Thursday, December 3, 2009

Elizabeth Berg Writes Like I Write -- In My Dreams

Elizabeth Berg writes books I wish I had written. I've admired her honesty and the sense of depth of emotion and meaning and understanding that I get from reading her novels. Lately I've begun to think of her as my mentor, sister, alter-ego?

For some reason, when I was a page in the library, two women came in and struck up a conversation with me. While I shelved books they moved along with me, whispering and asking about books. I'm always willing to talk about books and of course that leads to writing and I admitted to having published a few items. They asked to see my work and I directed them to this blog.

A couple weeks later they were back in the library. I believe it was the last time I ever saw either woman. But a few days after that a package arrived in the mail and it was from one of the women. A book. What else!? But more than that. It was Elizabeth Berg's "Escaping Into the Open: The Art of Writing True."

The timing didn't seem right. I looked at the book, thanked the women, we emailed a few times and then they disappeared from my life.

A few days ago a dear friend, Lyn, sent me an email about her experience reading Elizabeth Berg's newest book "Home Safe." Lyn wrote:

"I don't know if her writing reminds me of your writing, or your writing reminds me of hers. You both have the knack of writing how I feel."

Those two sentences are all I needed to hold onto, enough to renew hope that 'some day.' Someday I will be able to fill a book that others will want to read.

Now I have resurrected Berg's book on writing. It wasn't hard to find. For some reason it has set atop my bookshelf where I glance at it everytime I enter my office. Perhaps now is the time. I see that Berg advises to have 'purpose -- a reason for writing --, a plan to do more than dream about writing and among other things: perseverance. She writes, "Don't let rejection of any kind stop you from writing. Period."

It is her next two 'P's' that seems to make me stumble: Priorities. "You've got to be insistent and consistent with yourself and others about making time for writing."  And maybe the hardest -- playground. "In your effort to take yourself seriously as a writer, don't forget your need to have fun, too."

There are more P's, more book to read, more words for me to write. And more of Berg's novels for me to read. But for now, I turn Lyn's words over and over, basking in their support and glow. Me and Elizabeth Berg in the same sentence. How cool is that?!

As I write this, I think of Ann Hite and her dance with a publisher. Will they dance the night away or will he turn away?

My money is on a long-term relationship! Stay tuned!


Jamie Fingal said...

Elizabeth Berg is one of my favorite authors. I can relate to the way she writes and the subjects - usually around women friends. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Just do it, I say - open yourself up and let yourself out - put it to writing.

Dawn said...

Thanks Jamie for leaving a comment. It seems so easy to say just do it. Why aren't the words available when I face that blank page? :)



I LOVE Elizabeth Berg's book. How could any woman not love her. She writes about all of us. I've loved them all. I too am a writer striving to write a novel. I've had some success as a short story writer and have sold many "articles." What I want to write and sell is a book that touches the heart the way Berg does. We've got what it takes, Dawn, to write that novel - we have to get out of our own way! You go girl!