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 Novel by Christina Carson

Purchase at Amazon Kindle 

Quote from Suffer the Little Children:

"Perhaps what we call misfortune is actually a place where the universe interrupts our habits that keep life so limited and small, forcing us to respond differently. The opportunity it offers depends on how hard we work to close the gap or hold it open, allowing ourselves to glimpse realities we've never glimpsed before."

 





Novel by Christina Carson

Purchase at Amazon Kindle

Quote from Dying to Know:

"I knew in that moment, we were never meant to surrender our childlike innocence, to trade a world in which we fit like a glove for one that hung on us like ill-fitting hand-me-downs. However, all about us insisted on our membership. And instead of a handshake or a mystical password as entrance into this spurious society, we agreed instead to share a lie, the one that says we’re safe, secure, and fulfilled living this way." 

 

 


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The View from Here

March 25, 2012

There is a great deal of talk these days about the impact the staggering change in the publishing industry from print to digital will have on the world of writing, for it essentially means anyone can publish a book. We've traded the gatekeepers for an open playing field and some are heralding it, while others are concerned about its implications for the future of good literature. Have you noticed how often we do this – look out into the world at some changing trend or some event and banter ceaselessly about its pros and cons? Have you also noticed that we rarely, I would say never, reach a conclusion worthy of all the energy we've invested in the debate? Have you ever wondered why?

I have. I don’t know why; just my nature I guess. I suffer from terminal curiosity. But what I’ve seen is that human beings are conditioned to think in a bipolar fashion. We see everything as one thing or the other. In fact, we can’t even conceive of something unless we can compare it to something else. That is why original ideas do not come from our thought process. We always have to use what is there already. Since we also use this way of seeing the world to analyze it and attempt to solve the problems that arise, you may begin to see why we are so unsuccessful. Have you ever heard yourself say, “Lordy, that’s the same thing they said last time this situation arose.”

Ours is one choice for how to envision the world. There are others. Ours, unfortunately, is the most limited and the least fluid. To bring about change we have to bang back and forth between the two poles we established, being thrilled when we’re on the “good” end of the arc and depressed or even terrified when we swing the other way. Each swing in one direction or the other pushes the envelope of our awareness a tad more, but what a primitive way to extend our knowledge of the universe. What I’m pointing at is that to banter about the implications of where we writers find ourselves is time wasted. We would be better served by going back to our computers and writing.

I don’t say that glibly. As I’ve mentioned a number of times, participation in the arts is the one endeavor we know that lets us operate from a different frame of reference – our intuitive nature. It is our connection to a creative source, one not bound by subject – object, good – bad, useful – wasteful… And maybe, just maybe the rush of people to “write a book” since they can publish it now as well, could be a way for more people to encounter the intuitive within them, an evolutionary pressure to move the human species toward a new interaction with the world around them that exceeds the description we have now of classifying everything as either this or that.

Isaac Burns Murphy, born son of a slave in April 16, 1861, near Frankfort, Kentucky was an amazing man. Murphy was a jockey, the first African-American jockey elected to horse racing’s Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York. He was considered the greatest jockey in American thoroughbred horse racing. Frank X. Walker, an Associate Professor of English at the University of Kentucky, brought Isaac Walker into my life, and what a gift it was when my husband heard Prof. Walker on The Bob Edwards Show and bought his book, I Dedicate This Ride, a book of poetry that creates a biography employing poems about this awesome individual. “Murphy’s Secret” is the first poem in the book where he recounts how he reacted to all those who asked him his secret of success. He had one answer for the white people (buy this great book and read the poem to find out what), but another for his fellow blacks:


If they be black I tell 'em the truth.
I tell 'em how I cup my hand to a horse's ear
how I let it catch some wind so they remember
what it sound like to run full out,
to know you not just a field horse or a work horse
but beautiful and strong and smart. 

 

Could it be that this influx of people into the only art form that is readily accessible – no ten years learning an instrument; no fifteen years training your body to move in dance – is a positive force, one bringing more people into touch with the greater part of their being – their intuitive nature? Maybe what we've been taught are the most important aspects of life, within this narrow frame in which we think, aren't so very important. Maybe writing will serve an even grander good than just providing us books, if it also aids our our knowing our true nature, that we aren't  just a field hand or a work horse but beautiful and strong and smart. Maybe the most precious piece of Murphy’s secret was perhaps the last line of the poem, for surely we are here to hold a bigger view:

 

 When I’m up there I rub my hand against they neck
lean into they ear, pretend I’m the wind and whisper
Find yo purpose. Find yo purpose’      and hang on.

 

 Find my novels which speak to new visions at Christina Carson, Author.     

