The Meaning of Life… and Some Stuff About Me as a Writer

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I read this last night and it blew my mind:

“Write the novel you want to read.” -Toni Morrison

Write the blog you want to read.
Be the author you admire.

Confession time:

The books that give me the most pure, happy joy are Llewellyn books. I lovey dovey wovey them. Whenever I get a new one, I open it with glee. Those are the books I REALLY look forward to reading. And I do want to write one—to write several. I want to write articles for the almanacs. I want to write columns for Pagan and witchy mags. I want to write stories loaded with my offbeat theology but in the funnest, pulp-fiction-est way ever. I want to write happy, funny, meaningful books that inspire people to do fun, lighthearted stuff in their own lives thereby enhancing their individual spirituality. I want to write sweets and bonbons because sweets and bonbons are the deepest things, really. Chocolate has all kinds of antioxidants in it. A smile can heal ailing organs.

On the highbrow end, I love odd literary stuff too, like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, A Clockwork Orange, and, my all time favorite, The Tin Drum. Maybe the time will come when I write something like that, but if I do, it will be because I found a character in whom I joy who just happens to fit in that kind of world. I cannot state more adamantly how much I DO NOT want to be part of the literati and how intensely I DO NOT want to be a part of academia even though people have been telling me my entire life that that’s where I belong.

Really defining what you do and do not want to do is one of the most freeing things ever.

The meaning of life is not how many dusty tomes you bury yourself under, or how “right” you are in your grand esotericism. It is not lording your well-studied righteousness over “fluffs” in order to make yourself feel superior.

The meaning of life is to be happy. That’s all.

That’s everything.

If wearing rainbow pentacle jewelry and bouncing glitter wings while waving a mass-produced plastic wand makes your cup runneth over and your juju spark, good on you. If burying yourself in dusty tomes makes you truly happy—like a one-year-old clapping and squealing over her first birthday cake happy—then go for it. That is not the witch/mystic/writer I want to be.

On Friday night I found a company that sells the most adorable witch dolls. They are called The Witches of Pendle. I would love to buy every single one of them and hang them all over my office. I want to have dusty altar stuff on my desk. I want a shelf full of Llewellyns. I want a hand-written planner full of spells. I want incense smoking while I happily clack away at my keyboard knowing my audience will happily clack one day when they read what I’m writing.

I have most of that already. More will come with time and hard work. Lucky life is like that.

-M.

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About M. Ashley

Essayist and poet, my work has been rejected by some of the finest journals in America. Fortunately, it also gets accepted from time to time and has appeared in equally fine journals such as Word Riot, Inlandia, Brew City Magazine, and SageWoman among others.. In 2002, I was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize for Vanderbilt University. For no good reason, I possess an unnecessarily dark humor which is why being third generation California Inland Empirian delights me so. My gods are weird. I once received $350 for writing a smartassed essay on “why the wise use of water is important in my daily life”. I am undoubtedly the Greek god Hermes’ special snowflake. I’m pretty sure I got into college via a series of fortuitous clerical errors. When I had to grow up and get a real job, I decided against it and stayed a writer. I have worked many odd—and I mean odd—jobs to support my habit: Commercial writer for country music hopefuls, resume massager, WalMart fitting room attendant and switchboard operator, telephone psychic.
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