Writing woes and Decomposition @ Link Wanderlust


In this series  called Link Wanderlust, we look at pieces of wisdom about writing and publishing.

I came across this piece by Shelley A. Leedahl– The Unemployed Life of a Professional Writer at The Literary Hub. Shelly asks a perinent question: “If I am succeeding professionally, as publication credits would imply, why the devil am I having such a difficult time financially?”  She is the author of four books of poetry, three short story collections, a novel, a children’s book, and essays.

Shelley chronicles her attempts to make a living as a freelancer and radio advertising copywriter. She applied for six jobs every day as she couldn’t make ends meet. It’s heart wrenching that someone who writes like she does should have had to go through the humiliations of financial ruin.

Isn’t this the situation of many writers world over? Shelly brings in empathy for writers with this piece. For solutions, self-help books seem like a better bet. There has to be a way that writing can become more financially appealing as it is a craft and not a reason to be poor.


Language can never tell all- always some element of what you want to convey is lost on the page or the spaces between it. Dobby Gibson has expressed this disappearing act of language in a very engaging style in the essay Decomposition as a Spiritual Value in Poetry featured at The American Poetry Review.

“A word is elegy to what it signifies” wrote Robert Hass in his poem Meditation at Lagunitas and sure enough Gibson jumps to another reference as though to illustrate how fleeting meaning can be. He talks about a Korean delicacy kimchi- made out of the ferment or decomposition of vegetables and spices. Meaning can only be obtained from this fermentation or breakdown.

“Turning back to poetry, we can begin to see decomposition at work nearly everywhere. Decomposition can contribute to form. Think of Dickinson’s dashes. Williams’s white space. Saroyan’s deleted vowels, Komunyakaa’s ampersands. We can see revision as a process of decomposition. We draft the poem, and then we revise the poem, un-writing the original. We break a poem down and recycle its constituent parts. We drag a squeegee across the page and the poem we never intended to write —the better poem—reveals itself to us, or so we always hope.”


Are there any links on the web that have enlightened you in a literary way?

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