Stronger and harder than a bad girl's dream. (lost_angel) wrote,
Stronger and harder than a bad girl's dream.

Attention: Writers; also, Mrs. Parker & the Vicious Circle First Chapters Writing Competition

The First Chapters Writing Competition is a first-time author's gateway to publication. One novelist will win a publishing contract with Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, a $5,000 cash prize and promotion by Borders! Enter or read and rate today.

I'm always wary of programs like this. I haven't read the fine print so you could be giving away some rights that you might otherwise have if you went with a traditional publishing method or a creative commons license. However, I thought many of you may be interested or would be willing to at least provide some insight on such competitions.

Perhaps I'm reticent because my mind is still mulling over the "Don't Devalue Your Work" write-up that was passed around a couple of weeks ago.

I also spent part of this afternoon (during an extended lunch/breakfast) watching a biopic about Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table of the 1920's, Mrs. Parker & the Vicious Circle. The movie was a little Robert-Alton-esque, with loads of interesting secondary and tertiary characters and lots of overlapping dialogue (at least in the round table scenes) like how real people talk.

I've read a handful of Dorothy Parker poems and was aware of her influence within the writing/theatre/movie community of the time. What I didn't know was the depression and insecurity that sharped her often frivolously-aimed pencil. I also learned that she gave her entire estate to Martin Luther King, Jr. and that now the NAACP has the rights to much of her work.

I did a little bit of thinking during and after the movie. First, we all write for an audience. Even if we never think anyone else will see it, most people do write with the expectation that someone will eventually read it. Secondly, we are all so profoundly influenced by our culture, our society, the times:
I write doodads because it's a doodad kind of town.
One sequence within the movie mirrored a recurring concern within my own life. A psychoanalyst says to D. Parker when she asks why she was unable to write:
It's not what you're suffering, Mrs. Parker. It's what you're missing. In my opinion, you and your friends are missing a great deal. It's a sign of insecurity, this compulsion to be constantly with each other, to be constantly entertaining, but never discussing one subject for long, never in depth. The serious side of your nature is lost— your purpose— and then you can't write. I think life is something more than being able to breathe.
I often am accompanied by a sense of guilt and frivolity when I spend time doing things like designing rooms in our new house and planning parties and especially when watching television or movies. I have a sense that all of this is keeping me from doing something more important with my talents, with my life. And that by spending the preponderance of my time doing inconsequential and temporary things, I am avoiding the weight or burden of making the most of my limited time in this world.

Or perhaps these methods of avoidance are so I don't have to face potential failure.

Now if only I could figure out what I should be doing and then develop the discipline to make myself do it.
Tags: authors, avoiding your destiny, dorothy parker, movies, writing

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