Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers & Readers

MY BLOG POSTS COMMENT ON SOME ASPECT OF WRITING & READING.

The Ripening
The Ripening:
A Canadian Girl Grows Up

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Tillie’s grit and ability to face life’s challenges are inspiring, the seeds for later discovering her artist self. Tillie takes readers on a wild ride. Join her if you dare! "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Curva Peligrosa
Curva Peligrosa

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

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FLING!
Fling!

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

"Fling! is both hilarious and touching. Every page is a surprise, and the characters! I especially loved Bubbles, one of the most endearing mothers in recent fiction. A scintillating read."

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Freefall
Freefall :
A Divine Comedy

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" These fascinating characters will fill your imagination, defying expectations about aging, art, and what truly matters in life. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
All This
All This

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Indicative of the title, the poems in All This range from the conventional lyric/narrative that captures an intense moment of emotion, an epiphany glimpsed briefly out of the corner of the eye, to the more experimental. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
No More Kings
No More Kings

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

Each finely crafted poem in this powerful collection comes alive on the page while she traces the days’ journeys with a painter’s eye, a musician’s ear, and the deft pen of a poet.

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
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Writing for Love Or Money?

coins-948603_1920“Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for the love of it, then you do it for a few friends, and finally you do it for money.”  —Moliere

Recently, I’ve been struggling with this idea of writing for money. Moliere suggests writers are prostituting themselves if they write for money. But what of doctors or lawyers? Doctors charge patients for treating them, and lawyers do the same for advocating, things they’re trained and skilled to do? I’m sure Moliere had complex reasons for thinking this way about selling one’s writing, many connected to his era, economics, and his philosophy on life.

But when I read this quote, I felt a certain twinge, as if I might be damaging myself in some way, exploiting myself, or misusing a talent. Unfortunately, the writing that satisfies me the most isn’t lucrative—poetry and fiction. In these areas, if money is the main motivation then I’m not going to write as I need to; I’ll be writing for an audience primarily, not for what is bubbling up in my unconscious and seeking imaginative expression. I don’t feel that way when I write articles and essays, genres that can pay.

The word prostitution seems key here. Most of us think of a prostitute as someone who sells her/his body for money—who uses something intimate and vulnerable in order to live. What relationship does the body have, though, to writing, to words? Beckett may have the answer. He says, “Words are all we have.” In a way, our bodies are all we have, though I’m not sure we even have them, and words are as connected to us as our skin is to our frames. Words not only are all we have but, as Orwell understood so well, language forms us— informs us.

Does prostitution need to have a negative connotation? Couldn’t one have sex for money not just to exploit the body but to share it, to get close to another’s body, to have something vital to give? Sex may be the only way to give it. (I’m thinking of Moll Flanders, that wonderful 18th Century character, a prostitute if you like, but what a prostitute!)

Or maybe what Moliere means is that like a prostitute, a writer has something to give that is intimately related to his/her self. The problem might arise in our attitude to our body or ourselves and our customers. If we are doing it, sex or writing, only to exploit, only for money, then the behavior could be damaging. But if we approach this process consciously, we might not only do our best work, we also may stay more true to ourselves. It needn’t be an either/or proposition, as Moliere makes it sound, but both/and—not love or money, but love and money.

Your thoughts?

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Earlier, I too used to think as if I am sharing something intimate by letting my friends read something I wrote. Thanks for your thoughts on this. It helped

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