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- Teresa Reveals the CONFESSIONS OF A TRUE ROMANTIC
- CHRISTINA DODD HAS A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY
- Christina Dodd Exposes the Glamour of Booktour
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- Teresa Says It Loud and Says It Proud: I WRITE ROMANCE NOVELS!!!
- CHRISTINA DODD SAYS “IT’S CHRISTMAS! DUCK!”
- Teresa Needs Your Help to Choose the SEXIEST MAN DEAD!
A long time ago I read a great biography of Margaret Mitchell, the author of Gone With The Wind. As I recall, it took her four years to write her one massive, remarkable novel, and it started when she was laid up with a leg injury. She complained to her husband John that she had run out of books to read, and he challenged her to write her own. She set a goal of ten pages per day, hammered out on her manual typewriter.
I was amused to read that the only thing that hampered Margaret, or Peggy as she was nicknamed, was the occasional case of what she called “The Humbles.” Every now and then she would read a novel or poem that so overwhelmed her with its power and greatness that it rendered her incapable of writing for a few days.
I totally get that.
It’s an admiration of someone that leads to the dispiriting question “Why am I even bothering with this when someone else is this good?” And then, “Everyone should just go and read this book by Author X, because my work will never come close.”
However, by now I’ve accepted the fact that The Humbles will happen. I’ve learned to get over it and keep working, and all these little dents in my ego are probably not bad things to have. (In fact, someone with a shiny-clean untarnished ego is probably not someone you’d want to go to lunch with.) Besides, there’s a lot to learn from someone who gives you The Humbles.
There are many writers who can give me a case of The Humbles. Laura Kinsale and Judith Ivory are sure bets every time. They both have an unusual verbal sensitivity . . . an ability to shape language and use words in unexpected ways. It’s a sort of delicate, deep-cutting effectiveness that reminds me of a skilled surgeon, and can make me feel, by comparison, like a woodchopper with a blunt axe. So I read them knowing The Humbles will come, and go, and overall I’m better off for having read and enjoyed such accomplished work.
Who gives you “The Humbles,” in the field of writing or some other profession? Who is so great that you can easily see how they’d give other people The Humbles?
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