KaBooM WritersKaBooM Writers

Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!

Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!


The KaBooM Writers Notebook: Our Blog

Writing and Time

This week has been a rich one for public events. On Monday Elizabeth Strout read from her Pulitzer Prize-winning story collection, Olive Kittreridge, at Centre College. Wednesday night contained both the inaugural Bryan Station High School Poetry Slam and the live stream of the National Book Awards, culminating in “the best acceptance speech ever given” by poet Nikky Finney

This morning I’m considering how time works in a writer’s life. I mean the span of time, not the daily increments that most writers have to defend. Ms. Strout wrote the work in Olive Kitteridge over seventeen years, a time segment that yielded two other novels. The exuberant and courageous students on the Bryan Station stage could have forty years to go before they might find themselves winning a National Book Award. Or sixty, if they are to be like John Ashberry who earned the lifetime achievement award. The writing life is for life. The writing life is a life. It is not a smooth climb up a ladder, though we all wish it were. Good work takes time and patience and faith. It is during the long slow path to possible grand reward that we deal with the daily portion of work we do. It is the daily work, the placing of stone next to stone, word next to word, that takes us to our destination.

Should we tell the young eager poets at the Bryan Station it might take decades before a first book is in print? Would any of us have set out on this arduous pilgrimage if we had known how many years would pass before we achieved a modicum of success? That thought daunts. But, if one truly loves playing with words, testing them, tossing them, catching, and grabbing the newest combinations, the freshest truest thoughts born of a startling arrangement, then yes, we do and will keep on playing, working–you choose–until we can no longer speak.

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3 responses to “Writing and Time”

  1. Normandi says:

    I just bought and recommend Nikky Finney’s book Head Off and Split. Her acceptance speech was magnificent. Lynn, I agree that it may take decades for even a modicum of success. I remember a time when I was learning my craft that I wondered if I would ever succeed and wasn’t it wisest to give it up right then. Then I remember thinking, I’d rather live as if I were the writer I wanted to be than to stop and wonder if I could have made it if I had continued. To those eager poets at Bryan Station, I say “Keep going.” Nikky would, I’m sure, say the same.

  2. Kit says:

    All I know is this — as an aspiring writer it gives me hope, considering my age and circumstances, that all is not lost. I love words! I hope to continue mincing, dicing and parsing them out until the keys fall silent. Congratulations to Nikky Finney!

  3. Leah Prewitt says:

    Quite a few years ago, I was accepted for the Tennessee Williams (better known as the Sewanee) Writer’s Conference, and had my work read and critiqued by Robert Justice. After some interesting discussion about particular poems, Mr. Justice asked me what I thought was an odd question at the time, but I’ve come to understand it better and better as life goes on. “What, ” he asked, “are your intentions toward poetry?” At first I was flabbergasted, and asked him to explain. “Do you intend to tinker around with her affections or do you intend to get serious with her and be hers forever?”

    Considering that even if you do get that book of poems published with the most wonderful publisher in the world you still have to keep you day job. And baring winning the lottery do what most poets do and keep a day job in order to keep the muse amused, made the payments on the laptop and find the time to be a poet. If you’re really lucky, you get paid to do it like Mr. Justice does at a university.

    We shouldn’t fill student’s heads with any false hold of making a living by writing of any kind, prose or poetry. Less than one hundred writers in the U.S. made their living from writer of fiction or poetry alone. But we should tell them – Boldly, Wildly, Strongly, Singingly, Lovingly,
    and Exuberantly, -that if you are called to write, then you must do it, for the good of your soul and who knows? maybe a million others.

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