Posted in Publish or Perish on October 01, 2011 by Susan Weiss
October 3, 2011
Years and years ago, I signed up for a continuing ed. course in physics at MIT. As I recall, I attended only the first session and then decided that I wasn’t prepared for the rigorous work the course would require, and so I withdrew. But during that first session, the instructor made a pronouncement that nothing, absolutely nothing, could ever exceed the speed of light. Now I don’t remember whether that evening we had discussed the ever-evolving nature of scientific discovery, but I’m quite sure that I had independently read of it—of rock-solid theories being displaced; of new discoveries casting shadows backwards on what had always been presumed to be scientific truths.
At the end of that class meeting, I approached the instructor and asked how he, as a scientist, could make such an absolute statement with such confidence. Wasn’t this contrary to the whole concept of scientific inquiry?
Posted in Publish or Perish on September 24, 2011 by Susan Weiss
September 25, 2011
Today (yesterday now) I attended a few Burlington Book Festival events and also sat for a while at my publisher’s table, where my book, among others, was being sold. It is probably a bit soon to try to process all of the stimuli that pinged against the brain of this recently published author, but I want to figure out why I left feeling highly caffeinated and at the same time as if I’d been run over by a small (maybe a two-seat) vehicle.
I arrived late at a presentation about how authors could make the best use of their websites and the Internet as marketing tools. Almost from the moment I crossed the threshold, I felt as if I’d landed on Mars and was navigating a very exotic terrain. I kept wishing for a hard copy of an outline or for a translator, and kept wondering if my tardy arrival accounted for the persistent lack of orientation I experienced. I think…I mean I’m pretty sure that the topic of how to publicize an author’s website was never fully addressed, though I can’t be sure since I felt forever floating above the surface, ungrounded.
At the next presentation I attended, I felt similarly disoriented but for different reasons.
Posted in Publish or Perish on September 20, 2011 by Susan Weiss
September 20, 2011
I’ve been reading Still Alice, just because it happened to fall into my lap and a friend had told me she enjoyed it. This novel recounts the rather precipitous decline of a fifty year old woman diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Reading it sometimes feels as if I’ve been swallowing mouthful after mouthful of a heavy pasta dish that has backed up into my esophagus. It is weighty and frightening. The reader really absorbs Alice’s deterioration and her fluctuating state of disorientation.
But for me, an unexpected consequence of reading Still Alice is that I truly and deeply have begun to grasp that my cancer is far from the worst fate—even medical fate—that I could have been dealt.
Posted in Publish or Perish on September 05, 2011 by Susan Weiss
September 6, 2011
Long, long ago, or not really so long ago, writing was a bit of a nuisance. I thought of myself as a writer and so knew that I must, inevitably, write. But as soon as I sat down in front of the paper, the typewriter, the computer (an evolution of writing apparatus), the creepies began crawling inside of me; my skin prickled with anxiety; a time bomb launched its countdown, so I could feel the minutes draining away while I wanted, wished, to have something to say. The gap between my mind--spewing out images and ideas--and the words that might convey these was achingly wide.
During those years, I wrote according to the clock. When my one or two or however many hours were up, I sprang out of my chair, liberated. So why did I bother, force myself to endure the mandated writing time that I dreaded as much as I dreaded doing laundry or exercising? Because I was a writer. Whatever instinct compelled me to stick with it believed that eventually, if I persisted, that writer in me would emerge.
I can’t say that its emergence was a sudden, climactic turning point. Rather I improved, little by little, over the years.
Posted in Publish or Perish on August 25, 2011 by Susan Weiss
August 25, 2011
Two years ago my mother died. By then she was uninterested in continuing to live, possessed as she was by Alzheimer’s disease.
At the time of her death, amidst the dozens of blues I was feeling, I rued that she wouldn’t be around if my book ever got published. Another “publish or perish…which will come first?” concern. It mattered to me not just because she was my mother and I wanted her to be proud of me, but because over the years she had developed into a supporter, if not a fan, of my writing.