One book leads to another...

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

IWSG Sept. Defining Passion

 Welcome readers, writers, authors, and bloggers!

Happy September! 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: 

Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

This month’s optional question is:

How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

I have to admit, having that first short story (Tortilla Bandits) published was an undeniable thrill! But I also love the unmistakable sense of achievement you feel when you write the last sentence—the ending line of the story you needed to tell.

Here’s another writer’s view of the craft:

"It is my rather subversive opinion that a writer's feelings of anonymity-obscurity are the second most valuable property on loan to him during his working years." ~ J. D. Salinger

It may have been his father (a Kosher cheese trader) insisting that he enter or at least acquaint himself with the meat-processing industry that prompted Jerry, the name he called himself since age 13, to become a vegetarian.

An average student with above-average intelligence, Jerry continued school with a flair for writing and an aptitude for acting. But, with the exception of a few short stories published in Story magazine, neither seemed a viable option.

After upwards of sixty rejections, a story called “A Slight Rebellion off Madison” was accepted and slated for publication by The New Yorker in late 1941, which unfortunately coincided with the attack on Pearl Harbor. The story was subsequently shelved indefinitely. Jerry was understandably devastated and consequently drafted.

He kept his journals on his person at all times, and while his intelligence earned him prestige in the war, it made little difference to his girl back home as she ran off with Charlie Chaplin. However, his position afforded the unexpected pleasure of meeting renowned war correspondent Ernest Hemingway, an influential writer for whom Jerry held the highest regard.

By all accounts, the war had changed him. But fate had even bigger changes in store as “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger was published in 1951. Reviews were mixed and sensational. People either loved or hated the book. Nonetheless, within two months after publication, the book had been reprinted eight times and remained on the New York Times Bestseller list for 30 weeks. Yet, paradoxically, as the book’s notability grew, Salinger himself was gradually withdrawing from public view.

Growing ever more reclusive, Salinger bought an expansive yet secluded plot of land in Cornish, New Hampshire. His closest neighbor and perhaps last close friend was semi-retired Federal Judge Learned Hand who freely offered inspirational insight.

“The spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded,” ~ Learned Hand 1944


Happy Writing, and take care, everyone.