Monday, July 1, 2013

The Tale of Three Writers: With Much Apologies to J.K. Rowling

Once upon a time, near dusk, the only time of day when all writers are truly awake, three writers were walking the path to a preferred pub where they frequently bought drinks for each other until they were able to write. This evening, the three writers crossed paths with a famous writer, the most famous actually (yes, J.K. Rowling) and they nearly spun themselves in circles, vying for her attention.

Soon it became apparent that Ms. Rowling did not wish it known that she was traveling about in the neighborhood; and the boldest of writers offered their collective silence for help from the most famous of writers, something for each of them to help their careers. Ms. Rowling unwillingly agreed to such a bargain and asked the first writer what he most wanted.

“A pen!” he cried. “A pen that never runs out of clever, wonderful stories, so I will be a writer forever.”

Ms. Rowling seemed reluctant when she reached into her pocket and drew out an ordinary Bic blue pen and handed it to the writer. The writer didn’t even bother to thank her, but immediately began writing in his notebook.

The second writer paused thoughtfully, then asked for an award, proof that he was wonderful, the best of all writers. Ms. Rowling gave him a key that she said unlocked a cupboard in the second writer’s bedroom.

The third writer stood for quite some time, but finally asked Ms. Rowling to give her the best thing a writer could ever ask for. Ms. Rowling looked at the writer for a long moment, then handed over a lidded box. Then, having granted each of the writers with their requests, Ms. Rowling disappeared into the evening gloom, unmolested.

The three writers agreed that there would be no pub drinking tonight and each parted their separate ways. The first writer remained where he sat, writing in his notebook, unable and uncaring he was in the elements, because he could only writewritewrite. He did not take time for food or rest…or even basic shelter, and he died there under the tree during a snowstorm, his pen still writing.

The second writer went home, key clutched in hand, and opened the cupboard in his room that held his treasures. This time he touched ribbons and awards that were new. Writer of the Year. Best Book of the Decade. And many more, but the most precious of these awards was a small golden plaque, showing he’d written the best book in his genre, ever. The second writer went to his writing desk to begin work again on his current WIP, but found he couldn’t write. Nothing he put on the page compared with what had garnered him his awards. He sat at his desk, waiting for the right words to come, the words that would outshine those he’d written before. They never came.

The third writer went to her writing nook and opened the box. Inside were pages and pages of blank lined paper, smelling of wood dust and ink, the best smell in the world outside of books. She stared at the paper for a moment, ran her fingers over the pages, and never questioned what Ms. Rowling meant by giving this to her. The best thing indeed for any writer is a blank page because only on a blank page could anything happen. The third writer took out her pen and began writing. She’d send Ms. Rowling a thank you card after.

So…what would you rather have: the pen that never fails, the awards that never fade, or the blank page? I have to admit, I’ve longed for the first two more than I should admit.


Maureen said...

Ah...the blank page! And I have so many right now! The futures so bright, I gotta wear shades!

Maureen said... really want me to write a review of that food book for tomorrow?

MsHellion said...

You are a wealthy, wealthy pirate, Mo, no one's ever doubted it. *LOL* I have two books read qued up (I just haven't written them) but if you'd like to write a book review and save it as a 'Save Hellie's Ass File', I'd much appreciate it. You never know when you can use a book review or spare blog.

quantum said...

The parable of the three writers. LOL

It makes me think of Richard Feynman accepting the Nobel prize.

"He did not want to receive the prize because he thought that the theory was its own prize, but accepted it because had he refused it he would have gotten even greater publicity."

I think he might have had tongue in cheek when saying that! LOL

Terri Osburn said...

What a fun blog. And I could see the shadowed, animated figures as I read it. I don't like to write by hand, so I wouldn't choose the pen. And I already feel a load of pressure without the awards, so that's out too.

That leaves me the blank page, which makes sense. Except right now I'd wish for those blank pages to be magically filled to The End.

MsHellion said...

Quantum, I do adore the cheeky lads! Probably because I'm so cheeky myself. :) Though cheeky or no, I'm sure he was right. It would have been a much bigger brouhaha if he hadn't accepted the prize, et al...though, who WOULDN'T take the prize? Hello. How many of these prizes do you think are being awarded you can just turn it down?

MsHellion said...

Terri, I'm not sure I was meaning to be quite literal about the pen--only that it was supposed to be a long time ago (assuming JK Rowling existed a long time ago)--okay, so it was a universe that had JK Rowling but no computers. That can exist right?

Whatever, you still picked the right answer. The pen would have likely commanded you to tell the story in a way you wouldn't agree with and wouldn't let you change it--which I think is one of the bigger hazards of the magic pen.

You'll get those pages "magically" filled...with your hard work and discipline. You're doing great, even if you're not convinced yet.

Marnee Bailey said...

I admit, the pen that just keeps moving would be nice. Okay, fingers that just keep typing. At least some of the time. The times when I feel totally story constipated? Those are times I could love some extra help.

But this is why you don't force wishes out of unwilling wish-granters.

It's a good parable though. But if I saw Ms. Rowling, I doubt I'd be coherent enough to ask for anything, not even an autograph. These writers are way more composed than I would be. :)

Maureen said...

I swear, given a fourth choice, I'd ask for good luck.

Janga said...

I love the parable, Hellie, but I think I'd say no, thank you to granted wishes. They always seem to have a sting. I don't want any words but my words to keep flowing. Since what I write is not "marketable," I don't consider awards. And I have an abundance of blank pages already. If anybody has a tenacity pill that I could take with my daily meds, I'll sign up for that.

MsHellion said...

Marn, yes, there is something to be said for having a wish granted from someone you didn't manipulate horribly to get. *LOL*

And no, not a bit composed would I be. Or coherent. Or possibly conscious since I think I would have passed out.

MsHellion said...

Mo, Luck is a big part of it...and probably the thing JK Rowling would feel she's equipped to share with other writers. *LOL* I'm sure she thinks she's a fine writer and spun a good yarn...but you know she knows she's lucky with how Harry Potter came about and embedded itself in the world. :)

MsHellion said...

Janga, I--and several other pirates--beg to differ about the "marketability" remark. We'd buy your book in an instant if you'd put it out there and allow us to read it. :)

Tenacity is as important as luck...and more important, likely. *LOL* You have to have enough tenacity until the luck shows up.