Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Circles of Writing Life

Our circle starts with my book, Heavy Bags of Soul about 90 degrees away.  It's brilliant! It's original! Very few will "get" it! It doesn't fit in a genre! It's a hard sell! It's almost unnoticed! 

Wait- did the exclamatory hyperbole change?

First books usually have the author's internal organs indelibly attached, and whether the books are avant-garde like mine, or simply lost among the growing number now published each month, most author's still wouldn't change a word.

The circle moves to writers who've had better fortune. Or talent. Or both. And those special authors who have used said talent to accomplish even more.  For example, Dave Eggers.  Dave Eggers does not need another article written about him.  (Wouldn't the rest of us like to say that too.) Yet, Eggers continues to be one of the most deserving. Eggers is now known for his work with 826 National Nonprofit and McSweeney's Publishing House. His actual award-winning first novel, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, almost takes a backseat.

Eggers is one of the co-founders of 826 National, a nonprofit that uses pirates, superheroes and mysterious voices booming from the back of rooms to create a learning environment for kids that actually produces results, while almost tricking them into increasing their reading and writing skills. The kids write books. Real books. Titled, bound, printed and sold books. As authors know- that's a heck of an incentive.

When we forget, when we're so busy selling our wares and ourselves on social media, pleading for unknown strangers to just take a chance on our book, building buzz, and marketing, marketing, marketing-it's fitting and rejuvenating to return to the beginning of the circle.

"826 helps young people learn that language can be play, that work can be joyful, and that they, themselves can be the inventors and caretakers of their world."  - Michael Chabon,  Pulitzer Prize winning author and 826 volunteer.[1]

So in the middle of this authorship, this selling off pieces of ourselves-but hopefully not our souls, we can think back, and thereby forward. Words are play. Writing, (even marketing) is creating. A writer is a caretaker who bears responsibility for all his or her words touch.

Then perhaps the pen becomes a little lighter. Facebook becomes a way to share information that matters. Twitter becomes a tool to express wit and connect with other minds- minds that are enigmas yet have unlimited potential.  And maybe, just maybe, one of those minds will add play to words, authenticity to redundancy, and launch a caretaking campaign that touches future generations.  After all, who wouldn't want a career like Dave Eggers?


Readers can find more on 826 National at: 826 National also has 8 satellite chapters. There may be one near you!

Originally posted as a guest blog on Tripp Randomly Writes. Check out LA Trip's site and guest posts at

[1] 826 National Media Kit

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