Wizard of Oz: Step forward, Tin Man!
Tin Woodsman: Ohhhh!
Wizard of Oz: You DARE to come to me for a heart, do you? You clinking, clanking, clattering collection of caliginous junk!
Dorothy and Friends quake and quiver and stare in respectful awe at The Great Wizard. The curtain hasn’t yet been thrown back to show who hides behind a great fiery bravado. But then, little rascal Toto rips the world asunder with his tiny sharp lil ol’ teeth.
Dorothy: It really was no miracle.
The magic and mystery is gone. Why, the Wizard is only a regular old man with a few tricks up his sleeve. He must come out of the shadows, show his true self (and all along his true self was wonderful indeed—he never recognized this as he built his trickful stage).
Sometimes it’s like this with writers—all the fire and booming voice and bigger than life image projected, hiding behind a thick curtain of enigmatic otherworldlyness. Or, it was like this for writers.
Now, with so much exposed, writers are pushed out into the world, blinking in the sunlight, their mouths in soft O’s of surprise, turning this way and that to some who stare at them and say, “Wait just a minute here—behind that curtain is just . . . you? What’s so special about . . . just you?” And like the wizard, the author then offers up gifts to show they really do have something more after all to give, and not just all the flash and thunder—what what? what they ask, what more? Our heart, Our brain, our courage . . . .
With the demands and pressures from industry professionals to make ourselves brands and to market ourselves and our work to compete with thousands of other writers and millions of other books, the author can no longer easily hide their most personal selves. The awed mysterious respect authors may have once enjoyed is now rare as people peer in at the levers and buttons and projected image paraphernalia: “What’s so hard about that? Anyone can do it!”
Wizard of Oz: A heart is not judged by how much you love but by how much you are loved by others.
I don’t know what it felt like to be an author during the High Wizard Times. My published-books experiences were after the Wizard’s controls were set to “off” and the fiery veil died down to embers. I’m more Dorothy than Wizard.
Of course there are sides and parts and parcels of me that I keep to myself. I struggle to keep my private life private in a world that no longer understands privacy. Or in a publishing industry that scoffs at it. (Your royalty checks aren’t what they used to be? Aren’t what you want, need, them to be to pay your bills, to survive, not to cry when you open the envelope? Well, whose fault is that, you lazy unmotivated Writer? Hmm? You made your private bed, now go lie in it.)
Open my books, I say, and I am an open book. My heart beats within and among and between the pages of my words and characters.
I give myself to you, my heart. Can’t my words be enough? (No! Now get crackin’ on doing the dance. You think you are special? Well, you ain’t.) Tha-rump, tha-rump, tha-rump.
Wizard of Oz: You, my friend, are a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate impression that just because you run away you have no courage; you’re confusing courage with wisdom.
Artists, actors, musicians, authors, athletes—all have had the Wizard’s curtain pulled back, leaving them vulnerable to speculation, observations, opinions in a way that is much more public and personal than ever before. *Frenetic Dancing Commences*
Sometimes we just need a little time to realize we are human after all. That we are who we are and why should we make apologies for it? (You want that money? Then stop whining, silly writer! Because you are a dime a dozen. We have plenty more to choose from. You got that? So market, brand, shout, tout, yell, scream, jump up and down, dance, dance, dance. Just do it or else you’ll fall into the abyss where all the other forgotten writers are.)
But I hide, often. I stop writing. Often. No flash. No thunder. Solitude. Serenity. Peace. It’s scary how right that feels. The Not Caring Any Longer About The Stuff Of It All. I’m back in my bed in Kansas, where it was all a dream.
The stakes seem higher now, the road longer, the expectations bigger. What’s a poor Dorothy to do? Nothing, if’n she don’t wanna. (We’re warning you!)
Scarecrow: Come along, Dorothy. You don’t want any of those apples.
Apple Tree: Are you hinting my apples aren’t what they ought to be?
Scarecrow: Oh, no. It’s just that she doesn’t like little green worms!
Follow the Yellow Brick Road. Follow the Yellow Brick Road . . . .
We’re off to see the Wizard, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
You’ll find he is a whiz of a Wiz! If ever a Wiz there was.
If ever oh ever a Wiz there was The Wizard of Oz is one because—
Because, because, because, because, because.
Because of the wonderful things he does.
We’re off to see the Wizard. The Wonderful Wizard of Oooooooooozzzzzzz . . . .
There will be a new day in the Land of Oz.
Meanwhile, our Dorothy dons her ruby slippers and turns three times: There’s no place like home; there’s no place like home; there’s no place like home . . . .
But even home has changed, for Dorothy has seen the other side.
And she turns, turns, turns never to be the same again.
But after all, is that so bad? It is neither bad nor good—it is life and love and hope and fear and trying again and getting up and going forward. Or paving a new road. (You’ve thrown water at us? We’re melting! Meeeeeellllltiiiing!)
Oh! Auntie Em! Auntie Em! We’re following another road! Where . . . where . . . where . . . where . . . where . . . ?