Maggie Shelton

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My Shout Box
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Apr 5th

 

Maggie, I struggle with this all the time. I sometimes wonder if living in Norht America intensifies this feeling of never being good enough and never having done enough. There is such an emphasis on output and success rather than output as the result of a process of being creatively busy. The reception to my writing has such a different quatlity to it in Belgium. It is as if people there honour any little gem you contribute. Here the unspoken question always seems: yah, but are you known? At the same time, this mentality here has me pushing myself far beyond my limits. 

I find it hard, at times, to come to rest in the knowledge that I am a writer by virtue of the fact that writing is to me like breathing, and like my heart beating. I fall far short of being a "success" and yet I work at it all the time and I am known a bit. But how do you quantify that? I am working on not putting that on myself. I study writing, I talk writing, and I constantly edit, and hope to so improve my stories. In doing so I sometimes lose the joy of it, the sheer joy of just sitting and being involved in the process because I get trapped in quantifying success. Then I get together with my writing buddies at Vocamus and we talk literature and the blood flows freely through my veins again.

So here is my present philosophy of writing: I write because I have to and so do many others. This is the pool from which greatness is born. Sometimes one of us rises and succeeds. Sometimes I manage to create something that others recognize, and sometimes it might even have "success". Most of the time I labour in obscurity and so do most of us. What matters, though, is that all of us keep writing and that we rejoice in any greatness that can come from this. Without this swirling pool of writers the art would die and that would be the real tragedy.

Then there are the days when I wail and raise my fists to the heavens and cry why not me. But you know, the other day I checked in with Duotrope because I use it to keep track of what I send. A little red line appeared on my page with the following words: You have more than average success in getting your work placed. And I thought: good grief. I hardly get anything placed. It really humbled me. So I will lower my fists and put a smile on and get back to editing that story. 

 

Apr 5th

Ah, Maggie, your poem in your profile moves me! Why do we do it? Good question, isn't it? Loved your answer. You made my day. bieke

Mar 21st 2016

Hi Maggie

Thanks for the welcome.  I guess I am just at the starting block.  I will soon find my way around the site.

Jan 18th 2016

Hi Maggie. A big welcome from me as well!

Jan 18th 2016

Hi there Maggs - so fabulous to have you here.

Welcome to my Profile Page.
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my profile. I believe those of us who have spent so many years abroad see the world in a fundamentally different way. This has brought me many blessings, but at the same time left within me a sense of loneliness and a deep sadness that I could not connect with people who shared this perspective. Then I joined More Writers Abroad and discovered not only a community of expats but also writers! I’m so excited to again be amongst such friends. I hope I can offer to the members of WA what I know I will be able to receive.

I spent my childhood and young adulthood in Nigeria, Brazil, Ethiopia and Iran. After raising our four children in California, my husband and I moved to Mexico to live and then later split our time between Arizona and China. We presently reside in Arizona but fly our Cessna airplane back and forth to our second home in Baja, Mexico frequently. We are both pilots and have owned small airplanes since the 1980’s, which we’ve used to explore the Western United States and Mexico.

I’ve been writing most of my life while making a living as a business owner. My non-fiction has appeared in travel, family, women and flying magazines, trade magazines for the dry cleaning and laundry business as well as newspapers, all in both print and on-line. My fiction, usually in the form of short stories, was published in various anthologies and magazine, also on-line and print. Two of my short screenplays were used in the Beat the Clock IFP Phoenix 48 Hour Film Challenge, and I enjoyed moderate success in selling a self-published book entitled “The Red Lacquer Bridge”, a historical account of a Japanese settlement in Los Angeles County at the turn of the century.

Family is important to me and ours is never dull. Our oldest son married a woman from Mexico, our third son a woman from China, and our daughter married a first generation Italian-American. Our second son married an American woman who speaks fluent Spanish and had taught their two sons the language also. As a result we have six bilingual grandchildren and a mix of languages always provides a lovely background at our family gatherings.

These days I divide my time between my day job, family, writing and getting in some blue-grass and folk music jamming when I can. I was one of the founding members of More Writers Abroad, later known as Expat Writers, and I am so pleased to become a member of Writers Abroad. I look forward to getting to know everyone here and contributing to this fine group of authors.