Dry Spells and Puppy Dog Tails

To the Reader, wherever you are, that wrote the following, thank you.

Memories tells the story of a lifetime… literally. It’s one of those stories that really hits you in the heart and makes you think, “What one would be MY one thing? What one thing from my life would I choose to take with me?” What are the things in our lives that matter the most? The answer to this question in Memories is a touching revelation and a perfect commentary on same sex marriage.

As a gay woman, who just came out, the story especially hits home but really, this could be a story about any couple, or individual; gay or straight. More importantly, this is a WELL WRITTEN story. I feel like I don’t come across very many authors these days who really resonate with me like Hurst was able to in this story… the only word I have for her writing is masterful.

I quote this review not to toot my own horn, but to talk about why it was so important to me.

I’ve been in another dry spell with my writing. I’ve been feeling like it’s dull and uninteresting; hardly dynamic enough. I’ve been worried about my dialogue. My voice. My style. I even wondered if my place wasn’t meant to be on the penning side of things. Who would I touch with my work? Who would I excite? I was reading amazing books and only getting more depressed. Yes, yes, I should put away my pens. Close the word processor.

But then I checked my Amazon page. A friend of mine had reminded me of the story I wrote around this time last year, and I decided to see how it was doing. I’m not at that stage yet, where I check all my sales all the time, but I know that Memories hasn’t sold many copies since last year.

The review above was waiting for me.

It was a moment that I am sure most authors write for. To connect with someone else, purely through story. Someone they don’t know. A complete and utter strangerโ€“โ€“moved by your work. Through your words, however you’ve arranged them.

Memoriesย is a story near and dear to my heart, half-steeped in reality, and half in fiction. Not just because I would love to one day be able to marry my Canadian partner legally, federally in the states, but also because there is so much more to any relationship besides sex, and it is unfortunate that most stories in the news, or within our very culture, are steeped in it. Even in literature, I found myself longing for more stories like The Witch Sea by Sarah Diemer; stories which are LGBT but not just a steamy-romance novel. I long for stories of real people.

In any case, the pens stay out another day. I try a little harder. I will force the words to come whether they are ready to or not.

Because my work can, and has touched others in meaningful ways, I continue to write.

And write, and write, and write.

So, to the Reader that wrote the above, the next one’s for you.

10 thoughts on “Dry Spells and Puppy Dog Tails

  1. bizarrejc says:

    I needed to read this. I struggle with my writing as well, because I think it isn’t good enough. That’s not true. I’ve touched others as well. We are always our own harshest critic. I’m glad a reader was able to remind you of that. Keep on writing until your inkwell dries up; then go out and buy another.

    Like

  2. i002537 says:

    Alex,
    I really don’t know what to say first.
    Maybe I will start that it would be selfish if you didn’t write because you DO touch people and many of us need to be touched.

    The fact that you are feeling ” dull and uninteresting; hardly dynamic enough” is part of your balance. Like an artist that paints with colors and starts to feel maybe even express in black and white and various shades of grey…

    Color can’t be there everyday. How many believe the black and white is just the way of the world? But your words add the color, your words are like a look into a soul window from a black and white and grey world into a land of color and life and movement and maybe happy joy, maybe sad sorrow, But there is feeling and life when we collectively look through the window to share.
    If you didn’t feel that way, you wouldn’t be.

    Like

  3. Stephanie Scott says:

    Dry spells are tough. I often find myself in a plot bind where something is working and I just don’t know where to go. Either way it can make writing feel like a dead end. I’m glad you found a positive review.

    Like

  4. Miranda Stone says:

    What a fantastic review, Alex! I think most writers go through these dry spells, where we question and doubt. And it’s wonderful when we learn that someone has been moved by our work. I recently received an e-mail from a lovely young woman who told me how much one of my stories meant to her, and I was so happy she reached out to me and let me know that.

    Like

  5. Virginia Ballesty says:

    Without having read Memories, I think I can still say it’d be a sad thing if you stopped writing. I don’t have a lot of blogs that I stop to check every day, but this is one of them… in part because the writing flows and is enjoyable to read, in part because you’re always writing about something interesting and mostly because you always seem to have something worth reading.

    Now excuse me while I go check out your story ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  6. Andrew says:

    On the one hand: Congrats on the great review. Those are always great to get.

    On the other hand: It’s near impossible to write for “people.” You write the stories that touch yourself, and you will inevitably touch someone else.

    Like

  7. S dot Love says:

    Funny thing, in my post today, I talked a bit about how I feel towards my writing at times. Sometimes I think “Who would give a damn enough to even read my book, let alone buy it?” But writing isn’t about the sales.. It technically isn’t even about how many people read it. It’s about being able to connect with others through our words, even if it’s only one person. I’m glad that your ‘one person’ has reached out and given you these words of encouragement! Don’t stop writing ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. Stuart Land says:

    First, thank you for becoming my Goodreads friend. Your post touched me on several levels. Non-writers generally have no idea how far, and to what depths, a kind thought about our writing can go. One hateful response can oft times wipe out a score of positive remarks. On the reality side, I too am an expat, living in Thailand, so know well what it means to live abroad in an Asian culture. Plus, I’ve been to Kyoto! ๐Ÿ™‚

    The two areas that resonated with me the most were the twin emotions of inspiration and utter worthlessness when reading an author who is so extremely good. I’m experiencing that right now. Even though I know myself to be a good writer, when I read authors such as this, I wonder how many lifetimes I’ll need to go through to achieve this level.

    The other point is about alternate lifestyle characters. Many of my stories feature LGBT (and other) characters, not as oddities, but as equally normal people as far as living out their lives. Their gayness, or racial makeup, is not the focal point of the story or their lives, but just who they are. On the other hand, I won second place in a major screenwriting contest precisely because of who my gay character was.Many times, people reveal themselves through their comments. I had to laugh out loud when one reviewer stated (incorrectly) that “the only sane character was the gay guy!” as if that was a bad thing, had it been true.

    My characters are as alive to me as any in the real world, and I love them all. Great stories are hardly ever plot driven, but character driven. Because of this, there at least 7 billion stories to tell, but in truth, many times more than that, because as writers, we mix, shuffle, and blend every person we’ve ever met, including ourselves, to create the living characters we write about. Just write about these incredible people that you create from your heart and mind, and leave the wordsmithing and plotting to take care of themselves. By bringing their stories to life, you will consistently connect with people.

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