Dear Guild Members,
What’s in your trumpet?
The celebrated blues composer and sometime philosopher W.C. Handy once said, “Life is something like a trumpet. If you don’t put anything in, you won’t get anything out.”
With the Guild’s 2011-2012 Season now one-third complete, maestro Handy’s sage observation has me thinking: Am I getting everything I have hoped for from the Guild? Are you? I can’t presume to tell you how you might craft a meaningful writing experience from our merry band of writers. But I have reflected on this question and can share my journey with you.
The story starts two years ago.
Winter’s chill was threatening, but my spirits were plunging faster than the outside temperature. Years of study, numerous rewrites, conference agent pitches, and a ream’s worth of query letters had garnered nary a signal of interest in my incredibly captivating novel from the literary world. I was at ground zero. My motivation was rapidly flat lining.
I began to attend monthly Writers Guild meetings, feeling that if I did not find a spark somewhere to re-ignite my writing passions, my interest would drift to other matters. And that would be a mistake.
At the meetings I searched for inspiration in speakers’ talks, rummaged for insight from members, and left clutching my scribbled notes. But spark eluded me. Perhaps the Guild worked for a few, I reflected, just not for Jim. But then I began to wonder - if the library’s large meeting room filled month after month with writers much like me, they must be finding that spark. What was I missing?
It is when I decided to give back to the group that my perspective changed. Slowly, seductively at first, my newly-found engagement with the Guild led to an almost climactic flash of enlightenment. This flash was equivalent to the transformation that occurs in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy’s world magically explodes from muted black and white to dazzling color. Suddenly I got it. I share energy and tempo with the ensemble. But the only player who can fill my trumpet is me.
Today I am driven by visions of my novel’s readers being swept away on the “pulse-pounding journeys” characterized in my November president’s letter. My novel has been updated, professionally edited, and is ready for prime time. Agent queries are descending on New York like targeted missiles and I am unleashing the book on literary agents at our February meeting. Copies will be on sale at our Desert Writers Expo in March. All gifts from the Guild.
I have much to be thankful for. My trumpet is full. Yours can be full as well, if you wish it to be.
I wish you all beautiful music in this magical time of year, and beyond.