The Write Word
|Posted on 1 March, 2016 at 8:30||comments (0)|
It is no secret that I have been battling depression lately, I have actually been battling it for quite a while but became very good at hiding it behind a façade. My book, Heart Strings – A Collection of Short Stories, in a way is a gift of my depression because it results from some feelings stemming from situations I have experienced, and although the events leading to those feelings have been fictionalized, and masked, they are based on true happenings in my life.
Yes, there really was a Heinz in my life, except that unlike in My Deutsch Freund he was my hero, not vice versa, and the story took place at a time when a full out war existed between French kids and English Kids. Primarily German, Heinz didn’t fit in with either crowds and would have been given a spectator seat throughout the war had he not felt sorry for me and all the beatings I got at the hand of gangs of English kids, believe it or not, I am French, and taken on the role of my protector and walk me home from school every day.
There really was a “Nitty” as well, although she didn’t live in an ice hut or battle a nasty Mayor to keep her place. She was a sweet paraplegic older lady on my paper route, and mitts weren’t her specialty, cookies were. She baked the best cookies ever and shared them with all the neighbourhood kids, and when I delivered her paper, she would have a plate waiting for me on the coffee table and we would sit and talk about issues of the day for about half an hour. I always planned my route so she would be my last customer, and we developed a relationship very much like Izzy had with Nitty.
The inspiration for “Mercy Adams” comes from a low period in my life where I didn’t really fit in my family. Now there was some dysfunction in my family, but not more than in most families but for the second youngest of five children it really seemed amplified. My father had developed a great relationship with my older brother, and my mother favoured my youngest sister, stuck in the middle of them, aided by the fact that I was quite the rebel, convinced me that I was the unwanted one. I spent many hours fantasizing that some family would come and rescue me, tell me that I had been adopted and that they wanted me back in their family. I actually treated my family as an adopted family which made no sense since from photos, I was the spitting image of my dad’s younger brother. Fortunately, this was just a short period of time and when all is said and done, I am very happy with the family I have, and I love them very much.
The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t, was, at least in some parts a true story but includes many fictionalized details. I was far too young to remember many details and I didn’t want it to be totally biographical anyways so I used poetic licence to make it a great story. It took place at a period where my father had been hospitalized for a year due to tuberculosis and my mother struggled to make ends meet for her five kids, with the help of my grandparents and uncle. Though my father was released from hospital for Christmas, without a miracle, it would have been a pitiful Christmas for our family.
These are but a few stories inspired by very real feelings and very real events which I may have outgrown, but never really dealt with. Writing the book was very therapeutic for me and I do truly feel that, Heart Strings – A Collection of Short Stories, is a gift from my depression, and a book that I was meant to write for years now.
There are many more incidents, and happenings to be released in subsequent books, and my goal is to overcome this depression by writing at an emotional level about them, fictionalized of course so as to keep an element of creativity and humour present in my work.
Luc R. Rivet
|Posted on 24 November, 2015 at 6:45||comments (0)|
“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
― George Bernard Shaw
Sometimes I have to take a step back and analyse my life in order to make the necessary changes, changes that will be conducive to peace and harmony, and provide satisfaction. My life is my greatest story and I write to it every day. It has its primary characters, and secondary characters come and go, each fulfilling a purpose, a step towards the grand finale, the final curtain, and I create or allow conflicts to take place which can either devastate me, or make me stronger, the choice is always mine since I am the author!
To write is to live, you immerse yourself into the story you create and you experience the joys, the heartaches and the suffering every character you create experiences. The stories I write may not be ripped directly from the pages of my book of life, but there must be elements of my life within them, hidden perhaps in a made-up situation but as I write, I feel every word, every experience, and every emotion which make their way to the page. I become totally enmeshed in my stories, too close for comfort really, and criticism becomes a sword, piercing my heart which already bleeds from the story. At this point, just as in my life, I need to step back, analyse my story and become willing to allow positive change to seep through it, enhance it, and give it a fuller life, a richer body.
