Writing the Dream ed. Monique Mulligan
Serenity Press 2016 (I own a copy courtesy the publisher)
If I were to get a tattoo, I would get one that says 'Be The Tortoise'.
This is the title of a section in Guy Salvidge's essay 'Hard Travelin'' and it speaks to the importance of patience in any writer's career. For many who pick up this book, the lessons that taught Guy and his fellow essayists this patience will be all too familiar. Writing is rewarding and cathartic and beautiful and hard. It is the overall message of Writing the Dream that despite how difficult it may be at times, it is important to keep writing anyway.
Local indie publishing house Serenity Press has embarked on its most ambitious project yet with Writing The Dream and they have been rewarded with a warm reception from the writing community in Western Australia. Contrary to the twenty-four stories promised on the cover, Writing the Dream is actually a compilation of twenty-five personal essays on craft, on the path to publication, on personal heartbreak and many other aspects of what it means to be a writer. Those included in the pages of the book are at various stages of their careers and publish across a wide range of genres, so there is something for everyone. Perth readers will be no strangers to names like Natasha Lester, Deborah Burrows, Anna Jacobs and Juliet Marillier. While other names may not be permanent fixtures on bookshelves (yet), each writer has something pertinent to share and their stories are relatable. One of several 'aha' moments for me came from this line in editor Monique Mulligan's essay 'The Best Training Ground'
"I tried keeping a journal but it felt fake and shallow; I wanted my thoughts to be profound but something stopped me from sharing the real me, even on the pages of a notebook not meant for other eyes." (p.182)
While many of the stories were familiar to me-- such as the story of how Natasha Lester got her book deal with Hachette or the story of how Tess Woods came to write her first novel-- it was lovely to have these tales of real people realising their publishing and writing dreams chronicled in an anthology. This is the kind of book which will be kept on shelves in offices to inspire and cheer up many a disheartened writer again and again.