THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ENCOURAGED

"Who needs your old opinion anyway!"

“Who needs your old opinion anyway!”

My mother encouraged me to become an actress because it’s what she first wanted to be. She encouraged me to marry and have children because she wanted more of them. She encouraged me to be an artist because I worked as a specialist in black-and-white 19th century illustration adaptation application and she delighted in coloring the pictures.

But she never encouraged me to be a writer.

Perhaps that’s why becoming a novelist came later to me than most.

Even though I was steadily employed as an editor, columnist, and essayist for newspapers and trade journals most of my life, I never ventured beyond being a designer and freelancer until after my mother passed away in 2006.

Only then did I begin writing, Imogene’s Eloise;.

Wanting approval from unwilling parents might be the first obstacle every writer endures.

It quiets confidence.

But if you’re blessed with the talent, or possessed by the desire, or are willing to perfect the skill, you’ll  eventually begin writing to an audience of strangers and delight in their kernels of encouragement.

I publish this piece in the wake of my previous blog, When Bad Reviews Hurt Good Authors, and in light of being told that Amazon, with it’s 11+ million titles, doesn’t begin pushing a book until 50 reviews have been posted by verified buyers.

I don’t know if that’s true, or not. But let’s suppose it is.

Fifty confirmed reviews is a lot to ask of readers and expect for any book, especially when most of us abide by the standard ‘if you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all’ rule of etiquette.

The primary flaw in such protocol occurs when an author knows, or even suspects you’re reading her book. By censoring yourself out of kindness, you inadvertently, (1) contribute to author-angst and, (2) prevent a genre you enjoy from being recognized by the mainstream media.

Trust me when I say, if we’re ever to secure safe haven in all societies and attain the respect we deserve without sacrificing the virtues inherent to our culture, we need the attention and support of the mainstream media.

And, we need it — not just for the token gay spotlight of celebrities who can afford armed guard protection in public, walled estates in private, and a select circle of friends mirroring themselves — but for the vast majority of us who join in exalting those privileged few, while being baffled by continued anti-sentiment towards homosexuals.

Could it be that acclaimed lesbians and gays are elevated as the untouchable ideal, while we who are uncelebrated are seen as the ignobly real?

And, if so, isn’t it time we cease living in their illusory shadows by working to better define our own?

Before he died in 1882, the English author, Anthony Trollolope, insisted a novelist must —  through a framework of personal ethics — inspire readers to identify with a book’s characters and, in doing so, act in a manner that benefits humankind.

I might have failed in doing that.

While vigorously welcoming and greatly appreciating enthusiasm shown for my novel, Imogene’s Eloise, I fear the reviewer who settles on simply saying, “It’s entertaining.”

Yes, novels need to please, first and foremost.

I dare not hope for more.

And, yet.

I do.

I hope for a reader who will ponder both the obvious and the subtext in my writings and feel emboldened, or is healed of hurt, or resolves the past, or embraces the present, or is enlightened to the levity that life seeks as nourishment in order to survive, well.

Not that I won’t rejoice in whatever reviews I get!

And, not that I’m ungrateful for my 1.3 million ranking on a list placing 9.7 million books behind mine.

And, not that I don’t know in my heart, if my mom were alive today, she’d forego the content of Imogene’s Eloise in favor of the cover.

Indeed, it’s all encouraging.

#    #    #

Copyright by Marguerite Quantaine 2015


Were you encouraged to be a reader, or writer, or not?
Please share your thoughts by pressing REPLY.
I’m all eyes and heart.


http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O6BOB2M/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb
IMOGENE’S ELOISE: Inspired by a true story traces the unpredictable journey of a young woman living alone amid the political unrest and social taboos of Manhattan during the 1960s and early 70s, oblivious to her own feelings and those of others until being smitten by the sight of a stranger in town for the weekend whose name and number she’s prevented from getting. In trying to appear calm, she downs a glass of gin she’s mistaken for ice water, awakening the next morning in a fog — but determined to find that one person in a city of millions before time runs out. On a fast paced track towards an ending you can’t possibly imagine, Imogene’s Eloise challenges any doubt you might harbor in the existence of love at first sight and will fortify your faith in the promise of happily ever after.

