Monday, May 9, 2011

Manic Monday with Barrie Abalard - Finding the Body: Why the Journey May Be More Important Than the Goal

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Barrie Abalard here for my Manic Monday series.  Barrie has been writing and selling erotic stories for longer than she cares to admit under the pseudonyms Barrie Abalard, Belle, and Miss Lee. You can find her books on Amazon and many of the other usual places.

Being of a certain age means she's done a lot of s*** in her life, notably many years of radio DJ-ing and software technical writing. She also did short stints as a taxi driver, clerical chartist for the Boston Federal Reserve Bank, and temporary office worker for over half a dozen companies. Never mind what else she's done.

A good story with quirky characters turns her on. Besides reading, she enjoys cuddling with her cat, singing, very long walks and working out, and hanging with friends. She's addicted to any number of TV shows, and currently lives in the Middle Atlantic but is moving back to the Boston area later in 2011. She's led a wild life, and as such, believes a woman should have a past that's juicy enough to bring a blush to her descendants' faces.

Without further adieu - here's Barrie....

Finding the Body: Why the Journey May Be More Important Than the Goal

by Barrie Abalard

JET, thank you for providing me with a place to meditate a little on the journey we take as writers.

When I think of a writer's journey, I think of Stephen King's story "The Body", where a group of thirteen-year-olds go in search of a missing body that they heard about on the radio. Along the way, they learn things about each other—and themselves—that they never would have, had they not taken the journey.

You probably know where your writing journey is headed—what your goal is—but where has your journey taken you? Which things have caused you to change your course? Which things that you thought mattered, didn't?

After writing a lot as a teenager and college student, I married, had a kid, and settled into a real-world job. I have worked in writing or communications-related jobs for most of my life. Very little of the writing I did would be called creative writing. All my fiction and poetry was done in the off hours, but I honestly didn't produce much because of the restrictions on my time. In fact, in my thirties, I put my dream of writing away, a dream from my youth I thought I'd outgrown.

And, because of this, I thought I was a failure. What I didn't know was that all the writing I did, though it wasn't Pulitzer-Prize material, was part of my journey. My employers, in part, had paid me to hone my craft, to learn to write simple declarative sentences, to explain something with logical steps.

All of this paid off when, at the age of forty-four, I became possessed by a need to write stories. I didn't struggle any more to wring out a few hundred words, as I did in my twenties and thirties. Instead, characters appeared uninvited in my head and badgered me to write their tales. A simple conversation with someone could blossom into a plot that nagged me until I finally arrived home, where I could write it down.

In short, I couldn't not write. I needed to write as much as I needed to eat and sleep. My husband began to complain that I spent most of my free time (which often included eight to ten hour stretches on at least one weekend day), at the computer, writing. He'd never cared much for changes in routine, and my sudden urge to write every story that popped into my head was a big change.

But I sold every short story I wrote to two small publishers of erotica. Very small—we're talking a penny and a half per word. Yet, because someone wanted to pay me for my fiction, it was then that, in my mind, I finally became a writer. Did that mean I wasn't a writer all those previous years?

Well, that's complicated. I hadn't been a writer in that I hadn't actually created any fiction to speak of. But I had been a writer in that I needed a life of my own before I could create other lives—stories—to fill my hard drive and provide a little extra money.

No, I haven't found "my body" yet, which for me means I can't support the family with my fiction yet. I'm still on the road, searching. But even if I never find that body, I wouldn't trade my journey for any other life. Because I am a writer.

On your writing journey, remember that what happens along the way can be more important than the goal, whatever that goal may be. Yet, without that goal, without a body to search for, we might never leave our own back yards and create anything. We need both, the journey and the goal, but it is the journey takes all our time. The goal is one moment, an endpoint. It's really the journey that counts.

Thanks for reading, and best of luck on your own journey!

Alice in Shtuppingland is Barrie's latest book, here's a little teaser for you all...

Alice in Shtuppingland
Seventies slacker (to use a word not yet invented) and aspiring writer Alice moves from Virginia to Boston, with nothing but her intelligence, sass, and a MasterCharge. Within weeks she's accumulated a shared apartment, a job, and an assortment of friends that you'd expect to find on the other side of the looking glass, from crazy-assed musicians to writers to pro dommes and call girls. Not to mention the two very fine men who take turns in her bed: the strong-willed, intelligent George, who finds Alice by turns endlessly fascinating and infuriating; and Doug, a hot wannabe journalist, whose past that holds a secret about his long-absent father, one that rips his and Alice's lives apart.

This rollercoaster, semi-autobiographical tale by Barrie Abalard takes Alice from helping her sister, Barb, escape abuse at home, to landing her first freelance writing job—with a porno mag—to a mission meant to help an assaulted call-girl friend which requires her to pretend to be a working girl herself. And the sex. Did we mention the hot, super-fun, crazy Seventies shtupping? In this coming-of-age tale, Alice finds that she doesn't always get what she wants, but, as the Rolling Stones sing, she usually gets what she needs.


Amazon Buy link to Alice

Barrie Abalard Facebook Page

Thanks for joining us today.  On Friday, I've got Saffina Desforges - swing in and say hi!

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