Nothing can match the joy I felt when I opened a brown box with no return address. Thinking about it now, I suppose I should have been cautious. Not me. I instantly ripped right into it.
An anonymous reader miraculously found the exact cup to replace my broken one. (See blog before last)
“There was joy in Mudville tonight.” Why did that quote come to me? Why did I say that?
I thought I had heard it before. It came creaking into my brain from somewhere. Oh, yeah, it was a poem. Junior High School.
As a writer, I became curious. I looked it up. The quote was in reference to a baseball player named Casey who struck out. The correct quote was “But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.”
As a writer, I became curious.
Who wrote something so long ago that had resonated with me on some level even today and stayed with me for more years than I want to count?
Ernest Lawrence Thayer. Born in 1863, died in 1940. Edited Harvard’s satirical magazine, the Lampoon. Worked on the West Coast in the newspaper era for the San Francisco Examiner, contributed occasional humorous columns to the paper under the pen name “Phin”–derived from a college nickname, “Phineas.”
Although he had poor health, he continued to write for the Examiner, much of his work syndicated by the Examiner.
DeWolf Hopper, a comedian/actor read his poem at the Wallack’s Theatre in New York City. That particular evening was a “baseball night.” The crowd loved it!
For years no one knew who Phin was, but in the early 1900’s it became clear the author of the famous poem was indeed Thayer.
As writers our work comes in many stages from many directions and inspirations, easing out into the public in many forms. And we may not know what people think of our work right upfront. In some cases, we may never know.
As a columnist for years, I received instant feedback. As a blogger, I receive instant feedback. But if you’re writing a novel, not so instant.
Thayer’s story can teach us one sure thing. If you’re writing and no recognition should ever come, would you still write?
If you are a true writer, yes.
So get to it.