One book leads to another...

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

IWSG August - Motivation

 Welcome readers, writers, authors, and bloggers!

For the eighth time this year, it's the First Wednesday of the month when we celebrate IWSG Day, in the form of a blog hop featuring all of the members of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Founded by Alex Cavanaugh and fostered by like-minded associates, IWSG is a place to share the fabulous views and exciting news that occurs along our fascinating writing journeys. So pull up a chair and join us!

Our awesome co-hosts for this month's posting of the IWSG are: 

PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox!

How was your July?

We recently completed a few long over-due renovations in our Great room, which (naturally) includes the kitchen, the water and ice dispenser, and everyone's favorite – the pantry. As a result, we were temporarily banished, each from our own comfort zones, as workers diligently strived for expedience while still providing expertise. At the same time, we suffered mild cases of separation anxiety.

Basically exiled, as I was in my office, I expected to get a lot done. For the most part, I did. But when it came to writing, distractions were plentiful. What was going on in the Great room? Would they ever be finished? Have we ever had a monsoon such as this? In fact, we've actually surpassed the all-time record for rainfall during July - in only a few short weeks! Storms can be so thrilling.

At last, I found myself with ample time to write, only one story to finish, and no motivation to do so. How could this happen? When all else fails, I read.

Because I've often wondered if anyone besides me ever has trouble finding time to write, I read with great interest about O. Henry (pseudonym). He was an American short story writer whose troubles eventually earned him time in prison, where he had nothing else to do but write.

While I wouldn't want, much less need, that kind of incentive, it worked out well for William Sydney Porter (real name), whose career took flight behind bars and successfully soared well beyond those confines.

Porter used several pen names, and not only during his incarceration. He felt it was prudent in case no one liked his work. Or perhaps living among the willows for nearly a year had made him cautious. Interestingly, it was Porter who coined the term banana republic in a story he wrote after hiding out in Honduras during the infamous banana wars in 1896.

Not unlike his eventful life, Porter's witty stories typically have surprise endings. But, the biggest surprise was yet to come: While four administrations (since Porter died in 1910) have considered a posthumous pardon for the prolific writer of everyman stories, it has never been granted.

But that's not to say he hasn't been or isn't to this day acknowledged.

The prestigious "O Henry Award" is an annual prize given to outstanding short stories. There's even an annual spoken word competition that takes place in Porter's hometown called the O. Henry Pun-off in tribute to his love of language. In addition, a museum, schools, a street, and even a postage stamp are named in his honor.

"O Henry's Full House" is a 1952 film highlighting five of his most popular vignettes. I have to agree with fans (SPOILER ALERT!), "The Cop and the Anthem" has one of the most ironic endings!

Porter's last words are said to have been, "Turn up the lights. I don't want to go home in the dark."

The optional IWSG question this month is: What is your favorite writing craft book?

I own a total of thirteen books on the craft of writing. I've read them all at least twice and will likely reread one or all one day, depending on my needs or insecurities. But, because you asked and I simply can't choose a favorite, I plucked from my collection one that seems the most dog-eared: "Bird By Bird" by Anne Lamott. 

Now, I have a question. Does a pardon even matter once you've served your time?

Happy writing!