What’s happening at the Library?

Published 9:00 am Saturday, February 11, 2023

By James Gardner

Clark County Public Library

Writer A. B. Yehoshua once said, “The most difficult and complicated part of the writing process is the beginning,” and writing about Freelance Writer’s Appreciation Week has made me see the truth in that quote.

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Hopefully, this is a good enough beginning. And if not, I can always revise.

I will admit that when I saw that Feb. 6 began Freelance Writers’ Appreciation Week, I thought this topic would be as easy as falling off a bicycle onto a log (maybe reverse that?) because I have some personal experience with writing. There are a few collections in the library with some of my work (keep in mind, they are horror collections, and I should hope the stories I wrote for them are at least a little scary). I have a blog where I do my own horror reviews (bewarethescarylibrarian.blogspot.com), but I’ve also written many online reviews for “Library Journal” as well as for the website “No Flying, No Tights” (www.noflyingnotights.com), which focuses on graphic novels.

However, as I think about the definition of a freelance writer, I admit I don’t think of myself as one. A major reason why I don’t refer to myself as a freelance writer is I only make a little money from writing. Most of my contributions are free; for those where I get money, it’s enough for a good-sized combo meal at any reputable fast-food establishment. When I think of freelance writers, I think of people putting in hours at the keyboard, fingers hammering the keys until a fully-formed story is created, one that will hopefully earn enough to make rent or buy groceries. And once that story is sold, it’s on to the next one, repeat until death or Stephen King-level fame.

Those writers deserve appreciation for toiling and typing when the goal seems far away. Those writers may have sacrificed time with friends, moments of relaxation, sunlight, etc. to feed an ambition that even writers like Kurt Vonnegut say make him feel like “an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.” I know I’ve felt like that many times, and I’m guessing that any writers, whether you have shelves full or your works or are looking to make that first sale, know that experience as well.

I personally value the input and tales of other writers just as I value the writing resources here at the library. Just head down the nonfiction side and look for the call number 808 to see the books we have about writing, from “The Handbook of Freelance Writing” (808.02 PERR) to “The 3 A.M. “Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction (808.3 KITE). There are books that help you explore your favorite genre, like horror author Tim Waggoner’s “Writing in the Dark” (808.3873 WAGO), and books that let you find the right word, like “The Emotion Thesaurus” (808.3 ACKE), which I find useful when I run out of ways to say “frustrated.” The library has a lot of resources for writers of all talents and resumes, but for any writers who feel that the need to create is becoming a burden, remember that I totally understand. As mystery author, J. A. Hennrikus says, “though the act of writing itself is solitary, being a writer requires community,” and the library can be a part of that community.

That’s a good quote. It’s staying in.