I am very excited to have the fabulously talented and funny James Worner visiting my blog this week.
I first met James at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival two years ago and even before a couple of wines, we were firm friends.
Since then, James has joined our (super selective) writers’ group. It was the best decision the other members and I made. Not only is it great having a bloke in attendance, he brings with him extensive experience, insight, wisdom and fun. Don’t ever leave us, James!
James is a contributor to Sight Lines, the newly published UTS writers’ anthology. Congrats, James!
James: Today is a big day for me in my life as a secret writer. And because of Lisa’s invitation to drop in on her blog this month (Thanks, Lise ?), for better or worse, it’s one you guys, her readers, are invited to share.
Secret no more
This blog post contains the last words this writer will ever tap out on his keyboard as an ‘unpublished writer’.
Forget for the moment the tweets, posts, updates, emails, letters, reports and other work-related public writing done on any given day. There are increasing numbers of platforms and ways in which we are all ‘published’—blogs like this one, for example. I’m talking about Old School—on paper, in print, out there.
By the time you’re reading this (June 2014), a copy of the anthology in which I have had my first short story selected for inclusion will have returned from the printer and be sitting on the desk in front of me.
Or perhaps it will be sitting in the little shrine I’ve been mentally preparing for its arrival for, let’s just say, the past 40 years. Or maybe it will be buried at the back of the bookshelf where I’ll never have to deal with the shame or provocation.
I’m not yet sure. It’s all getting a bit weird.
Congratulations! I am so so thrilled for you, super star!
James: Thanks, I’m really excited. Ridiculously so. But, wherever that copy ends up, one other thing is also certain: no longer will I be able to call myself an ‘unpublished’ writer. My secret writing self will have been outed to the world and a writing adolescence in which I’ve never been really accountable for the words I’ve written will have come to an end.
And this has got me thinking…
What changes? Does anything change once our words are made permanent and are out there to be read, with our names attached?
Anything? Everything? Nothing?
I can’t believe it’s nothing. If so much introspection and angst can come from the publication of one short story, I wonder what those of you with novels and multiple novels under your belts experience at the prospect of seeing your work in print. I’d love to know.
A bit of introspection is a healthy thing.
I get that there’s a difference between ‘writing’ and ‘publishing’; one is not the other. There are many reasons I love to write and in the future, no doubt, there will be many more.
But something has definitely changed.
Perhaps the real question to be asked— beyond Is it good enough? and Will they like it?’—is Why do I do this? People engaged in the world around them are continually brokering that deal with their inner critic. I should be doing the same.
So, why do we write?
James: The shift for me started three or four years ago. Things expanded. Became less absolute but more urgent. It happened so incrementally I barely even noticed. No longer was writing something soft and quiet I would do to relax or escape from the world; it became something that is also often loud and feisty, something I do to be heard in the world.
There’s something satisfying about the latter, feistier exchange, where risks are run and the secret self performs guerrilla manoeuvres to ‘put it all out there’.
As my writerly adolescence comes to an end, I am realising more and more that much of what I write, I do want to be read. I do think I have something to say. And even if it remains on some dusty shelf of the uni library or some distant digital corner of cyberspace, my 2500 word short story is going to be out there with my name on top of it, waiting for some unsuspecting future reader to find and engage with.
A point of view I’ve put to the world is out there to be contemplated. And that makes me feel bloody good!
I am so, so happy for you, James, and even though you are elusive, I have managed to find a pic of you! Thanks Annarosa!
Check out the FB page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/utswritersanthology
The UTS website is: http://newsroom.uts.edu.au/events/2014/05/sydney-writers-festival-launch-2014-uts-writers-anthology-sight-lines
And you can buy Sight Lines from a number of book stores but also online at: http://www.bookdepository.com/Sight-Lines/9781922057822