The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Writing aside, I am possibly the worst Author I know. Just noticed that again today, for various reasons. I can't think of anybody who's passive-aggressively destroyed more Author opportunities and neglected more Authorly duties than I have. It's terrible, it's ungrateful. I guess maybe there is some excuse because of all the other cr*p I've generally got to deal with...but other people with as much cr@p manage to do the Author thing. Except I think maybe they either like it on some level, or are guilted/panicked into it by other authors or by agents and editors. No, wait--I know some people who are driven to it by need for food and a roof over their heads. But it seems that even the imminent danger of having to live in a van down by the river can't make me do some of this stuff. I have no idea why I draw lines where I do. Some people would give up writing entirely before "selling out" and writing w-f-h. Some people would rather make appearances than write to order.

I guess I need some kind of no-man's land between my own writing and the public book/Author thing. I think it's got to do with expectations, maybe--with reaching for an inner ideal as I work on my own stuff. I try to pare away my own baggage about what a book needs to be or what the market wants, and I try to pare away as much of "me" as I can, to get the book to be what it needs to be, on its own. Like when you look at a marble sculpture, you're not supposed to be thinking about a guy holding a chisel over it or whether he had a family or if he did school visits with Powerpoint. The piece before you is supposed to be the entire story. I need a no-man's land where there's the sculpture, and its creator is almost anonymous to the people who look at it. If I think very much about the viewers, it has the potential to distract me from the work at hand, mess up the chiseling, and do an irreparable disservice to the piece itself. I know the piece isn't going to be perfect, but whatever it is, I will bear complete responsibility for it.

With w-f-h, the no-man's land holds, because most times the editors aren't familiar with trade publishing, and it's all about the work at hand. I've worked with kids trying to learn to read, and I like being a person who writes the words that they are forced to try to make sense of. I like paying attention to what I'm doing, in hopes of maybe hitting a spark to where, for even a second, they forget what a chore it is and get caught up in the words. I'm not that interested in the kids for whom reading is easy and fun; I'm interested in the kids who hate it because it's boring and hard. So for me, I guess w-f-h is about the piece at hand because, ideally, it's divorced completely from me and is all about its relationship with the reader.

I guess other writers either don't need as wide of a no-man's land, or they're able to integrate the Author thing in with their writing. Or maybe it feeds them creatively, rather than draining them. Dunno. Probably it depends which kind of Author thing we're talking about, exactly.

Blah, blah, blah. Obviously, I did not write today.

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