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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Forest for the trees

A debt of gratitude this morning goes out to my NYC roomie and fellow scribe, Jill Miller Zimon. Several weeks ago she sent me a package with some books she felt may help me through my psychological slump.

Her instincts were correct. While I didn’t much care for “Writing Down the Bones,” I found “The Forest for the Trees “ by Betsy Lerner a great, inspiring read. I’m going to Half-Price Books today to pick up a copy for myself. (J – Loved reading your notes!) Of course the title alone describes my current state. And so I plunged through yesterday and last night and realized something: I really do want to write a book.

To anyone who has ever asked (which is not many), I’ve always said that I would write a book someday without ever having a clue as to its subject. I’m under contract to write one for the Cleveland Clinic Press and I’ve written one with a marketing bent for the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. But I’m talking about something pure and inspired from my own imagination.

The thought is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. As I explained to a friend last week, the potential for white-hot spotlight scares the shit out of me. I'm the person who always has nightmares of being exposed, in my underwear, as a complete hack. But in recent conversations with my sister and given recent family events, I see something I’d like to explore. It will certainly take some convincing, but may yet prove to be possible.

More on that someday. Anyway here’s what Lerner, a former editor in NY's publishing houses, writes that sent me flying high this morning:

Every time a person writes, for the public or not, he or she is connected to all who have ever felt that magnificent charge of communication through the written word—whether carved in hieroglyphics or glowing in code across our computer. No matter how often or how vociferously writers are attacked, no matter how many hearts are broken in pursuit of publication or how many authors discouraged by their lonely work, there will always be the brilliant conspiracy between author and reader.

It’s true. In the end we write, despite all the obstacles, because we have to.

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