It’s Week Two of the “crud that will seemingly never end,” though I think it’s finally starting to subside. I didn’t get sick for all of con season, so I knew that — sooner or later — it had to happen. Of course, the timing was perfect, just when I needed to dive back into the world of story…
…about that. Stories helped get me through this period. All dark fantasies and fairytales. Read four or five novels, some of which I’ll review for FlamesRising.com, and watched Once Upon a Time. This show is superb. Continuous story arc, well-crafted and amazingly written — not to mention the acting is flawless. I love, love, love this show. Love it. Of course, it’s likely obvious my favorite character is the Hatter.
In my haze of caffeine and cold medicine, I managed to have a life and get some work done for Dork Tower. (Shocking, I know.) Went to a Thai festival, saw Dredd which was a-w-e-s-o-m-e, have been cooking from my Irish Pub cabal of recipes; I’m behind on cleaning, my to-do lists, and my In Box, but they’ll be there when I fully recover. They’ll always be there. Also: I have pictures. Which, sadly, I’m too lazy at the moment to upload and share — but I will. There. I blogged about it, so it must be done. Did I mention I was behind on e-mail? Yes, that must be done, too.
On to a nugget of advice. Or not-so-really advice, moreso… Well, there’s this thing people have been talking about once again. “How to Be a Writer.” And, to some degree, I feel a lot of people out there really want to know how to be a writer. The craft is important to that and I’ve often lamented how that gets obscured by the popularization of writing, by the need to be validated for one’s storytelling in some, way, shape or form. That there are those of import; that publishing, even as a small press, is more valuable than sales. That one person’s preference matters more than the reader. Or that, more ominously so, readers don’t matter. Or readers are crucial. Or writers and editors do (and don’t) matter.
While all these myriad things may be true in the kaleidoscope of the publishing industry, and must be true, and have to be true, because the business is made up of people, not beans or bytes, I feel like one of questions is either wrong or isn’t being asked enough. The question shouldn’t be: “How can I be a writer?” The question we should be asking one another is: “How can I make a career out of writing?” But it isn’t. Because, circling back to that validation thing, some within the community has built up this lovely dream, that even if we don’t make money, that if we write one book or one story that everyone loves, that that’s enough. Because there are guideposts and milestones that a majority of the people out there have agreed upon that make one a writer.
But is it? Is that dream — and those fractured pieces of validation — enough? To feed oneself? To satisfy that deep longing?
The dream is important and part of being a writer, yes. Without it, why write? Why type any stories at all? Especially if you know there are no guarantees, there’s no happy endings or sad endings or in between endings. There is you, the blank page, and that’s it. And the only way to muddle through, to figure out what’s important, is to determine what you want to put on the page, when, why, and how much you’re willing to sacrifice to share what’s on there. To share. Some require money; others, platitudes. One kind word is enough to make someone stop writing; others? A lot of money. Still others, no money… but friendship… or cruel words… or bad reviews… or life… or whatever. That can kill the dream. But the dream must live. It must. Because without that dream, the stories will die.
The thing these past few weeks have forced me to realize is that we all can’t be the same type of storyteller, that we all don’t want the same things, don’t need the same payment for our work. For example, I don’t need or want to give free advice to people; conversations in bars and coffee shops help me get to know others and friendships are important to me. Reality matters to me. Others do need to hand out free advice like Halloween candy and like I’ve said before? Good for them.
However, it’s not just the storytelling or advice or careers that we differ on. It’s what we want to get out of writing. And I’ve come to this conclusion because I needed to. Because I had to understand the commerce of storytelling and what I want to get out of it, to put back that little piece I so desperately needed, erased by the nay-sayers and the nigh-lookers, that bit of magic wound up in a dream that’ll force me to answer the questions I know are being asked.
Is she really that nice?
Can she write?
I guess you’ll just have to wait and find out.
Mood: Fairy dust
Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Well, if I remembered that I’d be in good shape.
Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Lifting tissues, hand-to-mouth.
In My Ears: “Apocalyptic Wasteland” from the Dredd soundtrack
Game Last Played: Tetris
Movie Last Viewed: Dredd
Latest Artistic Project: … Been too long …
Latest Release: “Fangs and Formaldehyde” from the New Hero anthology through Stone Skin Press