Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Kindness of Writers

After my rather down post last week, I have had wonderful messages of support and identification from so many of you. Thank you all. Good not to be alone, although I am sorry that we all have these blue periods. It has got me thinking about this thing that we do, this writing thing: when I sit down to write, it is me facing myself, and all my demons. I have the voices in my head, my "characters", but there is much more of me going down on the page than I wanted to admit, I think. That's why I can upset myself by what I write. But I like that. Because it means I am grappling with something, with questions, with life. I hope. I like the idea that I am delving, even though it is dark down there.

On a happier note, I have a lovely tale to share. I have two flash stories appearing in Southword's current issue and the magazine had a launch party last Thursday. It was in Ireland, and, not being anywhere near there, I asked my Dad and stepmother, who do live in Ireland, if they would go as my representatives. To be honest, I was in such a low place on Thursday, I had forgotten about it. And I also hadn't thought they would go.

But they did. And the minute they got home, my stepmother emailed me. They had a wonderful time, she said. They were introduced to Nuala, the editor of the magazine, who I have become very friendly with through cyberspace. And then, much to their - and my - surprise, when it came time for the readings, Nuala stood up and talked about me. She said how much she likes my writing, she mentioned that my Dad and stepmother had come to the launch. And then she read my story.

And, said my stepmother, she read it so beautifully it sounded like a poem. A poem.

When I read the email, I have to say that it made me cry. I had been feeling so depressed, so alone, so misunderstood, and this, to me, was a spark of light hundreds of miles away, a sign that there are connections that are just as real as the ones with people who are in your physical vicinity, connections based on more than just proximity. Nuala had taken a part of me and brought it to life in Ireland. And she had done that in front of my dad and stepmother, who were so proud and thrilled. I couldn't thank her enough for that. Thank you, Nuala. I just wish I could have heard you read my story!

So, here's to connections, whatever they are made of, to the threads that we send out into the world, hoping they will catch somewhere, hoping they will be caught and held.


Kerry said...

Ah Tania, so pleased you are feeling brighter. I can absolutely see your work reading as poetic. :)

Anne Brooke said...

That's great, Tania - so glad to have these sparks of light now and again.

Love & hugs


Vanessa Gebbie said...

Oh LOVELY! What a good thing to hear, how perfect and generous of Nuala to read your story! Its things like that make this writing world go round, isn't it?

We hear so much about writers being ghastly to each other. As if this is a huge competition, when actually, no two people write the same, have the same imaginations, brains, hands... so how can you compete?

There was the most wonderful programme here, late on TV. I dont watch much any more. But this was Alan Yentob tracking down Haruki Murakami.

And althugh the man wouldnt appear, his words did. It was the first time he had answered questions in ages.

And one of his constant threads and themes is the pull to search within himself for something he is sure is there.

Your post reminded me of that.

maybe thats what we do? keep searching?

I hope you do T... because the work you produce is lovely. Resonant. original and very special. The world would be a lesser place without it.


Women Rule Writer said...

Hi T
You are making me teary eyed now!
It was my absolute pleasure to share your work with the people at the launch, including your lovely parents.
People came up to me afterwards to say how much they loved your work. One woman said it was 'delicate' by which she meant finely wrought and poetic.
I also plugged The Short Review, which has been such an important addition to the short story world, NEVER underestimate that or your contribution to that world.
Writing is lonely, lonely, lonely but we can (and must!!) support each other.
I'm all for mutual support in any form. And I'm happy to support you any way I can.
Thanks for that very sweet post.
N x

SueG said...

a lovely, important (and beautifully written!) post, Tania. Hear! Hear! xoxo

Nik's Blog said...

What a terrific tale, Tania. A delight to read it. And it's great to hear you're feeling brighter.

Nik x

KatW said...

Congratulations! This is exactly what you needed to remind you of your talent and the reason you write. I'm really pleased for you.

Thank you for writing this post; it was just what I needed to read.
I especially like the last paragraph 'So, here's to connections, whatever they are made of, to the threads that we send out into the world, hoping they will catch somewhere, hoping they will be caught and held.' These are words that I'll cherish.

Thank you. Kat

Tania Hershman said...

Kerry, thank you for saying that, you are very kind!
Anne - isn't it a great thing, the sparks that make it all worthwhile?

V - thank you for your beautiful words about my writing. And yes, its fabulous when writers understand that we are certainly not in competition with each other, that being there for each other can only strengthen all of us. That program about Murakami sounds wonderful, I will have to see if I can find it!

Sue - thank you!

Nik - I am definitely feeling brighter, thanks.

Kat, thanks so much, I am really glad my post spoke to you. It's truly how I feel, it's not always easy to put into words.

Tania Hershman said...

And, of course, WRW (are you revealing your identity now??!), thank you for being a shining example of writers supporting each other, I hope I can be the same for you. And thank you so much for promoting The Short Review at the conference, that means a great deal to me.

Nik's Blog said...

Oh, I like that Woman Rule Writer lady, she talks sense.


ireneintheworld said...

this brought a tear to my old bleary eyes tania. what a wonderful thing! i hope it makes you realise what a wonderful person you are. x

Sarah Hilary said...

A lovely uplifting story, Tania, and I can't think of a more deserving writer to be honoured in this way. The generosity you ascribe to Nuala might as easily be ascribed to you.