I feel guilty when I don’t participate in charity publications. The first book put out at My Writers Circle was published a couple years ago soon after I joined. There had been several threads with short stories or flash fiction written by members. We were playing around with a mythical place we called The Station.

Writing for fun? Writing for a purpose?

The Station is a place where fictional characters go to relax when their Bosses, aka authors, aren’t using them. We played around with the concept and had several stories ready to go before someone got the bright idea we could publish them. Proceeds went to charity.

Mark and I somehow got roped into preparing the stuff from the threads into something ready to publish. We were the editors. We didn’t do much editing, really. We corrected spelling mistakes and made sure the punctuation was correct. Still, it was an arduous task and took up lots of time.

I was unemployed at the time and thought it was fun because I was working with and around writers and I would see a dozen of my shorts in the book. So I didn’t mind the time involved. I wasn’t really doing anything else.

Next I was asked to contribute to a book that would be put out later that year for Christmas. We had a different charity to send proceeds to. I was once again roped into editing but this time I was working with Mairi. Still a lot of work. I wrote one story for the anthology. I worked longer on editing other people’s stories than I worked on mine.

I guess this is the place to mention I am a story teller. When I write a story, I tell it. This is bad. Writers aren’t supposed to tell a story. They are supposed to show a story. I’m not supposed to say someone cried. That is telling. I’m supposed to show someone sniffling while wiping away the tears so you can figure out they are crying.

This irritates me no end when I’m reading a story. I can see in my own mind what crying is all in one word. Sniffling seems to me as much telling as the word crying but for some reason this wordiness is supposed to draw me into the tale. Since I hate to read stuff written like that, I don’t write like that. It is wrong. So my story written because I was begged to submit a story got some “feedback” about my telling instead of showing.

The next book put out was for a cancer benefit. My friend, someone I had known as a co-writer for Really Good Quotes and the person who sent me over to MWC died quickly after being diagnosed with stomach cancer. MWC solicited stories and published a book with proceeds benefitting cancer research at a hospital close to where our friend lived. I just donated money to the place. I didn’t participate and I felt badly about it, but my type of writing isn’t “correct.”

Then there was another Christmas anthology and lately they have decided to put together a book to benefit the people devastated by the flooding in Australia. MWC is a worldwide forum and many of our members are from the Land of Oz.

I have not contributed anything since the first Christmas anthology. I always feel a bit Scrooge-ish when I don’t participate. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. I can’t write without telling. I tell stories. I usually tell my history stories and that works well. I’m not supposed to show World War I or the first time this or that happened. I’m reporting on something from the past. I tell about it.

There has also been at least one poetry anthology produced, but no one bothers me for a poem. That’s not what I do. And I don’t have even a twinge of guilt about it. (I have won a poetry contest at MWC and I even won a short story contest once. And Mark was nice enough to include a poem I wrote in answer to a poem he had written over on his website. But all my poetry is unpolished and non-layered and not really up to standards.)

I don’t mean to sound all Bah! Humbug about it. I feel guilty. I also feel like anything I submit may be included as a mercy type thing or be asked for rewrites of something I didn’t particularly want to do in the first place.

I’m glad my fellow writers are willing to do all this work. The people writing the stories really don’t do much in the great scheme of things. The person, usually Mairi, who puts it all together has a much more time consuming job. I am grateful for all her work. I’m also glad I had the good sense to take myself out of the editing process after the second go around.

No one is pressuring me for stories, but I still feel guilty about not writing them.

 

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