Now this is the most "beautiful and strong and smart" piece I've read today! No surprise that it comes via you, dear Christina! I absolutely abhor all this arguing back and forth...it is, indeed, a total waste of time. "Find your purpose, Jo" is going to be my new mantra. I've been pondering on that for some time now, searching my mind and heart for a serious writing project worthy of spending time on. Thank you for such a thoughtful piece!!

Christina, as ever, your writing is eloquent and I love reading your thoughts regardless of subject, opinion, story, or comment. What I felt after reading (and what my other favorite writer, JoVon, confirms in her response) is that you feel there is some kind of inherent waste or even disservice in debate about an issue like the current rebirth and/or evolution of the publishing industry.

Jo "absolutely abhors" all the back and forth, calling it “arguing”. I submit that discussion and debate in a free society is exactly how we (being the larger, collective "we") come up with new, out-of-the-box solutions. The publishing industry happens to be where I've chosen to stake my claim and therefore when the winds of change begin redefining the boundaries, rules, processes, and any other consideration that affects my livelihood, I consider my time spent voicing cogent, open-minded, well-thought discussion regarding the future direction of said industry as not only well-spent but necessary. Yes, I’d love to spend all my time writing my prose, but I owe it to my profession to be involved as much as possible (even if only through discussion, thinking, suggesting, and debating) in the forging of this new market.

I am the last person on Earth that believes in polarity solving anything—indeed I have talked many times about my feeling that we MUST operate in the shades of gray with open minds, open hearts, and opinions that are malleable; that people must be willing to listen to each other, not be totalitarian and self-authoritative in their statements, and I agree with you wholeheartedly that a black and white world does no one any good.

I feel your brilliant, heartfelt commentary lacks only one element, but unfortunately it's the one that means the most to me as I strive to make this my profession: when an artist places their goods in the marketplace with a dollar sign attached they have started a BUSINESS; their "art" is no longer simply soul-searching or a path of discovery. There are countless places now with the Internet (beginning with the blogosphere!) where amateur, burgeoning, experimenting, novice artists (writers, photographers, painters, sculptors, etc.) can present the works of their heart—they can express themselves endlessly, freely, reaching the world in ways never before available to the “commoner” (i.e. non-professional).

However, when a person walks into the storefront (virtual walk or not), secures a space, places his or her wares, and hangs a price tag, that person becomes part of the marketplace and he or she is now affecting other vendors' businesses through competition, pricing (to include price-inducing or fixing), placement, quality, and all other economic forces that push the evil dollar around the table.

To put it simply, there are those artists who produce for the release, the search, the balm to the soul, the discovery of the self, and so on. There are then those who try to put food on their families tables with their efforts (and, hopefully, those two types of artists intersect in glorious fashion). But when an artist joins the ECONOMY they are part of the forces that determine financial success and failure not just for themselves but for the overall market—in other words, bringing the ugliness of money into the fray changes motivations, whether one wants to admit it or not.

(Imagine a maker of cold medicine bypassing regulations, lowballing the competition, selling poor product hand over fist, and then making people sick with their product and creating a national health scare—how many different ways does this affect the bottom line for the legitimate manufacturers?)

Of course, this is my view—I not only respect yours, I completely understand it (and agree with it, sans charging money for the art). I consider myself an intersecting artist, one who wishes to produce quality art but also to find a readership and make a fair price for my goods...I, too, have discovered who I am through my writing and even if could I not make any more money from the act, I wouldn’t stop. That said, I have made my own epiphanous decision this year to try to make a living from my craft. That is why I engage in the (seemingly) repetitive discourse regarding where our book market is heading. Not because I don’t see the tremendous worth in every human being discovering their intuitive, creative selves through the creation and expression of art!

Thank you for your insightful, well-written, worthy post, Christina. I really do consider you (and Jo) two of the finest writers and PEOPLE I know.

I love your response, Rob, and we are not really at odds as you might think . It is a much bigger topic than I got into in my blog. Succinctly put, there is the bantering around of opinions and beliefs, and then there is the intuitive exchange that occurs when people are in true dialogue - meaning present and operating from the same center from which all true art emerges. That second option is the creative option, the one you are referring to that actually offers real solutions, truly new ideas, but few people can operate in that mode long enough to be able to use its power. So most blogging reverts to banter- the churning over and over of the same polar ideas. I was involved for a time with the Dialogue Project originated by David Bohm, a quantum physicist deeply interested in consciousness. That was when I came to understand the two distinctly different modes of human debate. But it is a rare thing to see that sort of human interchange, though you dear friend would be a perfect candidate for it, for you are most open. I too want what you want - a career as a writer. But one other thing I have come to know through an also rocky life like you're own is that we can ride above the storm; that our experience does not have to reflect the experience of the times. I've seen it enough now that I'm finally getting a tad smarter about it and putting my energy toward that result rather than worrying about what the world is doing. I didn't talk at all in my blog about that; I rarely do. But it was that awareness that brought forth the idea for the blog. The world will do what the world will do. One's real role is not about changing the world but rather knowing oneself sufficiently to effect change at that level and understand one's true purpose. Trust me, I know what that sounds like in the face of where you stand presently, so pooh pooh it if you like; I love you just the same. That's just where I live now. Thanks for taking the time to respond so fully and so deeply from your heart. I respect you greatly.

