Yeah, I'm really getting into the "song lyrics as blog title" thing.
So Kristin Nelson talked about book snobs over at her blog yesterday. This touches a chord with me, mainly because my friends are book snobs, and I used to be one, too. There were books I read only in the privacy of my own home, that I was afraid to read in public. You see, I was a lit major, and I was supposed to be literary. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed all the literary novels I read, both classic and contemporary...but I liked other stuff, too.
I tried to write the literary stuff. I tried, and I tried, and I tried. I never got more than a few pages into any attempt, though. It just didn't hold my interest as a writer. And unless you're already getting paid to write something, you have to be interested in it to keep up the motivation to work on it for as long as it takes to write a novel. Can you imagine spending six months to a year writing something that just bored you to tears, or that, at the very least, didn't excite you a bit? Yeah. It would suck.
Then, on a whim one night as I bummed around at Denny's, I started re-writing the book I wrote (and lost) when I was twelve. Obviously, this particular book was more YA, and it also fell sort of into the fantasy category. Literary, it ain't. Kept one character, threw the others out and created new ones in their places. Kept some of the basic structure and central themes, but changed the plot entirely. New, new, new.
I think I wrote about 25 pages that night. I couldn't stop. The next day, I wrote more. The day after that--you guessed it. The words just poured out of me. Whenever I wasn't writing, I couldn't wait to get back to it, to see what my characters would say and do next, to see where the story would take me. I was hooked.
It never occurred to me that anyone would look down on me for what I was writing. After all, I was writing, the one thing I always felt I was born to do--and the one thing I'd barely been able to do for years. I was writing a novel again. I was happy...why wouldn't they be happy for me?
Now, I don't know that my friends aren't happy for me. I don't know that they look down on my chosen topic and target age group. I asked one of them, the literary-snobbiest of them all, if he looked down on me for it, if he thought it was stupid. His answer:
"Well, I think it's a nice place to start."
Hmm. No, it's not a nice place to start. It's where I belong. It's what I've been struggling to find all these years. When I started re-writing Whispers of the Past, it was like...it was like walking into a house and feeling home for the first time in years. I might find other homes in the future, places I'll stay for a while and enjoy...but I'll always belong here. This is where my heart is.
I'm working on ignoring this feeling, this hunch that my friends (and probably my family) think that these books I write are silly, or beneath them, or--God forbid--beneath me. I have to ignore it, because I know it doesn't matter. It's what makes me happy, and what keeps me writing.
And in the end, that's all that matters, right?
Kristin Nelson, in the blog post referenced above, says, "Read what you enjoy and be proud of it."
I say, yeah, do that. But also, write what you enjoy and be proud of it. I do--and I am.
P.S. 6 days without a cig, and still no casualties! I'm proud of that, too.
Friday, January 12
If you don't feel that you are possibly on the edge of humiliating yourself, of losing control of the whole thing, then possibly what you are doing isn't very vital. If you don't feel like you are writing somewhat over your head, why do it? If you don't have some doubt of your authority to tell this story, then you are not trying to tell enough. --John Irving