Monday, December 1, 2008

Island Writer

Duke Kahanamoku & Babe Ruth ca 1930's (below)

If you want to be a writer, you should "go down" to London, move to New York, or "do" the workshops and postgraduate program at Iowa. . . the last thing you want to do is move to the outskirts of "civilization." Of course if you are FROM a culture far from the center, well then you are a multi-cultural treasure to be discovered, like the magical-realists of Latin America. But nice light-skinned middle aged ladies who report on "exotics," like Isabella Bird, are SOOO last century (or before!). I have never learned the knack of succeeding "conventionally" and so have all the advantages of absolute freedom. I write what I am moved to write. My "fish out of the East Coast" literary love affair with Hawaii has not been a matter of choice or calculation; it has been a compulsion. I write because I am. My little novel: "Aloha Where You Like Go?" demanded to be written. People NEEDED to see the REAL treasure of Hawaii and her people BEHIND the paradise illusions; I didn't know HOW, only that I MUST. I sure learned a lot! Now I have the pleasure of being a sort of literary duck-billed platypus: not a New York writer, not exactly a Pacific writer. But YOU don't care about labels, do you? I have discovered READERS and friends. There you are!

People who READ blogs are often writers themselves. So the friends my book has made, those of YOU who visit Comfort Spiral, who become "followers," and who comment, you have all given me a wonderful gift. I appreciate your attention, and the lessons I learn reading all of your words. Thanks for strolling along with me through my Waikiki and my life. Here are some quotes that I think express some "truth" about being a writer. Hope you enjoy them. Sales and ranking are not the measure of an author, I've learned. Hearts touched & friends made are a humbling gift indeed! Every reader is a living treasure. These days I feel very wealthy indeed. Mahalo!

"When I glance back at my prose, the quality I admire and fear to have lost is its exuberant air of slight excess." - John Updike

"A slender poetry volume selling less than a thousand copies and receiving a handful of admiring reviews can give its author a pride and sense of achievement denied more mercenary producers of the written word. As for bad reviews and poor sales, they can be dismissed on the irrefutable hypothesis that reviewers and book buyers are too obtuse to appreciate true excellence. Over time many books quickly bloom and then vanish; a precious few unfold, petal by petal, and become classics." - John Updike

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good you'll have to ram them down people's throats." - Howard Aiken


Akelamalu said...

"Sales and ranking are not the measure of an author....

Never a truer word spoken m'dear, as you have proven. :)

David Cranmer said...

THE BABE RULES! (sorry for that outburst but I'm a New Yorker)

Anonymous said...

Write what comes naturally for you. Why go against the grain? Writing is effortless when you keep that in mind.

Fida said...

You forgot to mention the writer who is not even living in the part of the world where they speak his or her native language. New York wouldn't do it for me, either :-) Not that I am not a writer, I just dabble in blogging, and in a language I never learned at that (and now I am too lazy). So, it must be either hard or amusing for a real writer to read my attempts of stringing words together, which, I am told, don’t even make sense at times. Anyway, I love reading your blog tremendously, and since I am a traveler (and not a writer) and plan - one day - to visit Hawaii, I must read your book. Edmonton Cowgirl's review on said so and mentioned that: "This unassuming little book is actually more informative than a guidebook." There.

Travis Erwin said...

As a proud resident of fly over country I know what you mean.

The Grandpa said...

It is you who have enriched our lives, Cloudia. :0)

John Steinbeck is supposed to have said: “I almost always write – just as I almost always breathe.”

Barbara Martin said...

Cloudia, sales rankings aside, I read what I like to read and your blog about Hawaii as it reels me in day after day to see what is new. Your style of writing is a breath of fresh air.

Sepiru Chris said...

Cloudia, I concur with Barbara.

For your sake, I am pleased that you recognize yourself as valued.

E-visits to your e-place are a pleasure.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i love what you say today - yes, some bloggers are aspiring writers, who simply write to pelase their readers, and do not expect to be paid for their efforts. i have made quite a few blogging friends in this way too!

Brother Tobias said...

Move to the cities and the workshops? Ha! Better to live the life than synthesize it. Stay put, Cloudia, and keep bottling those Pacific skies for us.

Charles Gramlich said...

The Aiken quote is the best. I wasn't aware that Updike's prose ever had any slight excess!

Linda S. Socha said...

What a lovely post! I am taken with the photos and with your writing stole. I have often dreamed of being an island dweller but have located in the south and now see this as home. Thank you for sharing this post. I look forward to coming to visit often.

Linda S. Socha said...

Make that writing STYLE!!

Gran said...

"I write what I am moved to write."

Brava, Cloudia.

Your posts are true, and fresh, and you. I feel the warm breezes when I read your posts, look at one of your pictures and I'm there, surrounded by beauty.

And that's why I keep coming back.

Cloudia said...

Ake: You are a prime example, Dear!
David: YO! Don't apologize!
Gigi: Thanks for sharing.
Fida: aloha Welcome! Hope you enjoy my book. Please come often!
Travis: You are a celebrity in our world!
Grandpa: Mahalo - but YOU are too modest about how you nurture YOUR readers.
Barbara M: You go to my head!
S. Chris: I love your unique blog & personality ;-)
M. Kiwi: Yes, friends like you are the prize of blogging.
Brother Tobias: Aye! Will do, Mahalo. BTW, yes, I ride a 1973 BMW/5 motorcycle. More like a powerful sewing machine than "vroom Vroom." Cultured!
Charles: Still javen;t figured out what kind of bike that is YOU are standing by in your profile photo; I assume it to be a custom built Harley.
Linda: Welcome! Glad you joined us. I look forward to seeing you and YOU work too.
Gran: Thanks dear. Your comments are like flowers that you give to me. See you on YOUR blog!

Dave King said...

The last quote is my favourite - definitely. So true yet so hard to believe.

I Ponder said...

John Updike, one of me fave authors. Thank you ! for your wonderful ponderings Cloudia