Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

The always-wise Richard Bausch

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Jan• 06•24

If you’re read my post from January of 2013 you might have rightly concluded that when January rolls around I’m usually simply tired while longing for snow and quiet. And what lies ahead in the new year–taking down my magical Christmas tree and decorations is one of my least-favorite tasks. So many delicate trinkets to pack away tucked into tissue paper. So many needles to vacuum.

It’s difficult to convey how much simple joy these seasonal enchantments bring me year after year. How small things like serving a meal on a Christmas plate is so satisfying. How gazing around at the little forest diaramas I’ve created fills me with pleasure. {I’ve been collecting  minaturee trees since the ’80s, think replicas of the Scandinavian variety.} How much I miss my sweet tree decorated with strands of gold stars and cranberry and gold  orangments once it’s lugged outdoors to be chopped into bits for the recycling container. I’m light candles as dusk falls to compensate for the missing spangles and soft tree lights.Try to appreciate how clean my house can be–it does afford a sense of a fresh start.

And don’t even get me started about sending and receiving Christmas cards. The past few years I haven’t sent them to everyone I intended and in early January I’m still trying to make amends as more cards arrive in the mail. Few things are lovelier than cards in the mail, right?  And since it’s the one time of year I allow myself to eat cookies I’ve baked like a greedy child {without going too crazy} I’m also bloated and thick-feeling. So the month is about setting things right, moving my body in new ways, and reaching out to old friends and family.

Might I add, typically as I start digging into my writing projects with anticipation. Which leads us to finding our mentors wherever we may.

Because what always sustains me year round is the wisdom and common sense of  novelist Richard Bausch. His missives on the writing life, on what it takes to create luminous prose, and how to sink into and trust the process always enlighten.  He’s written eleven novels and eight short-story collections. The Los Angeles Times has this marvelous article/interview with Bausch, “How Richard Bausch was able to stop worrying and trust his instincts.” The novel is based around a Memphis production of King Lear, one of Bausch’s obsessions it seems. Isn’t the cover marvelous?

I’m pointing out Bausch today because he’s a writer who has been transforming anxiety, loss, and pain into stories for decades. And teaching and reassuring writers for decades. He’s learned from the greats which is something we can all do even if we cannot hang with them at literary cocktail parties. {I’ll post more of his learned tidbits here this year.}

Let me add more gladdening news about Bausch–he’s writing a Substack column.

Oh, and a bit more good news here from the rainy Pacific Northwest–snow is in the forecast. Color me delighted and hopeful because our forecasts can shift faster than a pickpocket.

Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.