Oh do let me know what you come up with Jo. That's really exciting.

Christina - I absolutely love this post. The truth, in my opinion, is that are no black and whites - ever. Also, I take away from this post of yours the sense of hope and possibly even glory, that when a person strives to express - in art of any kind - there is a rising above. Geez, I hope that's true.

Carlos Fuentes said, "Writing is a struggle against silence." I believe him.

I truly enjoy you! Yes, it is true, for the present moment is where art happens, and conversely, as we strive within our art, it opens us to that moment. So the endeavor is to stay out of one's head - the infernal internal conversation, for when that shuts down, we become present meaning aware of the present moment. That is the consciousness of "rising above." You've been there. Now be there more often until it is the default. What better to do with your spare time, eh!

Hi Christina, I love this thoughtful piece. It's so thoroughly researched and shows a window into a world I don't know. Thank you for showing it to me, and reminding me that the ceaseless babble separates us.
Aloha
Toby

Your post is probably the best thing yet said, written, or produced about the challenges faced in the world on indie publishing. Your insight is powerful and dead-on. We now have an industry that publishes the good, the bad, and the ugly. Time will keep the good writing. We'll see what happens to the rest.

I, like you, suffer from terminal curiosity. In fact, that's what I'll name my next ulcer.

Christina,
What a great post and a great series of comments. I remember once in a class we were discussing the the ways of thinking that differentiated the ancient Greeks and Hebrews. If an apparent contradiction arose between two thoughts, the Greek would point it out, the Hebrew would marvel at it and embrace it.
Your post speaks to the great reservoir of thought and creativity that members of the new publishing revolution can tap, a world where creativity is foremost, an art for art's sake approach. Rob's response urges artists not only to create, but to be mindful of others, not diluting the market place with art that is not quite ready for prime time.
I'll be a proponent of ancient Hebrew thought here and say I agree with both of you.
One of the things I miss while I work on the business end of writing is the pure joy of putting words on paper, trying to "get the words right" as Hemingway said. It is in that setting that I feel the most alive, when as Bert Carson says, I am "in the moment." However, when the moment passes and I turn back to the job of trying to sell my books, I have to change hats. So, I welcome every writer and encourage him or her. It is a wonderful creative time for writers to be alive, but also a challenging time to find a way to put those books into readers' hands.
I love your writing, and the high-octane thinking that fuels it.

Regards,

SW

Toby, welcome. So glad you came by. And you nailed it, in a culture that idolizes talking, we have never taken the time to see it's true cost to us. The Tower of Babel story is not about humans wanting to exceed God, but that talking was going to be one of the main forces of separation from each other, from God, from whatever, especially the babbling we do in our head.

Thanks, Caleb. Actually, I think I've given ulcers to others with my infernal need to know. Bert's holding up well, however!

Appreciate your feedback, Stephen. Interesting response. And the good news it that it is possible to stay in the moment regardless of task, but that takes some work, that is sure.

Wow, both the post and the comments are fantabulous. I'll add my bit, too: issues aren't black and white/bipolar, and neither are people. Some will take like ducks to water to both aspects of writing, the art and the business, and do a great job at balancing them. Others will chafe against the business side because they don't like it and they'd rather just write. Be true to yourself, and then be happy with the decision/direction/balance that you choose for yourself. And not everyone will succeed at making a living from writing, whether they 'ignore' the business side or they give the business their best shot, but like you said, Christina, that doesn't preclude them from adding value to our society with their writing.

Always love when you stop by, Laura. These are indeed fascinating times for a writer. The music industry went through a similar upheaval years earlier. They would be an interesting group to consult now just to see their views, in retrospect, as to how it all played out.

Cristina: How beautiful and inspiring! I just discovered your blog this evening. Thank you so much.
I also like your quote from Suffer the Little Children.
So true and so rare.
Kimberly

Kimberly, delighted we found one another, no seeming small feat in this great cluster of writers. Thank you for your kind words and that we can share understandings that are so deeply part of the human experience.



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