In the process of researching Russian history and language for Blind Stitches, I became acquainted with Anesa Miller, who has a background in Russian studies and creative writing. When I first visited her blog, her post “Drawer No More” caught my attention. To quote Anesa:
In Russian (one of my former professions), there was a saying in the days of universal censorship: “This one’s for the drawer.” Or, “He writes strictly for the drawer”—i.e., with no hope of publication. Even in the era of samizdat, a practice of illegal home-based publishing, writing for the drawer meant that an author was brave enough to put unflattering ideas about the Soviet system down on paper. Sadly, his or her readership remained limited to a circle of trusted friends.
In an American context, where being ignored is far more likely than being censored, writing “for the drawer” suggests the author has lost the will to keep seeking the golden fleece of publication. Given up on sharing his or her work with anyone, anywhere.
Anesa’s words immediately struck a chord with me. For anyone who has followed my blog since I started it over five years ago, you know how long it took finally to get any of my work published. What you don’t know—because I have always been very cautious about publicly sharing the nitty-gritty of finally gaining and eventually losing a publisher—is how I ended up self-publishing, that is, how I felt about my publishing journey, the highs and the lows. As I corresponded with Anesa and read more of her blog, I realized that although our publishing paths have differed, we shared many of the same feelings about our work and trying to get it out where it could be read and hopefully appreciated. Anesa has graciously invited me to her blog to tell about how I eventually found a publisher and what lead me to choose the path of independently publishing even while with a traditional publisher. If you are curious about my Inside Scoop, stop over at Anesa’s blog!
Interestingly, over the past several months as I corresponded with Anesa, I found out that she was on the verge of publishing her debut literary novel, Our Orbit, and by chance we ended up publishing the very same week. I’ve just begun reading Our Orbit, a novel about the conflicts that arise when nine-year-old Miriam—with a fundamentalist Christian background—finds herself in foster care trying to adapt to a secular lifestyle while struggling not to lose her connection to the past and her oddball and radical family. Our Orbit, captures the tension between modernity and tradition in the Appalachian corner of bellwether Ohio. Amid the conflicts of finely drawn and compelling characters, Anesa provides a glimpse of the spirit that binds us in our common humanity. I’m really enjoying this read. Can’t wait to find out how it ends!