Southern Scotch

Southern Scotch
After the Fall 2016

Friday, November 15, 2013

Meet the Real Reb MacRath Part 4

True confession:

I just learned a lesson about talking shop. One of my strongest supporters had sent me a note to say how fired up he felt about getting--soon--a beta readers copy of the new Boss MacTavin book.

Well, writing does get a bit lonely at times. And at other times, more than a bit. I shot back a cheery note about some live alligators I was wrestling with in the form of technical issues: sustained imagery, rhythm and pacing, etc. He sent back another note of playful exasperation: he had no idea what I meant by these things since he was a musician who read books because he loved reading. He wasn't angry or even upset. But he gave me an epiphany.

If I were to hear him play one day, I wouldn't need to know how long he'd worked on a song's arrangement...or how hard he'd had to train to reach a particular high note...or how he'd altered the song's bridge from major to minor to gain an effect. I'd know when I listened if the song worked for me.

And that's what matters, isn't it? In fact, the less we blather about the creative process, the better. No possible good can come from revealing the number of hours we spent on a book or the extent of our labors. The effort is part of our pact with the Muse. And secrecy should be a part of it too. We may have to pay in blood to make the final product seem natural and effortless.

But, all in all, art's worth the price. And the Muse makes a wonderful mistress.

So...let's all smile and shut the hell up.


  1. She's also fickle. Musicians, Writers and Artists bleed for her. We create from the heart with all the passion we can muster. The end result is always amazing.

  2. I, for one, love to hear what goes through an artist's heart and mind when s/he creates something that touches mine.

  3. This blog helped me so much, Reb! I am such an over-thinker when it comes to my writing. I'm always working and reworking my writing, wondering how my readers will respond to it. You have helped me see that it's not always about the process. In the end, what I have created is art, and it's a labor of love and dedication. I should feel proud that I accomplished so much. And yes, there will be people who absolutely love it and others who hate it. We just can't please everyone all the time. In the end, I realize that I write for me. I write because I need an outlet for my thoughts and feelings so they aren't so bottled up inside me. I share my writing in the hopes that it will inspire or help someone out there. And hey, if I reach only one person with my writing, it was totally worth all that hard work and dedication. Thanks, Reb!

  4. Felicia, I'll soften my position to allow sharing shop talk with those who I'm certain do want to know.

  5. Kelly, I'm glad this one helped you. Keep the passion and the discipline you already have, while being careful not to over-think or over-talk it while it's still in progress. Do that, and you'll be okay.


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