Women’s Fiction, etc.

An ongoing discussion for readers/writers of Women’s Fiction

Archive for March, 2010

Shifting Mud

 I couldn’t have been more than ten, and we were reading short stories in my class at school.  I don’t remember the name of the story, or who wrote it.  All I know is that it affected me so deeply that I’m writing about it now, forty-five years later.

It was about a boy that somehow got trapped in a sewer pipe.   You know the ones you can barely glimpse when you look down a grate in the street.   I was a hostage of that story; the author described it so well that for a short time, I was that terrified kid.  The boy knew he had to keep going forward to find a way out.  He ended up in a pipe just barely larger than he was, unable to back up, a wall of mud in front of him.  He started to panic and scrabble, afraid he was going to smother in that dark place. But by making himself be still and just breathe, he realized that the mud’s weight shifted, and he could move forward.  Inch by inch, through patience and self-control, he got himself out of that pipe. 

Finding my way through a novel is, for me, like that kid’s journey through the pipe.  What seems like such a great adventure at the beginning, morphs into panic and desperation, then triumph when I pull myself out of the end into the sunshine.

Probably a few of you can relate to the analogy.  So why do we do it?  I know why I do. 

I believe that every human seeks connection – to make someone else see exactly how you feel about something.  When it happens, that rare click of understanding, it is such an incredible rush.

Writing is my way of it, but there are many more and, I suspect, what resonates with you may be different than what touches me.  Just a few of mine are:

In music / performance: Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah

In art, there’s



There are many so ways to reach out.

When I write the ‘perfect’ line – when I actually manage to capture what is in my mind and get it on the page, it’s worth it.  That’s what I write for, not the search for the illusive sale that distracts me from time to time.