Thursday, August 21, 2008

So I was naive, and for all the "Goddamn it I'm almost 26 and have BEEN AROUND"s I throw out there, I am an idealistic kid. I really thought that other people would find interesting in writing what I find interesting. It never crossed my mind that an agent, someone who's job it is to SELL literature, would be taken in by the sensationalist stripper story I wrote to be marketable, and hate with the power of 1000 fiery suns a sparse and meditative character portrait. How dumb was I?

There of course is the first thing you think when your world is flipped over on you. "God. It is true. Who am I kidding? I am utterly talentless. This is hopeless forever and ever, and when they find out I am talentless, they will come with torches to my door and force me off the roof. My boyfriend will break up with me, my friends will abandon me, I will be forced into exile, change my name and my face again, live that quiet forest life like Gary fucking Snyder and write pastoral haiku for no one while waiting for the bread to cool.

But I remember feeling hopeless before. I remember believing I was dying. I remember believing I would never be pretty, that I would never be loved, that I would never make it out of Indiana. I remember last summer the sense of loneliness and abandonment, thinking I would never love anyone again, but I kept going and things got better. I remember my first agent experience in college, and how he duped me and I thought, Jesus, I am utterly, utterly worthless, but I am still here and doing what I love. As long as you're not sick, if you just keep going and doing good things, things will get better.

Coco Chanel said, "How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something, but to be someone." I have put too much of myself worth into writing. I'm like the women who die when men leave. I am a writer, yes, but I am also a friend, a girlfriend, a daughter, a sister, a party lover, a cook, a raconteuse, a model, a personality, a pretty face, a nice figure, an odd dresser, a good fuck, a social drinker, a researcher, a waitress, and a technical genius, depending on what IQ scale you're looking at. Sometimes maybe it's enough to make a good pasta sauce and knit a pretty scarf while you're waiting to write the next novel.

Now the decision. Do I throw this one in the bottom of the drawer and write another Backstage, like she wants? I guess I have to accept that if I want to do this for a living, I will have things that will be marketable and things that I really care about, and I can do that.

What I will probably do is do what I can with this one and shop it around to some micro-presses. If no one buys it then I might just say fuck it, she's right, it is unpublishable and put it on the Internets. I'm going to take a fiction break for a while and develop a new idea, work on getting some poetry out there, and then, in a month or two, probably start the next book.


Chad Parenteau said...

Cue "Rocky" theme music.

James McCoy said...

"What people always demand of a popular novelist is that he shall write the same book over and over again, forgetting that a man who would write the same book twice could not even write it once."

-- George Orwell