I find myself wanting to take three weeks’ vacation all at once and go somewhere far, far away–I’m trying to think of who my farthest-flung relatives are these days–and write a novel. I could emulate F. Scott Fitzgerald and rework, yet again, the same tired novel I first started writing my freshman year of college. Or I could try something new.
I know I would rework that same old one again. But I know it would be no This Side of Paradise. The stolen character names from “Babylon Revisited” and the title lifted from the part of the story I remember best probably won’t be enough to save it.
I see myself now, sitting in an upper room with the window open, looking outside at the trees, listening to The Cure too much, insanity creeping over me, coloring my words, which get better and better the more I lose my grip on reality, until finally the work is finished and I (maybe) snap back.
In the end, it would purely to say I did it. (At first I was going to say it would be therapeutic, but that’s certainly debatable.) Publishing fiction is tough. Fitzgerald wallpapered a wall of his apartment with rejection letters. In this day and age of readily available word processors, there’s a much larger pool of talent competing. Making time to write is easy for me. Making time to publish is something else altogether.
But it would be fun.
I’ll place my bets on one thing: If it were published, it would sell better in Trinidad than in the States.
You are a good writer. You could sell a genre book with ease.
To produce the Great American Novel, it takes luck and skill and something to say. I believe you have that.
I recommend Jack London, John Steinbeck, and Stephen King. Islands in the Stream was the only Hemingway I liked. He was a contemporary of your Fitzgerald.
I wonder what you think of alternative publishing ideas. Ideas like ; publish a free download e-book so 000’s of downloads will happen and then you can sell the hardback rights. I’m thinking of Cory Doctorow here http://www.craphound.com/bio.html. He says he’s had loads of downloads of his free e-book, and suggests you buy the paperback from him. Can’t get it at my local bookstore .
Hope you get writing. I’ve got a sci-fi novel that I’ve been working on for years but I dread the prospect of approaching publishers. I suppose I must be waiting for e-books to change things. But the best sign of the times of music distribution and I haven’t yet heard of a band getting launched by putting out their own mp3’s.
Writers write, it’s their nature if not their calling. The biggest challenge is to get the oooh-rahs up to say “I will”. History is rife with great writers not discovered until after their death and boat loads of rich cheezie writers leveling forests with their pulp. The real question is not what to write, or how to write, but WHY do you want to write? Most writers start out sounding a little derivative but if they have the talent they find their own voice soon enough. If you find joy in writing, what matter is it whether you get published? You have a good job and don’t need to be published to survive until you’re ready to risk it. Odds are though if you have something to say and say it well, you’ll find your way into print. Live the dream, take the plunge, write for your own sake, write for no other reason than the pleasure of doing so.
Also, pardon please this brief, cliche ridden nod to youth’s tendency to be somewhat morose and self absorbed.
Sippng coffee in a sidewalk cafe – acting out the poetry we write – altering the rhythm, adding in a line – the waiter takes the measure of our day – we see ourselves as sunsets, autumn leaves, and cross town winds that now blow cold – tomorrow seems already like a memory – certain – like the seasons in their change, like our love that flows like tears, like a water color left out in the rain.
Just a private note. I was looking at the Movable Type webpage and I found this link:
Nice pics from your area.