Keep a spot on your bookshelves for this puppy
It’s not that I have a lot to feel ashamed about. At least not much these days. Hey, I learned my lessons a long time ago. But, sometimes I feel ashamed when I don’t see myself embracing who I am and where I am in this life – and to be anywhere in this life is better than not being in this life – I think.
Anyway, why I am feeling like this is simple. Over the last week I have embarked on a new book-length writing project. I mean, I already have two unpublished manuscripts kicking around, and I will definitely send both out again. They haven’t been abandoned. But, this one has currently caught my interest and has added a little verve to creative enterprise.
I like to think it’s going to be good.
I could be thoroughly, even laughably wrong about that.
So, it’s in that realm that I envy my friend. What she is doing is something of tangible worth. I am doing something of nebulous worth. You can see what she is doing. You can only hear about what I’m doing – from me. But, for all you know, I might be spending my entire day surfing porn sites or making spurious connections on Facebook.
When I was younger I had romantic visions of what it would be like to be a professional writer. It was indeed something I had always wanted to be. I went into the newspaper business primarily because I thought being a journalist would almost automatically qualify me to be a writer of books. Those romantic visions included:
- living in a bed-sit in Chelsea or a NYC walkup.
- Having intimate liaisons with young and highly impressionable college girls.
- Scribbling notes in smoky cafes in Paris and contributing to that smoke with my own Galoises.
- Drinking excessively to mask my personal pain. All writers got personal pain.
- Siring assorted children with assorted people.
- Being insulting to guys like Salman Rushdie at fancy-ass cocktail parties. You know, calling him a “sellout” and stuff.
You’ll notice there is not much mention of actual writing in that scenario. That’s because the actual writing is the hard part. Well, not really the ‘hardest’ part, the hardest part is the selling of something that contains droplets of your blood.
What I will say is that the actual writing is the loneliest part of the process. I now have the freedom to do what I always wanted, and sometimes it’s scary. Mainly it’s lonely.
In that I don’t mean lonely in the sense that I want a lot of people hanging around when I am ‘in process’. Indeed I do not. If I need a people injection, I can go out for a coffee. No, the loneliness comes from the process of my connecting only with what is going up on a little rectangular screen. Zappo, my thoughts are transferred to that screen.
But, what if the thoughts are no good? What if they are badly expressed? How can I know that? ‘I’ can think they’re good. But somebody else has to think they’re good. This is especially true if the writer is not some disgraced celebrity, for example. Those people always get book contracts and it doesn’t matter what crap they spew to their ghostwriter, their musings will be on a Barnes & Noble shelf in no time. True, they’ll all end up in the remaindered bin in three months, but at least they’ll be out there.
Enough about my angst. Suffice it to say I am doing something about putting into written form something about which I know something. It’s a project that has been in the offing for about seven years. It’s about my work counseling addicts and running a rehab. I want it to be succinct, scrupulously honest, candid and sometimes even humorous. That’s what I want. I have no idea if I’ll succeed.
Wish me luck, give me a hug, and I’ll keep you informed about the process as time goes by.