Loss: The Exact Reason to Read and Write

Given the times we live in, I’ve noticed more articles and books, for writers and artists, discussing the value and importance of pursuing creative endeavors, such as:

Keep Going

Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon

Your Art Will Save Your Life

Your Art Will Save Your Life by Beth Pickens

The Gift Lewis Hyde

The Gift by Lewis Hyde, first published about 40 years ago, re-released this fall

In the latest and final Glimmer Train bulletin, author Bret Anthony Johnston writes eloquently about the losses we’re all now experiencing—including the loss of Glimmer Train itself. (Its last issue has now been printed and sent.) He says:

[Loss] can make fiction—reading it, writing it—feel like an obnoxious waste of time. And maybe it is. … But what if all of this loss is the exact reason to read? To write? This is what I keep thinking; this is the rope to which I cling. What if stories are the light that will enable us to navigate the dark?

Read his full piece, Even in the Gathering Darkness.

As anyone who’s read Glimmer Train knows, it has been a publication with a singular and special mission, not once veering off-course. I greatly admire how its founder-editors have chosen their exit; may the light of their work shine for many years to come.

Posted in Creativity + Inspiration.

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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PJ Reece

Loss, indeed. Are we not everyone of us going to lose everything eventually. The impending ‘big loss’ is the most compelling aspect of fiction, in my opinion. Loss is the very nature of the “heart of a story.” Every good story. And to go farther out on a limb, here — what is the spiritual journey but discovering how to abide in each and every one of our losses on the way to the big one? John Keats called that ability ‘negative capability.’ What say ye to all of fhat?

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C.O. Shea
C.O. Shea

Glimmer Train was the first publication I stumbled upon as a newly retreaded civilian. Have I twiddled my nascent writing career into neutral over the past 23 years?

No. I refuse to mourn. I’ve just finished my first query letter, and synopsis in the past week. Though I never got around to a GT submission… the publication has been as much a tool of recovery as education.

From my upbringing in Oregon, to the courage to become a resident of New York state… Glimmer Train is in my blood. Thank you for the inspiration to keep living… keep writing.