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Saturday, June 25, 2005

A Writer's Rant



I'm at the end of my residency and I feel like I've been wound up and wrung out! I can't wait for the minute after this residency when I can say "I'm done." I'll be tearful, I'll be silent, and I'll be cranky! Watch out Dwayne.
We're spending tomorrow with my parents. Their house is quiet so I'll sit and listen to the humming in my brain. Sometimes, I just have to stop and say to myself, "This is how I feel." That means that I hold my heart up like a paper thin sac of fluid and watch as it twists. This morning I felt a pang of disappointment. After days of listening to professional writers tell us about objective correlatives, thru-lines, and memises, on top of reading other writer's beautiful work, I felt lousy. Oddly, where I should be feeling empowered, I'm feeling like a loser and I want to pout.
It's good to know where you stand.
Right!
It's good to be humbled.
True! Otherwise, I'd forget why writing is important at all.
We live in a superstar generation.
Yeah, no one wants to be reading. Everyone wants to be a writer because that's where the attention is.
Although I just found out yesterday that even best-selling books only sell around 2500 - 3000 copies.
Ugh, why aren't we reading?!
So what is writing if it's not for the publishing?
It's for the soul! There's a valiant answer. But still, I don't have the answer.
James Baldwin wrote so that America would look at herself and change. Did he care about being published?
I care about being published, but I think I better find a better way to spend my desire. What do I write for? Should I even be that good right now? Is it too much to expect that I would be producing professional work? Sure I have friends being published and being championed by famous writers, but maybe they're the exception to the mid-twenties rule?
That would break my heart.
God told me to write. I'll just tell him that I'll only do it so long as I don't write rubbish. Maybe we can strike a deal. Maybe he'll take pity on me (like I'm pitying myself) and strike me with genius. Maybe he could sprinkle a little extra discipline my way. Maybe I've already got the words for my next essay. I guess I'll just keep going. Because if there's one thing I DO know, its that Anne Lamott was dead on when she said, "You're not well when you don't write."
See I feel better already.

6 Comments:

Blogger Josh said...

Ha! Nice to hear your thoughts...
I appreciate your rants!

8:31 AM  
Blogger pk said...

If you ask me, I think you've already got the words for the next essay, and the next, and the next. But by all means, rant away.

3:59 PM  
Blogger malachi trizec said...

people are reading, they're just all reading the same few bestsellers...

4:28 PM  
Blogger Christin said...

Like the DaVinci Code?!!?!??!(This book was the brunt of many jokes at my school:-)
So I guess the question is WHAT is everyone reading? And is it worth reading?

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Darren Campbell said...

Is being published still relevant? I mean, you are published. This blog is the new medium. With technology, we have eliminated the middle man. We have blogs, podcasts, garage band, imovie. Who needs a book deal (unless your broke). If being published means your work is good or credible, than o.k. pursue that. But I own a bookstore and I can tell you that much of the junk that we sell is neither good or credible, but it has all been published! I would rather read your blog. I think we don't read because we are all A.D.D. A book is too big a commitment these days.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Christin said...

What a great thought -- that book publishing is antiquated, and that I've acchieved with this blog what I'm after: an audience.
But there's a romance to being published that's alluring. I think of Faulkner and Austin and I'm so glad they can sit on my bookshelf.
Maybe that's what being published is really about: holding for posterity the words of wise and brilliant people. These authors did a service to mankind by being published. When I think of it this way, I'm okay with not muddying the publishing waters. Leave it for those who write words that are built to last.
And let me spend my time focussing on writing things of value, not what will tickle the fancy of some marketer.
Yeah that's easier to take.

11:40 PM  

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