Monday, June 16, 2008


Every Thursday night at a historical inn nestled in the cool woods atop Catoctin Mountain, Maryland, there is a blues jam at the Braddock Inn. How can I resist going there, being a historical fiction writer?

Here is where General Edward Braddock during the French and Indian War passed on his way to Fort Duquesne on April 29, 1755. Later he'd be laid to rest in an unmarked grave near Great Meadows, Pennsylvania. His aid, twenty-three-year-old Lt. Colonel George Washington was honored to receive Braddock's ceremonial sash, which Washington kept with him throughout his life. Wagons rolled over his place of burial to hide it from the enemy.

Not even a half-mile from my house, is the location of Braddock's encampment. It is going to be lost, forgotten, due to development which has made me heartsick. A housing development and a office complex is scheduled to be built. How sad it is to lose a place of such historical significance.

What does this have to do with writing? It may have no meaning whatsoever to you. But for me, I am inspired when I visit historical places and learn the history. It is food for my hungry mind.

My husband is a blues musician and a luther, and jams every Thursday night. After having a huge meal of chicken-fried steak and mashed red-skinned potatoes, topped with a very fattening sausage gravy, we spent the evening listening to some very talented musicians. He played three sets, and I don't mind bragging that he was great.

I sat there listening to them play, and thought how fantastic it is that God has endowed people with talents. Musicans, writers, and artists, love their craft, and it's something we'd rather do than a nine-to-five. . . even when it hurts and frustrates us.

I encourage you to embrace the gift given you, and use it for good. Write no matter what happens. A talent is an awful thing to waste. What if one day you'll be asked, "What did you do with the talent I gave you?" How will you answer?

I know it is hard to deal with rejection. We writers get it from all sides. It is part of our pain, our lot, and you can get through it. When you get a rejection letter, go ahead and mourn, but just for a while. Then pull out your novel in progress, roll up your sleeves, and immerse yourself into the world of your characters.

The industry may be tough. But there is one thing for certain. Whether you are published or not, no one can say you are not a writer, and no one can take away your gift. It is innate---birthed within you. Only you can decide what you will do with it.

1 comment:

Chiron O'Keefe said...

What an inspiring essay!

Our talent, and what we do with it, is part of our own historical landscape. Do we invest the hours and days required to scrape off the paint and sand the wood? Or flit off in search of a new distraction?

Each book is yet one more house on our inner block. Some houses will attract more visitors, it's true. Yet each stands as testimony to our dedication to the craft we love...

I loved too reading about your hubby's musicianship. Both George and I play blues, as well as classic rock, Motown, and anything else that inspires us. I can't imagine my life without creativity. *smile*

And you're so right. The industry can be tough, yet no one can take our writing away from us. We Choose to be writers. We Choose to write. And We Will Find Our Readers...those precious souls yearning to read exactly what we choose to write.