Sunday, August 19, 2012

Are you nobody, too?

Timothy 2:2 &3

that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.

I've been thinking about this scripture today and how it relates to my writing. Of course, I know Paul wasn't writing to me. He was writing to Timothy and giving instruction on how to organize the infant, rapidly growing church. I wonder if his admonition to women to keep silent (in the following verses) is not because he believed women had less to say, but because women in leadership in that society would cause disruption and discord that the struggling to survive church didn't need and couldn't handle. But that is another blog post and another discussion. Today I'm thinking about a quiet and peaceable life.

Emily Dickinson, the Bronte sisters and many of my literary heroes led quiet and private lives...and sold very little of their work. I wonder how the Emilys and Charlottes would have survived in our day of mass communication. Would they have flourished?

There's an adage that goes something like this: 'The less you say the more I listen. The more you say, the less I listen.' Which makes me ask--can I write stories, live a peaceable, quiet life and Facebook, tweet, blog, and stand on my head and pass out books? Can I just write stories without the social interaction?

Of course I can. But that doesn't mean I'll sell anything. And all the grandstanding and promoting doesn't guarantee sales, either. Which make me think that maybe the thing to do is decide on the life I want and go about to trying to create it.

It's been a little more than a year since I published Stealing Mercy. In this past year my blog following has grown by more than 300% and I've published three novels and I have another due to hit the world in about two months. I find trying to maintain a quiet and peaceable life and selling books a lot like standing on a seesaw. I don't want to fly off my seat nor do I want to crash with a jaw jarring thud. I want balance. I'm not saying I envy Emily's attic or Charlotte's moor, but their writing did flourish even without one little tweet.

On days when I'm not feeling social, I think about Emily. Was she feeling that the world was too much with her--oh wait, that was Wordsworth who wrote:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

So did Wordsworth feel the same as Emily when she wrote:

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us -don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Which makes me think--if I want to be a nobody like Emily and get away from the world like Wordsworth, maybe I'm in very good company. But then again, they are both dead. Which means I'm really all alone in my bedroom with a computer screen.

Unless I check my Facebook page.

1 comment:

  1. I think I'm a nobody too. There is no such thing as "alone with a computer screen" it is only when we switch off the computer and hide under the covers with a book that we can be alone. That is the only time we can escape to another world. Although, we are not alone when we arrive there either.
    All your followers clearly prefer to buy your novels and hide under the covers than tweet a tale in 140 characters or less.