Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks on Thanksgiving -- c.anne.gardner

We interrupt our regularly scheduled "Thoughts on The Craft" column this week to acknowledge Thanksgiving.

Material things come and go in life, so in reality, it's the people you meet along the way who carry you through.

I want to take this time today to talk about being an Indie author: word scab, literary cretin, dysfunctional grammar moron, artistic savant, or whatever it is we would like to label ourselves at any given moment. But I don't want to talk about labels or publishing, I want to talk about the Indie Artist Community -- our community and how I feel about it in a broader sense.

I too have shared in the frustrations of being a self-published author. The most frustrating for me is that, well, that art has become commerce, and that independent artists are treated with such disdain, simply because the industry and its advocates at large seem to have forgotten that many of the great icons of literature started as Independents, often self-publishing by using small or micro-presses for their own work and the work of their friends. They did this for no other reason than they believed in their work, even though it might have been deemed too risqué, too uncensored, too unmarketable, or irreparably flawed based on arbitrary standards. They took the risk, ignored the rules, and found their passion. With passion comes fulfillment. Many great discoveries would not have seen the light of day if their discoverer hadn’t taken the risk. I think risk taking is an art in itself sometimes. Speaking of risk takers, I have met a few such authors -- self-published and traditionally published alike -- whilst travelling down the word littered path. I owe them a debt of gratitude for offering their criticism, their friendship, and their gentle strength, which kept me grounded and got me through the rough patches. There have been a lot of rough patches.

I would also like to thank my fellow literary junkies: Thank you for always having the time to talk shop. Based on reader recommendations, I have read some truly wonderful books this year, Indie and Mainstream alike.

To speak of my own word-fuddling. My body of work to date has consumed the better part of five years of my life. When it comes to my novellas, admittedly, the original text was seriously flawed, in my restrospective opinion. I held back a great deal of emotion for fear of overexposing the characters. I listened to critics when I shouldn't have and didn't listen when I should have. Many of you who know me know that I took a brief sabbatical in 2008 to reassess the risks I didn't take and come to terms with the ones I did. And after much consideration and painful indecision, it was a deliberate determination on my part to re-write and re-edit my entire body of work in order to restore them to their original intent, to expand the prose, and to subsequently deepen the emotional clarity. I started my own imprint at that same time and decided to go all-in as an Indie, damn the naysayers. Antiquity is available now, and then I have one more to re-release before I can move on to newer and darker horizons. I couldn't have gotten through the process without a few friends. You know who you are.

So, it being Thanksgiving and all, to express my gratitude, I dedicate my life’s work to everyone I have known and loved, to those who know me best of all, and to those who helped shape my history and in turn shaped my work. You are forever etched into my soul and will never be forgotten. I humbly lay my pitiful homage at your feet.

Yes, that's a lot of thankfulness, I know, but I am not finished. I would like to thank Emily Veinglory -- Pod People Blog Founder -- and Chris Gerrib, both of whom are my review and commentary partners here at the blog. Thank you for your stamina. I would also like to thank all our featured authors for offering up their thoughts and commentary, and to our blog followers and Indie Book Advocates around the web for helping to support the Indie cause, not to mention all the readers who have taken a chance on one our reviewed books.

As an author, I personally want to give thanks: to My Father, who died before he ever got to read a single word I'd written, to My Husband, to Lovers and Dearest Friends, to My Readers, to Poets and Storytellers of Old, to My Critics, and to My Shadow, who transcended the darkness to help me see the light.

Happy Thanksgiving, and for those who do not celebrate the US Holiday, well, any day is a good day to be thankful. Much love and light to you.

The art this week is The Ship of Fools by Hieronymus Bosch 1300 -- Seemed appropriate, eh?

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