Now in paperback & always at the KINDLE nearest you.
I urge you to take advantage of the 7 chapter free read to determine the caliber of my writing and worthiness of content before buying.

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12 thoughts on “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ENCOURAGED

  1. Elaine

    I read and wrote a lot as a kid, but don’t remember my parents encouraging me in either pursuit. My mother was pretty critical and anything I did wasn’t good enough.

    Reply
    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      I think the trick is to be who you are in spite of burdens and because on blessings, never the other way around, don’t you, Elaine? Finding the silver lining is often hard to find, but I’ve always felt it’s there if we dig deep enough.

      Reply
      1. Elaine

        Agreed. I’m old enough to appreciate that I’m who I am because of my past and since that can’t be changed, I’ll just do the best I can with what I have. Which is pretty good. And I meant to say before that this is a terrific post. Thank you.

  2. Lisa Hurt

    I have yet to read your book, although I am anxiously awaiting a moment when I can kick back and enjoy what you have to share. Your words and thoughts are always thought provoking and create such wonder in my mind. Your writings are not only funny, witty and charming but deep with the hidden gifts of life’s lessons. I have your book and am looking forward to the read.
    My mother never encouraged me in anything I ever wanted to do. Even now that I have written a few things and was blessed to have a few poems published, she is not interested in reading anything I have to say. She wanted me to take Wall Street to the almighty dollar and blocked every effort I made at going to the schools that I was accepted into offering environmental sciences. Saying it was a “basket weaving” profession. WTF! So, I chose firefighting, working in the ER, driving an ambulance, nude modeling, construction, farming, chef school and cooking. I think that the silver lining is the quality of life that I have lived by being true to myself and listening to my heart. I cannot even imagine what my life would have been like as a stockbroker.

    Reply
    1. Elaine

      We must have had the same mom! My interest in environmental science was considered “a phase.” Thankfully, I never outgrew it. Sounds like you’ve had a much more interesting life than a stockbroker.

      Reply
    2. margueritequantaine Post author

      You had me at nude, Lisa.

      Beyond that, I bet you would have succeeded on Wall Street but hated every minute of it. Success is what you and who you are. A person would have to be blind not to see that. And, what excitement! Yikes, fire fighting alone is something I admire and am awed of. We have that cooking bug in common though.

      Thank you for your kind words and assessment of mine. You best not start Imogene’s before ‘Terrain’ does because, I predict, you’ll have things you’ll want to talk about. Do enjoy. And, please, whether you do or don’t, remember that I’ll pay you $100.00 in real Monopoly money to tell me what you think.

      Reply
  3. dgm1952

    I really enjoyed your book and am waiting for the next installment. While I was around for most of those happenings such as Stonewall I had no knowledge of it since I grew up literally on the back side of the desert. Your story was eye opening and heart warming. I loved it. I am a poet by nature and no I was not encouraged to do much more than breath but I wrote and kept it to myself. Thanks for your work in blog and book.

    Reply
    1. margueritequantaine Post author

      How is it I didn’t know of you being a poet, ’52? I must be sleeping on the newsfeed! Thank you for your voice of wisdom and tenacity and courage. If all teachers were as good and dedicated as you, we might have someone in Congress with brains. Be well my friend!

      Reply
  4. sallybellerose

    It never would have occurred to my mom that a girl from out neighborhood (or for that matter a boy) could make a living as a writer, and as it turns out in my case, so far anyway, she would have been right. Finding a husband to make a living was even better.

    Reply
  5. margueritequantaine

    Not better, Sally. Perceived better, perhaps, but definitely NOT better (and Her and I are unanimous in that). As far as making a living goes, if opening readers hearts served as currency in this world, your mom would have egg creams on her face, by golly. (Sorry for such a delay in seeing this. And, many thanks.)

    Reply

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