Dear Readers

It has been a good week. Three colleagues and two friends have just happened to mention how much they enjoyed this blog. There is nothing like feeling appreciated to cheer me up.

If you paint, you can always hang your work on your wall or give it to friends. If you sing, you can enjoy your own voice even in the shower. Writers seem to need readers to make the activity seem valuable.

I have written seriously for about 45 years. The first ten years were tough because I would send stories out and they came back with nice rejection letters. Then I sold a novel and it was never published. It felt so close but even though I could taste it, I never got there.

During those ten years, I learned to tough it out in the face of rejection and I learned my craft. I was not happy and I did not get what I wanted from writing but, in retrospect, I know I wanted much more than to be a successful writer.

Now I know I wanted the moon with a red ribbon on it and, what’s more, I wanted to get it by telling the world how sensitive and unhappy I was. That was a path that may have worked for a few talented souls – Dostoevsky and a couple of others  – but most writers find it is an alley that leads to a dead end.

I wanted too much from writing. I wanted to feel good about myself. I wanted to be proud of myself. I wanted to be recognized by others as a valuable human being. I wanted to see myself as a valuable human being. Most of all, I wanted to be loved.

I did eventually get to love myself and take pride in my work but I didn’t get there by complaining. When I got sober, I returned to Science of Mind and I found a new voice as a writer. I became very purposeful and successful. I wrote 80 books for teens, both fiction and non-fiction.

If you read them, you may find bits and pieces of me in them but mostly, they were about kids’ dreams and what they could learn along the way. The one that sold the most was about a girl who used visioning and hard work to become a cheerleader. The one I am proudest of is about a girl who was a slave during the Civil War and escaped to go North.

The non-fiction was about anything from how to be a teenage model to the building of the atomic bomb.

I know I was a writing success in the outer world. What can be more successful than being on the NY Times best seller list for 30 weeks? I also know I am very fortunate that I was immersed in Science of Mind and a 12 Step program or I might have been lost again. I needed more than writing success to get what I wanted in life.

My 12 Step Program taught me about gratitude, being in service, and the value of a supportive group. I learned the wisdom of knowing the difference between what I could control and what I had to accept.

Science of Mind built on that wisdom and helped me achieve my dreams. I learned that life was not a struggle but a joy, and that I had intrinsic value as a human being.

The books that I wrote after I became a Religious Science minister brought me much closer to my original aims of loving and appreciating myself.  Science of Mind Skills combined my deepest beliefs with my ability to teach others. It is still selling very well and I think it now qualifies as a classic.

Wise Women don’t worry, Wise Women don’t sing the blues, felt like a big risk but it paid off. I began each chapter with a small scene from my own life and then I used that story to tell my readers what I thought women needed to hear.

I think it was with Wise Women that I really found my own true voice. I let my readers know I was an alcoholic, that I’d had a very peculiar childhood, and that I’d had some early heartbreaks. I also told a bit about the eleven year affair I had with a married man. Those little vignettes certainly broke the mold of what I thought most people imagined a “New Thought minister” should be.

I was glad I took the risk. I was happy the book was received so well. I was thrilled by the number of women who attended workshops and weekends over the years.

In retrospect, I am proud of all my writing. I am even proud of those ten long years when I persevered in the face of rejection. I still love to say, “I used to write for the New Yorker …but they didn’t buy.”

Which brings me back to this blog. I would like to have many more readers and I am proud of the ones I have. The real joy of this adventure is that I write whatever is on my mind. I am happy when others tell me they find it valuable. I’m always pleased when people take the time to write a comment. I love feeling connected to a wider world.

People’s lives change and my goals have modified and grown saner in the last 45 years but I appreciate it when someone pays me a compliment. We all want to  feel valuable.

If you are reading this, please know that I value you very much. Thank you for being in my life and I am glad I am in yours.

Ask Yourself

What makes you feel valuable?

Do you want to forward this blog to anyone?


12 Comments on “Dear Readers”

  1. Carole Cramer Stohr says:

    I particularly enjoyed this post, Jane. And, it was just what I needed right now to give me a motivation boost to be more consistent about my writing. I have had so many wonderful teachers in my life, but you are the one who taught me, by example, to be an outstanding teacher. Thank you.

