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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Writing is the Constant

Great night at the Penguin Bookshop in Pittsburgh this week. Great group of people with - what I love - a wonderful drive to write! There were even a couple young people there - one I believe was eleven - with a desire to create and share their work. So nice to see.

In May I'll be back in the Pittsburgh area for another THE WRITING LIFE workshop. This one is scheduled for May 27th at the Joseph-Beth Booksellers store in Pittsburgh's Southside neighborhood.

After holding these workshops, I always wonder about what many of these people take with them. The realities of publishing are hard to swallow sometimes. It's a tough road. But I hope that I can inspire people to see that the only constant is the work - the writing itself, not the publishing. Publishing, even for the stars of the industry, isn't always a guarantee. Even the best, most popular, still receive rejection letters. In any creative endeavor, remember that the work - the art itself - is the most important. The book that gets published, the art that is hung, the photograph that is framed and sold will come if we are devoted to the craft, the art, the work. Cliche? Maybe. Idealistic? Probably. But it is what drives the artist. Let this drive you.

David

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Search to Create

My radio documentary class is honing in on their final project ideas. It's such a struggle to find that perfect idea, to find that story worth telling. This is one of the hardest parts of the process, I agree. But you must, MUST, step out of your comfort zone. Look at the world around you, be aware. Step away from your Facebook page, your music, your apartment, and open your eyes to everything. Look at posters on the telephone polls, read the smallest story in the most obscure newspaper, read the blogs of unusual websites. Look, search, explore.

Yes, art is in the stuff right in front of us. But sometimes we need to step away to see it. Step away.

Also - FYI - I'll be holding a writing workshop, reading/signing at Penguin Bookshop in Pittsburgh on March 25th 7-8pm. Great independent book store in the Sewickley neighborhood.

Penguin Bookshop

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Things

Getting close to finishing the father stories book. I wrote a final piece, the one I want at the end of the book. It's entitled Ghost Boxing. As soon as I finished it, I realized that was the better title of the book. It'll make sense when you read it, I think. I hope.

In March I'm expected in Pittsburgh to present a workshop at a great book store - Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley. We are leaning toward a workshop in how best to get published, and then a reading of Accidental Lessons and some new work. I'll also be at the Joseph-Beth Booksellers on the city's Southside neighborhood in late May, and then the New York Book Expo the last week of May, also.

I was thinking the other day after reading an interview of a friend - author Thomas E. Kennedy - in The Writer's Chronicle about where we write, where art is produced. Tom writes long hand, sits in a special spot in his home in Copenhagen. But he also says he writes "anywhere." And he does, I've seen him pull scraps of paper out of his pockets to write notes on - pieces of overheard conversations, observations. That's a good habit to get in, by the way. I do it too. But I keep notes in my moleskin notebooks. But the real thing here is where do we work? Where do writers, songwriters, painters, thinkers work? I find myself changing venues all the time...coffee shops, my college office, my home office, my leather chair in the living room, I've even written in cars on road trips...someone else driving, of course. I need that switch-a-roo. I can't write in the same place all the time. There's something about the change of venue.

I have a sabbatical coming up in 2011 and I'm thinking about heading for some "writer retreats" to work - cabins in the woods, oceanfront cottages, distant coffee shops. But it's not about inspriation, I find that all over, thankfully. It's more about that venue, that perfect place. But then again, I'll likely be there a couple hours and ache to move somewhere else.

Change is good for creative work. Change is marvelous.

Best to all of you.

David B