Some years ago I went to an author presentation at Bass Hall. A round table discussion from some writers I’d never heard of, but they drew a good crowd in that fabulous venue.
After these lady writers gave their talk, they opened the floor to questions. A middle-aged gent stood up, a book under his arm, and announced that he was a writer too, and he would like to present the comeliest of the writers on stage with a copy.
Some self-published affair, obviously, from the days when self-publishing meant a bit more than uploading a file.
How I cringed. Being an author, in my book, wasn’t a matter of writing, but reading. The readers made the author, otherwise you could have a library full of things you’d written that nobody would ever love.
But just about everyone I’ve ever met has a book inside them. They want to share their story with the world. They want to be a writer, and they want to be loved.
Yes, I get where you are coming from. Patricia Chiu hilariously wrote about being a slush pile editor in the days when they had slush piles. Some of these people are so full of shit that they must drive special trucks.
And yes, I get irritated when I see yet another piece full of good advice from someone who obviously hasn’t followed it themselves.
Mind you, around here, being a writer for three months is something special. I reckon Medium makes their money off people who sign up to read great stuff, make a fortune in a week, and then give up when none of that happens.
It’s a literary gift card. Half of those suckers never get redeemed. They get handed out as gifts and forgotten about until the fine print expiry date.
So while I applaud your savage cathartic spray, and totally get you on that, I also feel a teensy pit of sympathy for all these people who just want to be a writer and be loved.
People like you. And me.
So, what is the best advice to give these people when nobody loves them?
PS. I love Texas. I get off the plane at DFW and I’ve got a big goofy grin on my face. Fort Worth has its ups and downs, but it has one of the best art galleries I’ve ever seen, some glorious gardens, and that corny lovable Stockyards thing. And Bass Hall, of course. I might live on the other side of the planet, but I know exactly when to turn my head when driving down Commerce Street in a red Mustang to see those angels.