Writers Need Writers. #writing #amwriting #community

I need other writers.

Sir Vincent Carrella

I met Vincent Carrella in line to register for the Napa Valley Writer’s Conference late summer 2001. We had  an immediate kinship and although we’ve not been able to see each other too frequently, we maintain that closeness. We share a great deal in terms of experience and sensibilities but our most basic connection is simply a shared desire to write–including the doubt that balances desire.

Vinny and I stay in contact through letters and social media. We follow each other’s blogs. We don’t talk as much as either of us would like. Wrapped (warped?) in our busy lives, we crave the  transmission line of the creative space.

A few days ago, we spoke on the phone for the first time in perhaps five years. Why so long a break? I don’t know. Life. But when I heard his voice, it was not simply a friend I was talking with, but someone walking the same narrow path between creative expression and creative despair. There is no need to explain doubt to a writer.

On this blog, I write about my doubt and my non-writer friends and family react to the despondency with alarm, concern, or uplifting “go-get-em” inspirational quotes. They often tell me not to take myself so seriously. I need writers like Vinny for the simple reason that they understand. Vinny and I spoke for about 45 minutes. Toward the close of our conversation, he said, “If you ever need reminding, just call me and I’ll remind you that you’re a great writer.”

Do I think of myself as a great writer? Of course not. I think of myself as a competent writer or, on my better days, a good writer (it’s amazing how brilliant the average person deems a merely competent writer), but it’s nice to know that if I’m in the midst of doubt, struggling with the fear of the blank page, there’s a writer in California willing to tell me that I’m great at my craft.

Writers need writers for that type of fleeting elevation that allows us to return to our work, to the lonely job of trying to get the words on the page to match the images in our head.

Thanks Vinny, for being one of those writers who elevates, for continuing to attempt each act of creation, for putting pen to paper despite the enormous odds against it all, and for being a part of my writing life. Here is a link to Vincent Carrella’s wonderful blog: Serpent Box.

Here is the image of his powerful novel. It will knock your socks off. You can buy it here: Amazon. or here: Powell’s


3 thoughts on “Writers Need Writers. #writing #amwriting #community

  1. I am in tears, wondering why I deserve the blessings God has bestowed upon me. He must have a brilliant plan for my future. My past is so filled with screw-ups and stupidity that I cannot understand why so many miracles are happening to me now. You are one of those miracles Clark. What an honor you have given me. All I did was tell you the truth that you are too scared to recognize for yourself. I understand that too. Self-doubt is not just the province of the writer. It’s the affliction of anyone on the path of truth, anyone who chooses vulnerability and honesty over a disguise. We both know what that means. We’re unmasked now. When one chooses to share his heart and bare his soul as you have done, when one chooses this life, what we call writing, it requires more courage than we think we have. It challenges us to see ourselves as we truly are. I believe that a writer is a person who feels deeply and endeavors to explore those feelings externally, with words and a structure that will convey to a complete stranger an inkling of what he understands as truth. But the misconception is that this stranger is an audience, a reader, when in fact that stranger is ourself. There is only one reader whose allegiance and understanding we must win at all costs – the reader within. Lose sight of this and you will go astray. We need no confirmation or affirmation from strangers. But those who love us, and who know our hearts, can sometimes give us everything required to keep going. In regards to your writing, listen only to those you love.

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