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March 13, 2012


Jeffrey Marks

SJ, how nice to see you here!

I don't know how other people feel, but I have to say that reason number 1 why my relationship works is because he *isn't* an author. Spending so much time in my head and in the business would be multiplied if he was an author too.

Laura Jones

Hi SJ,
I enjoy your books very much, and I love what you wrote here. My mother always said a person's greatest need is to be understood. Only writers or and certain other artists understand the process of trying to understand. You put it so well. Thanks. Cheers.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Ah, SJ...so lovely to see you! Someone once described writers' conferences as a meeting of 200 people who'd rather be alone.

In my day job as a reporter--I'm surrounded by noise and chaos and people. When I write at home, I much prefer the quiet. But whether I'm reporting just-the- facts, or making it up, I still am searching for the "why."

Your Bartok notion is fascinating..thinking about that now.


Welcome, SJ. Thanks for blogging with the Femmes. You've captured something here that's true for so many writers. Years ago, when I lived in CA, there was a screen/tv writer strike. Once, on the news, they interviewed a man on the picket line, who said he didn't mind spending a little time on the picket line because it allowed him to catch up with friends he rarely saw, and he described writers as "friendly people who live monastic lives." He either said nothing more about it, or his other remarks didn't make it on the air, but I've always remembered that quote because it resonated so strongly with me.

Marilyn Yanke

SJ "The process of trying to understand." is trying to understand how someone "sees." This "seeing" is what throws you a curve ball just as you think you've got it.
My solitude, can't do without it, but interaction with a "process" person is the balance... Internet connection is filling a big gap for me. Thanks for a great post.


SJ, thanks so much for blogging with the Femmes Fatales!

I think you nailed it: since we so often come to writing from other disciplines, conventions and panels might be among the few moments where writers can get immersed in our own culture. We learn, yes, that is a common problem, and here's how to solve it; yes, there are words to describe what you're trying to do; or, I don't know--ask the elder if she has that lore. Those moments of community are welcome, because sometimes the artistic and analytic gaze we work so hard to develop emphasizes the aloneness of this job.

SJ Rozan

Thanks for the warm welcome, all! Glad to know the problems of trying to understand are understood. I think this tension between being alone and being with others will never be resolved for any of us. It's no doubt one of the many facets of the artist's life Martha Graham, the great choreographer, was referring to when she said, "No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time."

Charlaine Harris

I feel that way in church, SJ, though that may sound odd. I'm an Episcopalian, and I know that in churches all over the world other Episopalians are saying exactly the same words at nearly the same time I am. It's community of a different sort. For someone who spends most of her time alone, it's a great feeling. After I come home from a convention, I realize how many times I don't even talk about what I do because it would entail too much explanation before I could even start.

Mary Saums

Thanks so much for being with us today, SJ. I like writing in coffee shops too. Maybe it's the caffeine but I get more done and have better focus than at home. I'm more out of myself when surrounded by strangers and so the work is more its own self, if that makes any sense. I do love the idea of group Bartok listening. :) Some of those BBC programs, when ordinary people are interviewed about birdwatching or strange weather in the village, give that community feeling too.

SJ Rozan

Charlaine -- not odd at all; I think in large part, that's what religion's for. I'm not observant, but I get that same feeling at my sister's house on Passover -- that people all over the world, connected to me by five thousand years of history, are doing the same things at the same time. It's comforting. We're hard-wired to need community, from our days on the African plain, when to be alone was not to survive.

I know what you mean, too, about not even starting to talk about what you do. Sometimes it's not so much a matter of people's understanding as of something larger. Often people who aren't writers have this picture of us and how we spend our days that's really part of their own fantasies about what their days would be like if they weren't trapped in their mundane lives. That our lives are mundane, too, in different and not-so-different ways; that our work is WORK, not effortless, continuous, creative joy; that we feel bored, fed up, anxious, and unsatisfied -- that being us would not rescue them -- is something a lot of people don't want to hear. For which you can't blame them, really.

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