passion. It is a tear-at-your-guts, beat-you-down-in-every-way-possible, leave-you-a-quivering-mass-of-insecurity, passion, and we can’t imagine life without it.
And what keeps us motivated?
The encouragement and support of our brotherhood!
Join me on my writing blog
- William Holland | Helping Writers to Spread Their Wings and Fly
Tips and suggestions about writing for any member of the Brotherhood
Membership Is Free
If you are a writer then you are an entry-level member of the brotherhood, but to rise in the ranks you must participate. Reach out a hand to those writers who need help. Offer words of encouragement to those who feel like quitting. Welcome newcomers and support the old-timers. Comment on the works of your brothers and sisters, and never, ever allow a writer to quit simply because they feel discouraged.
Rather than allow a writer to sit for months waiting for the angels to spread their wings and embrace them, be the angel. This is your family. These are your peers.
They need you…..
You need them!
Welcome to the Brotherhood of Writers!
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”