Today I'm thrilled to host the brilliant author Pamela Sisman Bitterman to "Open Mic Monday". Cue the spotlight...drum roll, please...let the talent shine!
I am always so pleased to be asked to participate in open discussions about writing. No question ours is a vocation, or avocation, that implies tremendous commitment, invites humbling disappointment, and although holding the promise of unparalleled triumph, instead habitually delivers crushing rejection. I don’t expect many of us get out of the game without being the hapless recipients of each of the aforementioned experiences. And yet we keep on keepin’ on! It is precisely this slightly irrational dedication that sets us apart from the masses and affords us our claim to our creative edge.
I am consistently proud to be considered a member-in-good-standing of so illustrious a group. However, it is not a celebration at the finish line that defines us. It is in the trying itself where we unite and excel. The journey. We call ourselves writers. We aspire to be authors. We obsessively persevere because we all know that only by quitting have we truly been beaten. And although there is never a guarantee of success - quite the opposite, in fact – we continue to give it our all. What is not to be proud of in that?
Another admirable aspect of our chosen profession is that we come to it from extremely individual places, varying levels of technical preparation, unique personal backgrounds, myriad disciplines, a multitude of approaches and personally motivated expectations. We are all intrinsically different. As varied in our skill sets as we are in every other demographic that seeks to define and segregate us. We run the gamut, much as our art does. And that makes us collectively a pretty fascinating bunch! Weird, off-putting, bizarre, outrageous, groundbreaking, envelope pushing, risk-taking, convention rejecting, establishment questioning, leap-of-faith leaping are all character traits we writers proudly assume or aspire to become. Well, at least I do! Otherwise, aren’t there countless unquestionably easier paths we could take? Though easy was never a term I was told I should expect to be able to use to describe the road down which a writer will travel. And for me, that has been one of the most compelling draws.
My own writing journey is a three-fold process. I search out a challenge, a cause, an adventure, and I jump aboard. Then I write about whatever develops, hopefully with honesty and insight. I feel I have to earn the right to tell the story, and am then obligated to commit to print what have become my truths, warts and all. The adventures emerge as my greatest life endeavors. Composing and completing books about them then becomes an added defining monumental exercise. The getting them published part? For me, that effort is counterintuitive, antithetical, goes wholly against my grain. I basically hate everything about it. However I recognize that in today’s overwhelmed writer’s marketplace, it is a necessary evil. Nonetheless, “getting published” definitely takes a distant third on my personal triumph checklist. Once I have arrived at this point, I am already convinced that I have won. I have lived. And I have written. Win - Win! What some publisher or agent somewhere, who is understandably more concerned with his/her bottom line than he/she will ever be with my story, thinks about any of it is entirely secondary (tertiary?) And, for better or worse, that is my writer’s truth.
My first book, Sailing To the Far Horizon, published by Terrace Books a Trade Imprint of The University of Wisconsin Press, my own story of life, loss, and survival at sea is graphically biographical. It encapsulates me as product of the first thirty years of my life. It is published in hard cover, and will soon be released in paperback as well as digitally. A translated version titled MOT SODERHAVET has been published in Sweden by NORSTEDTS, NAUTISKA BIBLIOTEKET.
Muzungu; A-frican Lost Soul’s Reality Check, my Travel/Adventure/Memoir of an unlikely escapade throughout Kenya picks up on that journey a couple decades later.
I have also written an award winning (CBC GOLD MEDAL WINNER and SHARP WRIT BOOK AWARD FIRST PLACE WINNER) children’s book titled When This Is Over, I Will Go To School, And I Will Learn To Read; A Story of Hope and Friendship for One Young Kenyan Orphan.
Finally, I penned a homily entitled, Child, You Are Miracle, published by World Vision.
Links to these, plus PR Events, reviews, and trailers to my three published books can be found on my website: www.pamelasismanbitterman.com
My writing has emerged amidst my travels, adventures, and finally my marriage and children, my persona as wife and mother – the heart of me; my best self.
I have two new works presently in the cooker; a children’s book about make believe, tentatively titled “Where Do You Go, My Darling?” And a nonfiction/memoir about a life titled SHE.
My future remains to be seen, and to be told.