I am truly blessed to have a great editor who is not afraid to point out what works and what doesn’t, what needs changing and what is great as it is. This upcoming book marks the first time that I have purposely reached out to edit my work with an objective view, and I have put aside my resistance to constructive criticism, to valuable feedback and to creative changes and I believe with all my heart that this book will be a resounding success because objective eyes have made it so, and every day I am more and more grateful for the introduction from a friend which brought my editor, Lynda Webb to my team. Despite a time zone difference, and slight differences in vocabulary, she lives in the UK, she has been the best possible source of critique and inspiration for me, and for my upcoming book, Heart strings. Thank you Lynda for your great work and dedication to this project.
|Posted on 19 November, 2015 at 0:20||comments (0)|
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
― Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
To write is to bleed, you bleed out your heart, you bleed out your soul, you bleed out your thoughts and you keep bleeding out until you are transfused by a first draft which is when the bleeding stops and the real work begins.
Before I leave for my 8 to 4 job, I have already written for about an hour and a half, and before I go to bed, I will have written for at least another 3 hours, yes, writing has that much control over my life but I wouldn’t change it if I could. Not everything I write is brilliant or fruitful, it won’t all reach a book or even Facebook for that matter but it is writing and that’s what matters. If anybody ever tries to tell me that writing is fun, I’m likely to punch them in the nose, it may be enjoyable, it may be fulfilling and it may be rewarding but it certainly isn’t fun, its hard work!
Think of it, if you will, as practicing basketball without a net, you can dribble and you can throw great shots but still you get frustrated because without a net, you never really know how great the shot is. In practice, you are always amazed by your shots, you envision them going through the net with precision but add the net and you encounter real opposition, the backboard, the hoop, the distance and the speed, and you realize it is a game of hit and miss. In writing, the net is the reader and when the net is in place, then and only then do you know if your story sunk in. A seasoned, or even amateur basketball player will never practice without a net, but a writer always will, always has to.
Despite the bleeding, the thinking and the uncertainty that my words will resonate with the reader, I write, not because of masochistic need for punishment, not because I’m insane, though the jury may be out on that one, but because I love to write, I need to write. Like every writer, I write then I wait and pray that my product will meet the critical expectations of my readers, if it does, I am blessed; if it doesn’t, I simply start to bleed again, think again and write again.
Have a great day!
|Posted on 15 November, 2015 at 11:50||comments (0)|
“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
[The New Statesman, February 25, 1933]”
― Cyril Connolly
I’ve never read anything Cyril Connolly wrote, I don’t know of him other than through this quote but you can bet I will look him up, so to speak, because just through those words, I already feel a kinship with him, because in one line he summarizes how I personally feel about writing.
Don’t get me wrong, I love readers and I’m very grateful for them but in all honesty, I won’t sacrifice my beliefs, my values, nor my principles, in order to attract them. Some writers write for fame and fortune, few get there by the way, they want to be recognized and sell millions of books, they view readers as commodities to be bought and traded in an open book market, pissing readers off in one book and then drawing them back in with the next one. I’m not that kind of writer, never have been, never will be.
I am satisfied to have a core base of loyal readers, even if they turn out to be only friends and family, and even if I only make enough money to cover the costs of publishing. My aspiration is to get to know my readers as well as they know me through my books, I want to consider them all friends, people I wouldn’t mind sitting down for a cup of coffee or tea with, and should the occasion arise where I can actually do so, grasp the opportunity to get to know my new friend better. You can’t accomplish that by hammering out novel after novel aimed at a mass market, you accomplish it by writing for a more intimate audience, one that shares specific commonalities with you.
Sex and violence sell, and there is a tremendous market for it, but that’s not the market I’m looking for. Sometimes there is a place for sex and violence in a story, and I’m not so prudish as to be adverse to including them in my stories, but only if they serve a purpose, as an incidental and not a marketing point, and only to the point that is necessary to move the story along. I would rather write family friendly stories because I believe such stories are lacking in this day and time. Imagine if you will, a discussion at the dinner table centring on a story that even the youngest members of the family can partake in, as compared to a discussion centring on, Fifty Shades of Grey, or even, Misery, what a bonding experience that would be, wouldn’t it. This may or may not ever happen but that’s beside the point, those are the family values which I hope will permeate every story that I write.
