Friday, September 4, 2009

writing: dreams & reality

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the office and folks at The Writer magazine. As a contributor, it was a joy to meet the editorial names I have come to know, up until now, only through email and telephone conversations. While the internet is certainly a great way to communicate and carry on writing business, there is something to be said for talking face-to-face with an editor.

Maybe it’s the memories of my childhood dreams of growing up to be a writer, and all the details those preconceived notions implied, that make such visits so entertaining.

If you write, what were your youthful visions of the future like? For me, I would think about the editorial meetings, the wining and dining, and the glamorous parties and intellectual conversations that would inevitably be my future if I worked hard enough. Well… some of these things have actualized in reality, and some… not so much.

I can’t say I wine and dine much, but in reality I do suppose I go out for coffee with an editor now and then - usually to discuss unrelated writing topics or just to socialize. The editors I socialize with, however, are usually locally based and not necessarily ones I work with, since I am a bit of a distance to my New York contacts. So, a small tangent on what the dream was, but a satisfying one no less.

As for glamorous events? Yes, I attend a good number of literary events in and around my area. I’d argue that they’re not that glamorous although many are, in fact, intellectually stimulating. At the very least, it’s great to meet and mingle with other writers, get to know readers, and spend a night out. Usually, the only glamorous aspect of these types of evenings is debating whether to wear make-up and fun shoes, or to go casual with sensible footwear. I’ll let you guess which usually wins the debate.
And while I’ve had my share of editorial meetings, most working discussions take place on the phone or via email. It’s rare to nab an editor’s dedicated time for a lunch or coffee, and since my proximity to the editors I tend to work with is a bit distant from home it’s even rarer. Maybe that’s why it’s so special when I do get the chance to mingle in person. I will say that editors do, indeed, like to meet their writers face-to-face when the opportunity arises.

Visiting the editorial team at The Writer office was great. After getting to know the staffers through various emails and the occasional phone call, it was a pleasant visit to just say hi as I was passing through the area. I received a great coffee shop recommendation, had a few brief chats about what I’ve been working on, but mostly the visit was just a quick social stop on my way somewhere else. Even so, I’m glad the staff were able to take a few moments to entertain me.

My youthful dreams of what having a writing career would be like were far from reality. However, I am by no means disappointed. Rather than flitting from party to party and keeping up with witty repartee, I find myself fulfilled with the real connections I have made, the ongoing work I am blessed to have, and the community of readers and writers I chat with both personally and professionally. For me, reality wins out hands down. After all, what good are imaged dreams if they never result in something tangible? Oh sure, I still daydream about the people I’ll meet and the places I’ll go. But as a working writer, I know these current dreams are within reach and not just child’s play anymore.

What about you? Have your dreams morphed into reality? Is your real life anything like you imagined it would be? Do you still daydream about what’s to come? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

And, as promised the other day, I have something special for Labor Day weekend. Until Monday, I’m offering up copies of my latest poetry book for a deep discount. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to pick up stains: early poems, you can email me to order your (signed) copy directly, and I’ll send it out to you for a mere ten bucks (including free shipping!). Of course, you can order the book from amazon or B&N, or grab it from your local indie shop, at any time, but for this weekend I’ll be offering up signed copies at a discount. Email me at if you’re interested. Congrats to Dan Ames who posted a response to the blog the other day (on the facebook feed) and won a signed copy of stains.

Have a great long weekend; enjoy those last moments of summer; and until next time… happy reading!


  1. I envy your being able to meet with The Writer people. Love their magazine.

  2. Hi C. Lee!

    It is such a great magazine, isn't it? I've read it for years... gosh, I remember reading it when I was a teen and wishing-hoping-praying to someday be a writer.

    It's always such a good resource and motivator. If you haven't visited the website lately, there have been some really cool changes and updates recently.

    There's a link on the main landing page at to "10 Great Reasons to Visit Now" that I recommend!

    Thanks for popping in!