What I know . . .

by Pari Noskin Taichert

An idea is precious, more valuable than gold.
But if forced, new quickly descends into old.
The most brilliant spark can lose its glow
When edited too much, when pushed where it doesn’t want to flow.

Work each day, sit at the computer.
Grab and observe like an emotional looter.
Characters demand their stories be told.
The writer transforms into mother, teacher and scold.

When I’m tired and don’t want to open my heart,
The story shards. It falls apart.
Honesty has another price as well.
My struggles spiral through all of Dante’s hells.

The trends that flourish today
Succumb to the folly of the market. They fade away.
The writer must write what is strong, what is true.
Alas, publishers and agents might not see its intrinsic value.

We push and we shove to become a household name,
Often forgetting why we got into this game.
This isn’t a competition or an agonizing race.
We’ve become writers through an astonishing grace.

To tell a story, to be understood,
Brings a joy I never thought it would.
So, today, I’ll face my chosen task. I’ll hone each word with care.
Mindful, grateful, for this urge
The reader who is always there.


Note: Next week, I’ll be far from computers. Toni McGee Causey has graciously agreed to sit in.
I regret that I won’t be around to read her post — and won’t be in touch with all of you.

See you in May . . .

11 thoughts on “What I know . . .

  1. Louise Ure

    Lovely words, Pari. I particularly like “the story shards.” It’s amazing, isn’t it, that when you read a fine work of fiction, you think “of course that’s how this story should have been told.” You can’t see the seams. The decisions. The indecisions. The revisions. When it works, it looks like it’s the only way that story could have come together. In the meantime … just shards.

  2. Elaine Flinn

    “We push and we shove to become a household name, Often forgetting why we got into this game.”

    Well put, Pari – and I hope all the newbies and those ‘hoping’ pay heed. Elaine Viets’s stroke should be a wake up call…

  3. pari

    Good morning, you two.

    Louise,I’ve had many pieces shard because of — either too much massaging or not enough heart. It’s depressing to see your words in pieces on the ground. At least, sometimes, one or two will catch a bit of the sun’s rays and will be usable elsewhere.

    Elaine,Boy do I know what you mean about Elaine V. That one really threw me. I think that’s part of the reason I wrote that line. It’s so easy to lose sight of the original impulse to write, to express oneself as truly as possible . . .

  4. Elaine Flinn

    I see more and more new writers (and some less ‘new’) falling into a maniacal need to be everywhere all at once. They attend damn near every con, blog, and listserve. It sometimes makes me wonder what they’re really after – readers or personal fame?

  5. pari

    Sorry about that, Mike.

    Elaine,Don’t you think that people sort of equate the two? This is especially true at the beginning of a career — readers often buy a new author just because they “like” him or her as a person.

    You know I was guilty of that with CLOVIS; I felt I had to be everywhere because, otherwise, how would people ever hear of me?

    Word of mouth is so unpredictable . . .

  6. pari

    Elaine, I really felt like they were.

    Ah, it’s a slow day here at the ‘rati. I hope everyone is off writing, playing or otherwise having a nice time.

    I’m off to make dinner.

  7. pari

    Actually, I was thinking of something a bit schmaltzier like Gilbert & Sullivan . . . or even Rodgers and Hammerstein.

    Oh, well.

    Dinner was wonderful btw: salmon baked with ginger, lemon and scallions. Root veggie casserole (fresh beet, rutabaga, parsnips and carrots w/onion — even my kids liked it), and steamed chard. Topped it off with fresh strawberries, and, of course, whipped cream.

  8. Cindy

    I am a student of police science and criminal psycology. As a research project we were given information on not well known cases. My assignment was to gather information on the pantyhose murders.

    The information given me was that this occured in the early 1970’s. The victims were all university girls. The victims were all wearing micro mini-skirts and pantyhose.

    The killer would hide inside their apartment. As soon as the girl would step inside the door, he would grab them and place them on the bed. He would put a pillow over their face and began suffocating them. He would revive them and smother them three or four times over. One girl he suffocated for forty five minutes before killing her.

    After smothering the life out of his victims he would remove their pantyhose and keep them for a sick trophy. The girls were not raped. They were found fully clothed with the exception of their missing pantyhose.

    I was wondering if any of you mystery writers knows more information on this weird case? Cindy


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