    • janeclaypool says:

      Hi Carole,
      It is a pleasure to hear from you and a pleasure to have you say I helped you become a good teacher. I think the thing that makes our organization so great is that we have wonderful classes, as a matter of course, in every Religious Science center. And I think the best teachers I’ve ever had were Religious Science ministers. Keep up the good work in every area of your calling, most especially your writing. It takes some courage to write a book but one trick I use is to imagine an ideal reader and keep a memo of that person on my desk. I usually pick someone like my sister-in-law who is smart but doesn’t know much about our teaching. That helps me automatically choose the right tone and vocabulary to avoid jargon and keep it simple without making it pedantic. Anyway, I wish you God speed with all your projects.

  2. Linda Finley says:

    As always, you inspire and you teach. I have started to write a number of things… and I believe you give me the courage to continue. The “dialog” between author and reader is an interesting one – and I cherish the chance to “be with” you as I read your words. Thanks for all you do!

    • janeclaypool says:

      Hi Rev. Linda,
      I thank you for your kind words and want to encourage you to write your own unique wisdom down in your own unique book. The process is much, much more simple and very rewarding.There are readers just waiting for you to share what you know.

  3. I always like your style because inject yourself into the blog. re; friends, birthday, your pass 12 step sort of a female bill moyers meta physician type dude-ette

    • janeclaypool says:

      Hi Robert,
      Thanks for the kind words. It is nice to know you are among my fans. And while it is difficult for me to imagine being in Bill Moyers’s league, I get it about the down-home dude.

  4. KayFay says:

    I always enjoy your writing and thoughtful comments on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness! You are very uplifting and positive and have been through some of the things I have experienced in my own life. The Twelve Step Program and AlAnon saved my life and I have incorporated into my daily ritual along with reading your blog.

    • janeclaypool says:

      Hi KayFay,
      Yes, I credit 12 Step for much. It is an absolutely amazing thing for two men to have come up with and to see how well it works all over the world, saving lives through peer support and the help of God. I remember early on, being in a meeting and having this blissful feeling wash over me as I thought, everyone in this room wants the best for me. I think it was my first real step in realizing that I live in a friendly universe. So even though I don’t think we’ve met – you and I are great friends. I thank you for your support.

  5. Laurinda Nikkel says:

    Hi Jane,

    Jennifer just forwarded your blog on to me. We just spend a few glorious days together in Hawaii for our birthdays and we spoke of you and how much we would love to get together with you again. I am thrilled to know about your blog and will be a regular reader to be sure. I miss your wit and wisdom and always find it in your writing even when we don’t have the chance to talk. Sending lots of love.

    • janeclaypool says:

      Hi Laurinda,
      Happy birtday! I miss you and your beautiful music at church. I think we should get together for lunch very soon and thanks for the kind words.

  6. Judith Churchman says:

    Dear Jane,

    I have always enjoyed your writing. I used your Science of MInd Skills and loved the exercises you suggested to students. In your blog article I find you always say just the right amount – not too little and not so much that you get redundant. I feel respected as a reader – valued for my time.

    Since Bob and I have just retired, I look forward to reading the books my peer ministers wrote. I was always too busy running the administration of the church and reading text books for classes I was teaching. Those books are packed right now, but I will find them eventually.

    I am also seeking to find my voice as a writer. Again, I always felt too busy as a pastor. I did join a memoir writing group, and probably have enough for a book. It did not feel purposeful
    though, to just write my story. I love the format of your Wise Woman book. I may use that as a model to find my voice to write a spiritual help book. I hope that is alright with you. It is said that imitation is a form of flattery.

    Love always,
    Judith Churchman

    • janeclaypool says:

      Hi Judith,
      Of course it is fine with me if you use the format I had in Wise Women don’t worry, Wise Women don’t sing the blues. It has worked well for me as a way to “make it real”. Self help that is simply advice doesn’t cut it and I really had no interest in just writing a memoir although memoir’s are very popular these days. I am certain you will find your own path now that you are going to have time to write more. It is exciting to be living in a time when so many of us are getting books out there. Both Carol Carnes and Maxien Kaye have had good success with their books in the past year or so. I am almost ready to publish a new book on Spriitual Practice and rewrite my women in new thought history. It is a lot of fun if you don’t torture yourself and when you are ready, I’ll be happy to read your book and make suggestions. If you want.

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