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OCTOBER 2010 NEWSLETTER
1. Introduction: " The Community You Gather through Your Books "
2. Feature: "Writing a Book as a Giving Back: Giving Yourself to Yourself
through Writing Is Also a Way to Give to the World "
3. "Writing Medicine": Flower Essence Remedies for Writers
THE COMMUNITY YOU GATHER THROUGH YOUR BOOKS
This month's feature has to do with how writing a book can be a way of giving back to your community. I've written before, in earlier newsletters, about the need to give to yourself in and through your writing, rather than to be overly outwardly focused on what your readers will want.* October's offering is in a similar vein, yet takes this notion a step further: since it is precisely because you are as present as you can be to what's inside you as you write that your eventual book can reach others, the community that you give back to often is one that only comes into existence because of what you have offered them through your book. That is, a community ~ a gathering of like-minded hearts and souls ~ may actually come into existence because of what you have written.
How would you know this? Well, I know this because I have experienced it on both ends. As a reader, when I am deeply moved and nourished by something someone else has written, I may reach out to them to let them know. Some friendships have arisen because of this ~ some fleeting and others long-lasting. (I once thus befriended a wonderful Canadian writer, Sharon Butala, who, in one of her letters, included a paper clip. "This paper clip," she exclaimed with the utmost awe, "once belonged to [the exquisite Canadian writer] Carol Shields!" Thus did I get a double-dose of literary greatness.)
And as a writer, I have also experienced kindred souls reaching out to me to tell me that my words have moved them, and then often to tell me something of themselves. Sometimes it's happened through my books (frequently, through MotherWealth: The Feminine Path to Money in its original publication years ago), and sometimes it's happened because of the very feature articles you read here. Whatever stimulates that reaching out back to me, I am always grateful, humbled, and happy to know that those perceptions, feelings, knowings, and un-knowings that hover just under the surface of my awareness, when made conscious and articulated in writing, mean something valuable to other people. These acquaintances and friends have enriched my life immeasurably. I believe a similar thing could take place for you.
Of course, for that to happen, you actually do have to write something and make it available for others to read. You need to be able to take those quiet, often private places within and illuminate them for yourself and others. It is that very illumination that makes community, that gets to a universal place within us all, despite all the surface separations, distractions, and busy-nesses.
With this, I can help, in at least three ways:
May the beauty and meaning and urge to create within you find beautiful expression through your writing. May you "go the distance" and complete the book(s), and get to experience the community that gathers because of it.
*Not that what your readers want to read doesn't matter, but that if you don't get to encounter and nourish yourself in your writing, it will be like serving food to guests that you never also get to eat.
WRITING A BOOK AS A GIVING BACK
Giving to Yourself through Writing Is Also a Way to Give to the World
You probably haven't thought of your writing a book as a giving back, but it can be. And it's a very valuable way to think of writing a book.
What people really are seeking in reading books is a way to know themselves more deeply. Beyond the informational service that nonfiction books provide, beyond our training to read to improve our (minds; careers; skills sets; fill in the blank______), in reading we seek to recognize ourselves in a way that has not yet happened ~ whether that recognition is of a difficult life situation we are (hopefully) passing through, or of the numinous nature of our true being.
So writing books that allow readers to know themselves in this intimate way makes this fulfillment possible.
I want to put forth the notion for you to consider that writing a book about your own deep experience ~ rather than theoretical concepts alone, or lists of expert advice ~ is a giving back to the community you haven't met yet, and who may actually form because of what you are giving in your book: the opportunity to "commune" by speaking deeply to your readers by speaking deeply to yourself in your writing.
You don't even have to be writing about your life story in order to give back in this way. You only have to give yourself full engagement with the writing, and be willing to peer into the clear pool of your being and see what rises up to meet your interested gaze. This engagement carries a vitality to it, a life force, and it translates into the receptive experience of readers. This process of meeting what is in you, through writing a book, is really what gives back to your readers ~ far more, in my view, than what you are writing about. I imagine almost anything could be a subject that gives back, if the presence of the writer is in it. The great late actor Charles Laughton, star of the film, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and other movies, used to read the telephone book on television with such feeling that the audience, astonishedly, would weep.
You can give back with a book about some experience you have passed through, offering your wisdom to others who have not had this experience in that way. You can give back with a book about what you started out not knowing, and the journey the book took you on, which is infused in the energy of the book's pages. You can give back with a book about your awareness of some thread of your life, in which not only the subject but the very awareness itself is a giving back to your readers. I'm thinking of Karen Armstrong's autobiographical book about leaving the convent where she was, as a young woman, a nun: Through the Narrow Gate . I read this with such deep immersion and gratitude, although I have never been a nun nor have I been in any way called to that life. It was her intimate honesty and seeking soul that so spoke to me.
We tend to think of giving back as giving back in kind: someone sponsors you with a scholarship, and you grow up to provide scholarships to others. But giving back can be wider than this, can simply open up our humanness to ourselves and to others, until-by the grace of deep writing and the blessing that reading it confers ~ there is no "other" to be seen. Only that one life beneath the surface, held in safe keeping in our hearts, waiting for the moment when there is an invitation to share it.
That invitation is here. That giver can be you. What lives in you seeks to be known, and what lives in your readers seeks to know it. This full circle, this circle of fulfillment, is a giving back of both a social and a sacred kind. Why not bestow it?
3. "WRITING MEDICINE":
Flower Essence Remedies for Writers
Flower essences are wonderful healing aids for our emotional, mental, and spiritual "bodies." Every flower, herb, and tree provides unique healing properties. And taking them could not be simpler: just a few drops under the tongue or stirred into water and sipped will open up the potentialities offered by the flower essences.
Rose Press Flower Essences for Writers are just beginning to become available. Of the 9 currently envisioned, 3 are available now:
Each remedy is priced at $15, plus $5 shipping & handling per shipment (+ state tax in California ).
To order, contact me directly by email or phone, and let me know the following:
I will get back to you so you can purchase any and all of these remarkable healing remedies to help you write your book (or short story, or thesis, etc.) with ease.
Contact me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org (email), or 510/653-ROSE (510/653-7673) (phone)
Our Price: $15 each, plus state tax (CA) and S&H. If you wish to purchase the entire set of nine, your cost is only $119 (compared to $135 when purchased individually); the entire set of ten (9 for writers, 1 for readers) is priced at $130 (compared to $150 when purchased individually).
For more details, click here.