Archive for June, 2011

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What if the writing’s on the wall…a portent of doom…but you can’t read it?

Some say a death knell is tolling for publishing as we’ve known it–that the writing is on the wall, whether we can read it or not.

Part of me panics at that thought. Books made of paper have been a treasured part of my life since I was a baby sitting on my mother’s lap. I’ve dreamed of writing a book of my own, and then holding that book–feeling the pages, smelling the ink and glue. Writing my name on the title page with a flourish for a reader, who will take it home and love it.

I’ve wanted the feeling of validation that comes with traditional publishing–that a professional, someone with profit on their mind, has read my stuff and deems it worth a financial risk. And next year that particular part of my dream will come true, when my scribbles will be typeset and pressed into paper.

But does the writing on the wall say that this path, the one I’ve only put one foot on, is about to end?

Last week I finished reading my first novel on an e-reader (my phone) and immediately wrote to the author to tell her how much I enjoyed it. She responded to say “it’s a fun time to be a writer.” That got me thinking.

I see writing on the wall, but I don’t know what it says. I do know one thing it’s telling me…that things will change. I don’t believe anyone can say exactly what that change will be. Just that it will be.

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Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth.  ~Ludwig Börne

Maybe that’s true, but it still makes me sad. After all, living in a dream world is pretty nice.

I remember when I first began writing, I harbored the illusion that I’d be a “natural,” that I’d write brilliantly without even trying. It was hard to show my writing to anyone at first because, well, I knew what would happen. My illusion would be shattered, and I’d have to face the truth. I could be a good writer, but it was going to take work.

Until I actually let someone read my stuff, the illusion could continue. I could pretend I was an undiscovered genius, and as a writer, pretending comes quite naturally to me.

But that’s long over now. Now the work.

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I’ve tried to keep from being jealous when I hear about others having great success with their writing. I suppose it’s a human trait (how many times have I heard people say “She’s so beautiful–I hate her”) but it makes no logical sense. So I try to suppress it.

I try to be genuinely happy for people when they do well, and most of the time I do okay. I especially love to hear about people having success after a long period of failure. Gives me hope!

Today I heard this quote: “Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” (Maybe by Carrie Fisher, but maybe she was quoting someone else.)

The Man in Black:  All right. Where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right… and who is dead.

Resentment and jealousy will only poison my well.

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