Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rick

Rick,

Thanks for the feedback. It is a great fear of mine that my writing will get worse not better. I've seen it happen to writers who become complacent.

I greatly appreciate the feedback and the thoughts you shared and especially devoured the praise. It was great to read what you wrote about Marilyn's story because that is approaching book form. The text is done and I have sent it out to four readers to ask their thoughts on what parts are slow or need to be changed or even which work well. It was an incredibly amount of work turning a blog into a memoir. How Marilyn and I met, daily routines, the Magic and MMORPG years, the discovery of the Cancer and the aftermath are all included and fleshed out. All it needs now is feedback and final editing.

I don't quite know how to address the passion part in my writing. Right now, I am traveling, writing, and trying to learn Spanish. It is much harder to convey passion about Spanish class than it is to convey passion about the struggle to succeed at Magic and make it to the pro tour. Of course there is passion about struggling to keep Marilyn alive and keeping a positive attitude. It's very easy to show the rage you feel at nurses that suck or the fear when the infection comes back and I am awake all night in the hopital with a bucket and helping the nurses change the sheets every thirty minutes.

I'm not competing in anything right now and no one is dying under my care (thank God) so I am sure my writing has lost some edge that it used to have. I also used to put more work into my Star City columns because at one point I was being paid well to write them. And being about Magic, well, I've always had strong feelings about that.

You're one of the few people to comment on my fiction. I am assuming you are referring to the first chapter of my novel I had posted a long time ago called "Eminent Domain?" Fiction was hard! Would be nice to know if people enjoyed that first chapter when it was posted. If my passion came out in that I am very glad. That bodes well for the far off future.

I will think of what you have said and see if I can find a way to express my passion for other things in my writing. It is a problem. I am in Rome right now and it is beautiful. I have recorded some great slice of life observations here. But no matter how many times I write "staggering" or beautiful" or "breath-taking" I don't know how to compose travel writing that can speak with the passion of battling Cancer or someone in Magic or MMA. I think I can only express wonder and humor.

I know what you are saying and I agree. The quandary is how to solve it.

3 comments:

  1. Bloody well done J, for taking constructive criticism in the way it was clearly intended. It's easy to shrug it off, ignore it, laugh about it. It's harder to face up to it and act on it. Good for you.

    I think it's impossible to write with passion about things you're not truly passionate about. I stopped writing my blog because I just felt that I didn't have enough quality content.

    Some topics are just not emotive enough. I mean, I absolutely LOVE walking my dog in the spectacular countryside where I live, but there is no way I could make that interesting for a reader, day after day. Even though it's often the highlight of my whole day.

    I don't know if you can 'solve it'. The only thing you can do is throw yourself into life and experiences, and try to find the things that really ignite you to write about.

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  2. I still disagree with the notion that these writings aren't passionate, and I certainly disagree that writing about walking your dog can't be. In fact, Jamie HAS written an amazing "story" in the past about walking his dog Thor. I have always thought that Jamie's greatest gift is taking the everyday and making it sound amazing. I don't know what people think "passion" is supposed to be, but I absolutely live vicariously an entire different life from my own through this blog. Perhaps people are too used to soap-opera style reality shows and news programs? I don't mean this as a dig to anyone, but just a thought to chew on. What kind of world is it when the "real" everyday things are not enough. They are ALL that's real. When we can't appreciate them, we become depressed. T.

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  3. I do want to say one thing in Jamie's defense that perhaps you are not aware of. Prior to moving to Spain, the only place Jamie was writing was online. The life he was living went directly onto the internet-whether in well crafted tales or simply data dumping his heart and brain online. But that is not what he is doing now.

    He is focused on crafting his writing into book form. He has spent the last six months in particular (1) reworking Tournament Reports (2) crafting Marilyn's story, transforming it from devastating blog entries into a moving story that can be understood and appreciated by people who have never known either Marilyn or Jamie AND (3) working on his book of travel experiences. In between doing all this extremely passionate writing, he tries to make sure he dedicates time to update the blog to keep in touch with the people who have loved his writing. And perhaps, after having putting hours into retelling the brutal year that was 2005-2006 and recounting all the amazing adventures he is having, the blog gets short shrift and ends up being less exciting stories and more everyday anecdotes-I know that Jamie struggles with that as the blog and its readership is EXTREMELY important to him.

    But please understand-when you say he has lost something-you have to know that are not seeing the whole picture of his writing-not even close. He is working very hard to get these books finished and polished so that he can tell these stories the way they deserve to be told, and to take his writing to an even broader audience, fans of his blog as well as people who don't know him yet. Just know that.

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