Inspiration & Perspiration:
Danielle Trussoni’s Newsletter
September 2021 Newsletter
“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” — James Joyce
Hello from the Writing Cave,
It has been a month of enormous changes for me (more on that below), but the first thing I want to address is some feedback I have had from one of my readers.
The name of this newsletter, as you probably saw in the subject line of this message, is Inspiration & Perspiration. It was taken from the Thomas Edison quote:
“Genius is 1 Percent Inspiration and 99 Percent Perspiration.” – Thomas Edison.
It is a quote that has inspired me over the years. A regular reader of this newsletter informed me that this quotation was didactic, and that he would rather see other quotations in my newsletters. I was surprised by his reaction, but he has a point. There are so many great writing quotes out there: why should we be stuck with one? And so I’ve decided to include a new one future newsletters.
I’m not going to discard Edison completely, however, because I think that this idea speaks to a fundamental reality of the writing life. Inspiration is essential for writing something original, but writing is mostly hard work. I didn’t know this in the beginning. I originally perceived writing as the opposite formula: I thought writing fiction to be 99% inspiration, being touched by a muse, or simply having a great idea would be enough. Part of me believed that a great book would simply materialize fully formed in my head and then, after a wild session of getting it down on the page– a bottle of wine at my side and dramatic music playing in the background–it would be ready for publication.
The reality of writing came as a shock to me. The truth of the matter is that I’ve changed my life around the rigours of writing. Sometimes it feels like training for a marathon. I must get enough sleep so that I can go to my desk well rested; I can’t drink too much so that a hangover won’t delay my work; I am careful about what I eat, so that I feel energetic and clear-headed. I say no A LOT. No to parties; no to vacations; no to events. There are hundreds of small choices that support the work. That is the perspiration part of the equation that I still, after many years at it, need to remember.
If you’ve been following me on social media, you’ll know that I moved to San Miguel de Allende last month. This move, and the time I’ve taken settling into my new place, has been the longest time I have spent outside the Writing Cave since December 2017 (when my daughter was born). It has been quite an adventure, and I’m happy to report that a new Writing Cave has been established. Here is a photo of my new desk. It will never be this minimal again!
In the weeks away from writing, I’ve been exploring San Miguel. This is the neo-Gothic church, the Perroquia in the center of the city.
My first major trip was on a bus to an Office Depot to buy a printer, which was an adventure, as I wasn’t sure of the fare, or where I was going exactly…
San Miguel is such a beautiful place, and while there are a million things to discover, I have become fascinated by the intricate doors here. Every home seems to have a gorgeous entrance.
It got me thinking about the Writing Cave. My new office is in an alcove in our new house (without a door for privacy), so I decided to make a folding screen from antique doors. I found these in an antique shop:
Here’s how they look in the Writing Cave:
While I’m excited to be living in a new place, I’m also excited to get back to work. The revision of my new novel is nearly done, and I hope to have news about its publication soon. Wish me luck as I dive back in.
Before I go, I’ll leave you with this stack of books a reader shared on Instagram. I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading lately and what you’re looking forward to reading this fall.
Thanks you for reading my work, and for being part of this group.
PS: I’d love for you to join me here next spring for my writing workshop. We will spend five days working on chapters and stories from longer works such as memoirs and novels, then celebrate at the end of the week with a cocktail reception. If you’re interested, please respond to this email!
If you’re looking for something sooner or can’t make it to Mexico, I have another workshop scheduled this month via Zoom with the Hudson Valley Writers Center. The theme is telling the story of your life and it will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, September 25th. For more information, see below and click here to register.