Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Did you hear what I said?" Book info...

I have been working on my book for about 10 years and I think it is time to finish it and try to get it published. It may be one of those projects I feel is never really finished.

Talking to a friend, he said.” So what is your book about? I started to laugh a little, being embarrassed and not wanting to put him through the agony of me trying to sum up about 45 unedited chapters. He knew what I meant immediately. He is an old friend and a retired preacher I knew in Knoxville when I taught middle school.

“So it is just like when people used to ask me on Tuesday what Sunday’s sermon would be about.”

It goes something like this in my own interpretation. There is the book I plan to write. There is the presentation you hear. There is what I actually write and the book you remember me writing. Sounds like a good explanation to me!

I have been writing this book off and on for about 10 years.

I started scribbling it on paper rapidly in outline form when I was at a conference with my husband. A conference offers me a nice clean quiet hotel room where I can think, with no interruptions. A first I could not write fast enough and I knew exactly what I wanted, an almost how to kind of pottery book. Next, I looked at my bookshelves stuffed with how to books and thought, “No, that is not quite what I want to write. There are way to many already. Writing another book about how to make a coil pot really is not necessary.”

I want to write a book about the essentials of living an artistic life and how to make that possible.

Books that have been meaningful to my life are, Gift from the Sea, it helped me through hard times, Like Water for Chocolate, because of the adventures and they way she added recipes between chapters, not playing by the rules, and Eat Pray Love, the search for meaning in a woman’s life, and the humor of Nora Ephron’s, Heartburn and I Feel Bad About My Neck, which remind me not to take myself too seriously.

I wish I could turn to my husband to help me edit these 45 or so chapters. He is a terrific writer but a bit to analytic for my style writing. My book is more about feelings and surviving as an artist and his is facts and history.

Maybe writing this “life” book is all about being a baby boomer in my 50’s. Another friend said, “Oh yes, my husband is in his 50’s so he is writing a book too.” I can’t let that pop my bubble or maybe it is true and just take it from there.

My most meaningful life book about pottery now is Centering, not about centering clay but about centering your life and Bernard Leach’s book the Potter’s Mark. I must confess, I have never made it entirely through either one. And, I hope to design my book in a way that if you don’t have time to read it all at once, you can pick out chapters to read individually that might be inspiring one at a time. And, I want chapters in between that offer fun projects and yes, food recipes as well.

I am not sure where this book belongs on the shelf. I talked to the editors of Ceramic’s Monthly and they are more into the how to books, in a tight economy. They have tried the more philosophical books and have not been able to sell them. And it may be that Clay Times would read and accept a chapter as an article, I am not sure. It is kind of biographical and probably a little more new age spiritual than I want to admit.

I have a friend who has been through the self publishing, print it as they buy it and with her help it might all fall into place given enough time to work on it.

But I do know I can only write when I am not home and can not feel obligated to go to the shop and make a living with my hands. I have written several chapters in the hotel room while my husband attends his academic conferences, about 20 chapters in hotel rooms in Hawaii, and several more chapters while staying with friends with great feed back on my ideas in Costa Rica. I still need more time and a little help with formatting etc on my computer.

Writing is as rewarding as making pottery and certainly does give my tired arms a well deserved rest. I have always loved teaching and helping my students of all age to find their way through art and life.

How about, “Finding your way, an adventure through the essentials of art and life?” or “Getting there, the essentials of life and clay.” Well, maybe. Just write and edit and put the icing on the cake later.

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