writing heartache

Writing is a Heartache

writing heartacheThe heart truly aches, swells with ideas that don’t seek expression as much as release. The pressure builds with every passing word — the gems of language and insight that we let slip, literally, from our fingers.

And when at last we hold them, mere butterfly wings, our hearts ache again. To be given the chance — indeed, the privilege — to shape and string them into words is to enter into an agreement not so much with our readers but with ourselves. We agree to let life touch us and let ourselves, like lovers, return the caress.

Beth Conny writes about the publish or perish phenomenon for her sites Write Directions and Lifenicity.

Publish or perish — A 2nd-grader’s perspective

Beth Conny writes about the publish or perish phenomenon for her sites Write Directions and Lifenicity.

2nd grade

One day while reading my 2nd grade Weekly Reader, I came across an article about a 6-year-old girl who had published a book of poetry. Because she didn’t know how, literally, to write, she dictated the poems to her mother. (“Yo, mom, take down this sonnet!) Voila! — she became a published author.

I don’t remember the girl’s name, I do remember thinking: “Oh no! I’m seven and I still haven’t published!”

Embarrassingly, I continued to utter those words well into my late-20s, when I began publishing steadily. Even today, I utter a variation of them: “Oh no! I’m in my middle years and still haven’t written the Great American Novel!”

If you’re a writer, I bet similar words have slipped into the conversations you have with yourself and others. Such words belong to the universal language of writers — to all creative people, for that matter. We are all waiting for deliverance.

But universal as these words may be, there is no strength in number. Ultimately, we writers stand — and sit — alone.

Sitting down to write is key. It is the only way to quiet the Muzak looping through our minds:

La-di-da. Publish. Perish. La-di-da. Perish. Publish. La-di-da.

And so I’ve learned to sit, to let the sound of my keyboard block the Muzak. And when that fails, as it sometimes will, I will stand, stretch … and sit again.


Grab the marshmallows!

Writer Beth Mende Conny writes about journals and journaling.I journaled for much of my teens/early 20s, and I swear I’m having a bonfire one of these days. Burn all my journals. They are painful to read. Not so much the remembering of individual experiences and/or people, but the repetition of my entries. Same old themes.

  • My tragic childhood.
  • No one understands me. I don’t understand myself.
  • Mitch, Les, John and other fill-in-the-blank boyfriends.
  • Write the Great American novel/lose weight/move to X, Y, Z.
  • I am depressed, lonely, anxious.

Hand me matches someone! Grab the marshmallows! It’s bonfire time.

Yet here I am, journaling via a blog. So the question is this: “Will I cringe years from now as I reread these musings?”

Which leads to another question: “Is there a way to burn blog posts?”

Bethville (population 1)

Author Beth Mende Conny, founder of WriteDirections.com, writes about what you can and can't write on your blog.

Welcome (?) to Bethville

For a time, my friend Sheree worked in my city, and sometimes she’d shoot me a text before her long commute home.

Leaving Bethville.

It always made me smile. It was a loving wave between friends, friends who saw each other too rarely.

But what also made me smile was the idea of Bethville. A city named after me! I could say and do whatever I wanted within its boundaries. Hear ye, hear ye: I declare myself mayor.

Which brings me to this blog —my Bethville. I launched it so I could write what I damn well pleased. Hear that publishers? Screw your dictates. And, you, English teachers, I’ll put commas my wherever I want, so ,,,, there ,,,, !

The only thing I didn’t consider when assuming office was that Bethville residents would read what I write. Read more

I’m engaged!

Author Beth Mende Conny shows off her engagement ring, marking her commitment to "engage" with the world.I am engaged! A startling piece of news, perhaps, coming from someone who just celebrated her 30th wedding anniversary. But true nonetheless, though not in the traditional ”I’m engaged” sense.

How to explain this one? Well …

I’ve been thinking lately (another startling piece of news) about the distance I create between myself and others, and how I sometimes think of people as distractions that take me away from …

Hell, I don’t know. I used to think it was writing; how every moment not chained to a desk or creative thought was a moment lost. But lost to what? And how to explain that I am finding people to be more interesting than — dare I say — me?

Yes. That’s it. I’m tired of my own company. Being removed feels too far removed. I want to engage with others.

And so, yesterday, in a crafts store and on a whim, I purchased this “engagement” ring. I wanted something goofy to remind me that it’s okay to put down my pen and hang out in shared space. To enjoy the company of family, friends, acquaintances and perhaps a stranger or two.

Next week, a wedding ring!


Beth Mende Conny's picture with her head in a book.My head in a book, a book in my head. Ah, the writer’s life.

I’m an addict

http://www.planetofsuccess.com/blog/I am an addict, addicted not to drugs or Downton Abbey reruns but to pens. I wake and reach for them. Gotta write, gotta write, gotta write. Catch that thought, catch that thought, catch that thought. Every morning. Every morning.

But why that thought? Surely there will be others, zillions. But there’s something about that one that compels me. It comes to me complete, wrapped in ribbon, straight out of the box. Perfect. All I’ve got to do is capture it. I need my pen.

To live is to create

Beth Mende Conny writes about the importance of creativity to our lives.Creativity is infinite, ever available. It seeks expression. It needs you.

But not just your great ideas. It needs you to rediscover the world; to clean its dusty corners and buff its dull surfaces. It wants you to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, to toss out your assumptions and expectations; to find a way, not just out but in.

It wants you to be lighter and younger, whatever your age; to look around each day and say, “Well, I’ll be darned!” It wants you to love and like and breathe deeply. To listen with your heart. To appreciate the incredible complexity and simplicity of life — and how it all boils down to this:

To live is to create. To create is to live.

So do not hesitate or fear or question the truth. Simply, live.

“Art of Words” exhibit

Writing is an art. And art is writing. That’s no play on words for me, as can be seen in my exhibit, “Art of Words: Illustrated Writings” (details below). It’s the first time I’ve coupled my writings and artwork. Where one leaves off, the other begins, giving greater depth to my work.

It’s been an incredibly creative process that began at Lowe’s, of all places. My husband was off buying tools, and I wandered over to the paint section and became enthralled with the paint chips. I gathered a bunch and began arranging them in my hand, as if they were playing cards. The colors were so vibrant, and I was hooked.

Hooked on bringing home dozens more paint chips every time I returned to Lowe’s. (A weekly pilgrimage for my husband.)

One day, I spread them all out on my desk, got some scissors and rubber cement and began collaging. I didn’t set out to accomplish anything other than to relax.

Over time, however, I discovered that my collages made perfect illustrations for my written meditations. (Many of my books, in fact, are meditation collections.) And so I kept at it. The results are what I will exhibit. Should you be in the Baltimore-D.C. area, please stop by. It would be nice to meet and share my work with you.

“Art of Words: Illustrated Writings”  —  Saturday, May 4, 5-9 p.m.
Cowork Frederick
122 E. Patrick Street, Frederick, MD