Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Cult

The ever witty PBW has one of her give-away contests going over on her blog, to suggest a name for a secret publishing society.

But have you noticed how writers, writing groups, and writing take on some of the characteristics of a cult?

Usually a benign one I must hasten to add.

Writers are urged to do their "apprenticeship" in the grand manner of the Order of the Golden Dawn.
Initiation rituals are observed.
We must improve our craft before we can advance in the hierarchy.
Aspirants must learn basic spells and perform rituals set in coded language. Some writers are strictly ceremonial magicians, adhering to the rules set out in publishing grammoires.
Others are under the sway of charismatic leaders, whose every word must be obeyed.
Discipline is administered by devoted followers - who are alert to note any deviation from the roseate chorus of "Wow! Great! Awesome!"
Some writers fear falling under interdiction from the One True Path by writing in a different genre and may be cast forth as apostates.
There are competing sects and divisions within the magic circles - usually caused by alternate views on the Grand Rite for the high altar and other veils in the Temple.
Some believe there are secret signs, passwords and handshakes and other Keys of Solomon.
Some of those secret words are "query, full," and "agent," as well as "format, grammar" and "spelling," but they have complicated, hidden meanings only revealed to the initiate.
Outsiders think adherents are screwy, strange and possibly dangerous.
Any other rituals to add?

Note: Intended to mention this yesterday. Forgot to mention it yesterday. (Hate it when I do that. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.)
Flood continues her series of writerly interrogations. S.W. Vaughn provided a fascinating interview yesterday .


Flood said...

Yes, I have noticed this and if you know the secret hand-shake, I hope you'll tell me. Haha.

Thanks again for the mention.

MissWrite said...

That is too funny, and too true.

Flood, there is no secret handshake, everybody has writer's cramp so the handshake was dropped since whenever several members of a group conviened, it looked like a gathering of spastic penguins dancing.

MissWrite said...

Oh sorry, I meant seals.

S. W. Vaughn said...

All right! I've always wanted to belong to a cult. :-) Great post, Bernita!

There are also those secret coded messages (rejection letters) that only the top level members understand, and initiates just know there is some hidden meaning they can't figure out.

Yes, as Flood said, thank you for the mention. It was a blast doing the interview (thank you, Flood!).

Erik Ivan James said...

The initiation fee is a 50 gallon drum of Preparation-H.

MissWrite said...


Bernita said...

Works either way, Miss Write.

It's the calloused finger-sign, Flood, and the handshake looks something like they are each holding a pen...

Sorry I didn't mention it yesterday, Sonya.
~pleading the tired old excuse that it was early...~

Preparation H, Erik?
Here I was thinking ...vaseline...

Dennie McDonald said...

That's so funny - I never noticed it before but now that you mention it.....

Scott said...

I could use to get into a cult like that. Know of any in the Boston area?

Bernita said...

The parallels are amusing, Dennie.

Sorry, Scott,( she said, dead-pan) retired from cult research a number of years ago. Never did get around to a cross-reference by geographic area.

EA Monroe said...

Ah!Ha! Just what I suspected -- a Conspiracy! ;-)

Bernita said...

Good one, E.A!

~ eyes left, eyes right, whispering~
"It's all a PLOT!"

Seriously, I am constantly surprised at the number of people who seen to think it is.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

No...we have a favorite finger wave....ROFLOL...!

Hey! Get you mind out of the gutter! LOL...I was talking about a 'thumbs up" *insert maniacal laughter here*

*smack*...did I say that! LOL! I'm tired and hot...my brain synapses are continuing to misfire in all this heat!

Now I don't even know what my original point was...oh, point...yes...I'll sit down now and just drink my iced coffee *sigh*

Robyn said...

Caffeine must also be ingested at every opportunity.

Bernita said...

Hot everywhere. Bonnie.
Yes, the finger circling beside the temple is indeed a recognition signal.

Right, Robyn. The sovereign elexir.
Heard that initiation includes testing applicant's tolerance with a funnel.
No drinkee, no thinkee.

Jeff said...

Is there an application to fill out or do you have to wait on an invitation? :)

Bernita said...

Some claim one must join chapters, crit groups, attend conferences and other formal ceremonies, Jeff.
Oh yes, and buy the Holy Books of the Order.
I think basically all you have to do is show up with pen and pages in hand.

MissWrite said...

I think you got that right, Bernita... although the pen is optional. All you need are the pages. Really, really good pages. Those will get you to the elite members area really quick.

For The Trees said...

Bernita, I'm very, very sorry to tell you this, but it's true and I know you'll thank me for it later:

Your blog post comments sections are far, far better than your posts.

Sorry, just wanted to let you know. Maybe you could open up your posts to see who'd volunteer to put one up for you?

Seriously, you're getting it down to an art. I'm beginning to think you have a REAL winner here. Now all you need is several people to nominate you for blogger awards. There are enough of those floating around that you ought to win almost every one, except the one for "Most Convoluted."

Yours ain't.

Hugs, and thanks for all the fish.


For The Trees said...

That was a devious way of saying that I know the handshake AND the High Altar Ritual, but I'm not telling.

It involves Doing It Yourself. For All The Right Reasons.


Bernita said...

Forrest, I am well aware that the kind people who post here are far better bloggers than I.
Still, it is not polite to rub my nose in it and then make fun of me.

M.E Ellis said...

Yes, I agree.

When I decided to write 'seriously' and joined my first crit group I had no idea where to send my 'stuff' to.

I asked on the forum, and those in the know replied, 'Find out for yourself like we had to.'

I found that spiteful and big-headed, so made it my mission on that group to research and put up a list for people like me, those who 'didn't know'.

Makes me laugh, as those who told me to find out for myself, now put links up regularly in the new crit forum...


Bernita said...

Snotty bunch, Michelle.
Yes, that must-protect-the-secrets-of-the-order behaviour does fit, doesn't it?

M.E Ellis said...


Like I always say: Millions of people out there who like to read, millions who write.

Room enough for everyone.


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