Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Another Country Heard From

Maybe I’ve been wrong during this fallow period.  I’m always saying that writers don’t retire.  Annie Dillard doesn’t agree.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

What I Know

Before I begin writing what I want to say today, I’d like to ask you not to comment that I’m lucky with the career I have (I know) or it can still happen (it can’t) or I should be grateful, or accepting or any of those things.  I am.  I do.

Many people have written me to say they like my honesty.  So that’s what I’m doing here.  I’m being honest.

On Amazon they let you have a wish list.  This is my writing life wish list.

I wish I had Ed’s productivity.  Janet’s energy.  Sue’s popularity.  Mary’s name recognition.  Dan’s money. And most of all I wish I had Laura’s career. 

There was a time when it looked like I was going to have some of those things but it never happened.  I believe it was because of the choices I made.  And a little bad advice.

I believe I’m a good writer.  Not great. But Good.  And that should be enough to have some of the things I’ve enumerated. In fact we all know of bad writers who have some or all of those things. Timing and luck are a big part in this hellish game we play.

I hear about the new upcoming writers and I read them.  Some are damn good.  I wish I could be part of them, in their grade, their class, so to speak.  But it’s no longer my time.

Twenty years ago I was in the class with a bunch of new writers.  Some became household names others are like me and still others can’t get published anymore.  They’ve disappeared.  Some should’ve disappeared, others not.

I know the breakthrough book isn’t going to happen for me.  That’s okay.  I had my chance.  Now, despite my wishes, which, by the way, are for the forty year old me, I don’t have any idea if I’ll publish again.  Or write again.  I’m inclined to think I’ll write, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be published. That’s not okay.  But there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

I hope the next book I write is good.  Still, it won’t be the kind of book that’ll make me a household name or bring in loads of money.  That’s okay, too.  I want whatever I write to see the light of day and make back the money I was paid. At this point in my writing life that’s all that’s important. 

Am I committing publishing suicide by writing this?  Maybe.  But I’m still naive enough to believe that if I write a good book whatever I say here won’t matter.

And one more time:  I’m grateful for the career I have.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Still Crazy After How Long?

How long has it been? I don’t know. It seems like months. It is months? Huh. Actually it seems more like a day. That’s how much I’m enjoying it. It being not writing.

We all know that if I write again it won’t be this summer. That girl is still around and occasionally whispering in my ear. And sometimes I hear other things on TV or radio or even from the women I go to Curves with. And sometimes I write them down. But spending my time reading and watching movies seems to satisfy me right now.

Of course when I read reviews of books on blogs or in print it gives me a pinch. Notice, pinch not punch. I think, oh, sit down and write. And then I forget about it.

I’m beginning to suspect that the lack of discipline idea I wrote about a few posts ago isn’t going to fly. My schedule is too ingrained. I’m not going to be able to start at 11 or 1. That’s not me. If I start writing I’m sure I’ll go back to the schedule I’ve been on for 50 years.

And should I write this book that’s now and then in my mind it shouldn’t take me very long. It’s that kind of book, unlike my last fiasco. The 200 pages I abandoned. This one should be fairly easy. Of course none of them is easy. It’s all comparative. The one I’m vaguely entertaining should be easy in comparison to some others I’ve written. Maybe I’ll find out, maybe I won’t.

Anyway, I thought you should know I’m here and not writing. And crazy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


"To write it, it took three months; to conceive it - three minutes; to collect the data in it - all my life."

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Yesterday I heard from the people at the magazine I wrote the non-fiction piece for and they liked it a lot. I guess it will be in their next issue. It’s Crimespree. It made me feel good that they liked it. Of course it did. Why wouldn’t it?

Yesterday I had coffee with a writer who’s waiting to see if she is going to be accepted into a writing group. This is an important group. Many people in it get published.

I feel for her. If she gets rejected she’ll lose confidence about her work. She’s written a novel that needs a rewrite. She has an agent, but I think it means a lot to her to be accepted into this group. Of course it does. Why wouldn’t it?

So is that the other part of being a writer? We want acceptance. Your first reader is the start. If he or she doesn’t like what you’ve done depression can set in for days.

Then comes your agent, if you’re lucky enough to have one. If he/she doesn’t like it where the hell does that leave you? You’re not accepted. You have to go back and make the book right so the agent will accept it.

It’s not only the non-acceptance of the work, it’s you. They say you’re not what you do, but I don’t buy that. Of course we’re many things, but a writer or an artist is different. I’m so closely connected to my work that if someone doesn’t like it I know I translate it into that person doesn’t like me. I’m better about this than I was when I started years ago, but I know that’s still in there.

Then comes the editor should you get one. Acceptance but with changes. The book is published and you’re out there. No control. Reviewers. More acceptance or not.

Readers. They write you. Friends. They lie to you and you know it. Some genuinely like it. But this is all about acceptance again. It’s a bitch.

Why do we do it?