Liberating Your Book From the Sculpting Stone

Since Elizabeth Spann Craig lives in North Carolina, I'm including a photo I took there on my cross-country road trip. This is the modest view George Vanderbilt had of the Asheville countryside in his Biltmore estate.
Since Elizabeth Spann Craig lives in North Carolina, I’m including a photo I took there on my cross-country road trip. This is the modest view George Vanderbilt had of the Asheville countryside at his Biltmore estate.

Michelangelo believed the art of sculpting was liberating existing art from hiding. I cite that belief in a new guest post on the remarkable blog by Elizabeth Spann Craig.

Titled “Allowing Your Book to be True to Itself,” I share a story familiar to longtime readers of The Artist’s Road, namely the years-long process by which an effort to write a journalistic account of my cross-country U.S. road trip interviewing musicians, visual artists, writers and other creatives shifted toward memoir writing. The result was Committed: A Memoir of the Artist’s Road, as well as occasional bouts of agita.

I believe all creatives are seeking to liberate their art from metaphorical stone, and just like stone-carving, a lot of work and dedication is involved in the process. You also have to know what that stone’s composition is. Mine was largely fear of writing about others, and myself. My hope is that this guest post helps others to both better see the art they are seeking to liberate, as well as what needs to be cleared in order to reach that art.

And yes, I seem to be writing a lot of guest posts for others lately. It’s what folks like to call a blogging tour; since my book is about a real tour, I know how fanciful and wishful using “tour” with guest blogging is. But I have another one coming up on November 14th on the fantastic blog by K.M. Weiland called Helping Writers Become Authors. Stay tuned!

8 thoughts on “Liberating Your Book From the Sculpting Stone

  1. SO agree with this ideology!

    It’s definitely proved true with my current w-i-p, which may or may not end up being published; not far enough down the road to judge if it’s gonna end up good enough for that yet. Either way, I know in my heart I can’t start on anything else until this one’s completed – if this one doesn’t get finished I’ll probably never finish a novel ever. I can’t explain why I feel that way, but that’s just how it is.

    Oh, and I found your book in Kindle form today – woohoo! So I hit Amazon – and now The Preciousssss is MINE!!! 😀


    1. Congrats, Wendy! You are the first to alert me of the Kindle availability! My publisher told me today to keep an eye out for it. Thank goodness, especially since it’s been sold out in print form at Amazon for about five days now.

      I’m not keen on your “never” statement; that’s a word worthy of being purged from any creative’s vocabulary. I will say that when you get to the chapter with Michael Swanwick, who I quote in today’s blog post on Elizabeth’s site, he also talks about the fifteen years or so of writing he did that did not get published; he says he had to write all the bad stuff first.


      1. That’s okay, Patrick – the ‘never’ in my statement is moot, because I WILL finish this novel. *adopts steely-eyed, middle-distance stare of determination.*

        And then I will write all the other ones queueing up in my head. 😉

        It was a weird thing with the Amazon site, actually – I typed it in the Search box on my PC first and it came back with no results found – in ANY format. I was like “Whaaat? I don’t believe you, Amazon, you big fibber!” So I typed it in again about a minute later – and then it suddenly appeared as the Kindle edition. Perhaps I caught the actual moment it was first made available – wow, now I feel like David Attenborough!


  2. Interesting post Patrick. You have certainly come a long way in the time since I found your blog.
    Funny thing that, defining writing as such. A jumble of letters making up a set of words and some clever-dick decides to categorise them into a genre. A bit like hot lava spewing from a volcano and running down hill. Some lava finds its way into valleys and pools there, other lava moves ever-slowly further and further beyond its origin. The result is that hot lava can be harmless but also devastating, as it creeps into villages and beyond. It’s all from the same pot!
    I hate categories, they are suffocating, restrictive and only serve to establish a degree of collateral.
    Journalism is writing, reporting, non-fiction,biographical or whatever genre-monkeys wish to label it. What matters is that words are powerful and portray beauty, hate, love,colour, emotion and everything we do and say.
    I love the way you put-up your writing Patrick. You are un-afraid to be open and honest. This is what great writing is.B


    1. Thank you for this comment! Great metaphor there with the volcanic lava!

      I appreciate your support over the years as a loyal reader, and the contributions you’ve made here in the comments section. And I cherish you saying that I am unafraid to be open and honest because I agree; that leads to great writing.


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