Bullshit Threatens My Artistic Sensibilities

I pitched my new book to agents at the writer’s conference today. Two of them want to see chapters, and one wants to see the full manuscript. I hope the words on paper will live up to the words that came out of my mouth. I’ve only been writing like a maniac for a few years. I’ve improvised, cajoled, and spouted bullshit on a professional level for a lot longer than that.

Even though agents have asked me for chapters before, this makes me nervous. Yeah, I should be ecstatic, and a sliver of my consciousness is partying like Keith Richards on the day they legalize smack. But most of me is fixating on the gulf between the writer I am now and the writer I want to be. I refer to writing skill. I refer not to the glamorous lifestyle of a professional writer.

My sister is an artist of fabulous skill and determination. She once traveled to another city in which a gallery was showing her work. She said it was like being a rock star. People drove her around town, took her to eat, effused about her work, and generally worshipped her. It was an amazing week. The day she returned home she had to scrape dried peanut butter off the kitchen floor.

It puts things in perspective.

I wonder if I waited too late to get aggressive about writing. It takes time to get good at things. I’m a better actor now than I was 20 years ago. It’s not like I’m John Barrymore or anything now, but it’s relative. The universe of things I don’t know about writing stuns me when I can stand to think about it. Actually, I think about it a lot. My brain won’t stop thinking about writing.

Bad brain. Off the couch.

It’s almost time for tonight’s party here at the conference. I’m certain most of the writers, agents and editors will be there. How do I know this?

Open bar.

Free gin and tonics. That’s the glamorous lifestyle of a writer for you.

Definitely not John Barrymore
Definitely not John Barrymore

Photo by Ariana Berdy

2 Responses to Bullshit Threatens My Artistic Sensibilities

    • Self-publishing was a popular topic at the conference, and it was discussed seriously by almost everyone. I didn’t hear the kind of dismissive comments about it that I heard a few years ago. A lot of the professionals seemed to think we’re moving towards a model where writers may self-pub or go indie on some of their work while going traditional with other work. It’s an interesting time to get into the book business. But is it interesting in the way the Chinese might define interesting?

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