It sincerely makes no difference to me whether my books sell one copy or thousands because writing that I love to do, that I must do really, and I will continue to publish so long as even one reader desires to read my stories. Many of my friends have not purchased my first book, and most will likely also not buy any subsequent books I publish, and that’s okay because I know my books aren’t for everyone and friendship is not a valid reason to buy a book that will sit on a shelf collecting dust. For those friends, known and unknown who have read my book and now encourage me in publishing my second one, for those who will buy my upcoming book, and for those who will read a friend’s copy, thank-you for validating my belief that there still is a market for family friendly stories, for allowing me to stay true to myself in my writing, and for not demanding that I put out a product I don’t believe in. You are my heart! You are my soul! You are my inspiration! I love you all very much!
|Posted on 13 November, 2015 at 22:45||comments (0)|
Sometimes the muse strikes at the most inopportune time, but when it strikes only a fool would silence it, tell it to go away and come back another day, because as writers we know it doesn’t work that way. Sure it will go away, and some day, if we are lucky, it will strike again but for a different thought, a different story, a different outcome. I shudder to think what story might get away from me if I silence my muse and send it away, so when it strikes I write, and write, and write. I have had much sleep deprivation lately because of it but I wouldn’t change it if I could.
My current book project, soon to be released, I hope, did not start off as the type of book that would keep me up all night to write, it started off as a similar book to my first one, The Flash Zone – A Collection of Short-Short Stories, in short, pardon the pun it was meant to be another collection of flash fiction stories. Something changed along the way!
I never know when I sit down to write, where my stories will take me. I don’t have a favourite genre or favourite voice, I only have a favourite vice, I need to write. Sometimes a certain concept comes to mind and I write about it, sometimes something I see or hear sparks a story and I write about it, sometimes it’s something I read that sparks the story and guess what, I write about it! My style you could say, is that I don’t have a set style, I just write whatever and whenever my mind tells me I should. The key word of course is mind because until now my mind wrote stories, almost as if it was a game of what ifs, and mix and match, but this time my mind was silenced and my heart took over.
Blaise Pascal said that, “the heart has its reasons which reason knows not,” and believe me, reason was in the dark throughout the writing of the book. It needs to be shared that I went through a little bit of a rough spell a little while back, a highly charged emotional period which at first interfered with my writing but eventually had an opposite effect, it enhanced it, that’s the point where I know my heart took over and the book changed drastically. Feelings, old memories, and the state of my thoughts started spilling out on the page almost as if I were writing an autobiography but I’m not prepared to do that yet, and my heart urged me to continue writing but prompted me to focus on the feelings, not the accuracy of the stories, which I did. I took my feelings, pondered on them and likened them to situations, and those situations became the stories included in the book.
My heart bled out each story in a fictionalized way, holding true to my feelings, and incorporating some factual details in some stories but for the most part, the true events are inconspicuously hidden within the story, and only a few people who know me very well will recognize them, but the feelings are obviously stated, and the writing of the book has proved to be quite a healing experience.
My heart, my soul, and my deepest feelings are vested within the pages of the book, but even if it doesn’t sell, even if I end up with the only copy, I am blessed because it has already brought me all that I need from it, a healing and satisfaction that I finally have a book I can be proud of, no matter what.
Unlike the first book, which I self-edited and self-illustrated, I decided that this book deserved a team, and a glorious team it is. My deepest gratitude goes out to Kirstie Cowan of Kirstie Bolduc Graphic Designer for the beautiful cover design, and to Lynda Webb, my editor extraordinaire, for the wonderful job you are doing to bring sparkle to my stories. You are the best team ever and I look forward to many more projects for us to work together.
I will keep you posted through this blog, as to when and where the book will be available!
Have a great day!