Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The Times They are A-Changin'! A Celebration of Scurvy Elephants!
So I started a poem but it's really crappy so I'm going in a different direction. I've been writing for a while now for fun and recently for a teeny tiny bit of money. I have a poetry book which will be released in the not so distant future although I have no exact date yet because I don't want to place pressure on my most generous and talented photographer. This time has given me the opportunity to write other things, my novel, some articles, new poetry, enter a few contests and enjoy some summer fun with my children!
I'm going to talk about writing for a moment. It is notoriously hard to break into writing, particularly novelling in a big way. So much of your destiny as a writer is dependent upon the "market" and the publishers and the agents and what they "think" will sell. I've read many books where I've thought "I could write this piece of crap, how'd he get published?" and truth is, I don't know. It's a formula, a mystery that I can't begin to unravel. On the other hand I read a novel the other day that was so brilliantly written, a story so powerful and moving that I place it in the category of one of the best I've ever read(and I read a lot!). Eclipse by Richard North Patterson is truly a fantastic novel and I highly recommend it.
Now, back to my regularly scheduled post. Do you know what a scurvy elephant is? Well this story was told by Dr. Wayne Dyer during one of his speeches. Dr. Dyer spent his childhood in a variety of foster homes. He didn't particularly excel in school. One day he went home and told his foster mother that he overheard his teacher tell the principal at his school that "Wayne Dyer is a scurvy elephant". When his foster mother called the school for clarification she was informed that the teacher had said "Wayne Dyer is a disturbing element" not a "scurvy elephant"!
Years later, little Wayne Dyer became Dr. Wayne Dyer, earning a doctorate degree from Wayne State University in Michigan. He is a writer and one of the number one life coaches in the world. And he didn't do it in traditional ways. He is and has always continued to be a scurvy element!
When I heard this story for the first time, a light went on. I want to be a scurvy elephant! In fact, I think I always have been one. I don't conform well. I may seem like I do, I'm a peaceful sort of person but I typically don't do things the way they've always been done simply because they've always been done that way. And I'm happy being a scurvy elephant too. It suits me. I've always questioned the status quo and I've often gone against it. I like the herd but I often find myself walking outside of it, looking in at it, writing about it, wondering about it, but not truly part of it. For years I tried to be part of the herd but I just don't really fit. I like my own place and my own pace and I've even started to become scurvier as years go by, I find it's actually easier to be true to my own truths than to try to adopt the truths of those around me.
It is the scurvy elephants who are flexible and change as things change. Since they don't go with the status quo often they are the ones who break down barriers and move and shake the world. I'm thinking that Bill Gates is a scurvy elephant and I think that Albert Einstein fell into that category as well. And there are a lot of regular people as well who fit the definition. The "black sheep" of any family is likely a scurvy elephant!
So what does that have to do with writing and novelling and getting published? Well there is now a group of wonderful writers who have decided to forgo traditional routes and to share their work with the masses without the stifling control of the publishing industry. Just as there is a vibrant musical element that is independant and available thanks to the internet, suddenly there are beautiful, independantly published works of literature available. New, small, author-friendly publishing companies are doing well and making it easier for good authors to get their work out there and available. Now the readers get to choose instead of the agents. Instead of waiting years and giving control of your work to someone else great authors are making their own way.
I've been following the blog of one such innovator for a while now. I've read exerpts from his novel, My Quirks and My Compass, and I cannot wait for it to be released! It is being published through a publishing company called Pensive Pony Media, a publishing company created by the author,H. Charles Dilmore, who I believe is a true scurvy elephant!
The times, they are a-changin' as the old song goes, and I believe that there is a new way, a better way to publish and move your work into the public forum. I believe that the time is coming when the public will choose what they want to read and will no longer miss out on wonderful work due to the whim of an anonymous agent whose only eye is to commercial value rather than art. And with the internet and all the abundance of readers available I believe it's going to happen sooner rather than later! So for all of you scurvy elephants out there, now is your time! Get out there and make things happen, it's an individual's market now, the elephant who breaks free from the herd will often make the most noise and cause the most disturbance. Let that be you!
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