Sunday, December 6, 2009

The writer's "red badge" ~ by Donna Carrick

My imagination has been captured of late by the concept of ‘courage’ – that crystalline intangible that defines some authors and causes their words to reach us at the core.

What is it that characterizes some artists as ‘brave’, in a world where so many miss the mark?

Is it the refusal to shirk the truth? For I believe ‘truth’ is at the heart of all great works, even – no, especially – those of fiction.

Is it the author’s willingness to embrace ideas that are not yet popular, whose time is yet to come? Maybe it’s a brutal exploration of the past, either personal or societal, that lifts some books to that higher level.

If I, as a writer, aspire to write with ‘courage’, then I must first understand what exactly it is that marks a work as ‘brave’, ‘honest’, ‘cutting’.

Maybe it’s the shutting of one’s eyes as one writes – the feeling of one’s inner self surging forth onto the page…the screen…the world.

Perhaps it is nothing more or less than the writer’s willingness to fail or to succeed on his or her own terms.

To those great writers who have already earned this badge, I salute you with my heart.

Donna Carrick, December 6, 2009

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  1. I think so many writers see a trend and jump on the bandwagon. They know it's what selling. It takes a lot of courage to deviate from trends, especially as a commercial writer. But truly, the best commercial writers are the ones who set the trend. So, the question is--one I have been asking myself of late--am I willing to branch out and take a risk writing something that is yet untested in the current commercial market? It could mean months of work flushed down the toilet if it won't sell. Or, it could mean success. Am I brave enough? I hope so.

    Excellent post!

  2. Truth is where it's at. The best books hit at uncomfortable ones--uncomfortable to read, to write, to think about. Toni Morrison, Elie Wiesel, Shusaku Endo--how brutal are their novels, and how necessary?

  3. I think courage = belief.

    You have to believe in yourself, and the subject you have chosen to write about.