Saturday, June 20, 2015
Today I am grateful for fellow writers. After the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference ended last weekend, with the final session on self-publishing jammed into my brain and my head still reverberating, I grabbed the first cab I spotted and got to Jefferson Station in time to catch my train home. . .with two minutes to spare. Otherwise I would have had to wait a whole hour. It’s amazing how fast this old arthritic Ostrich can move if she is duly motivated.
I plopped myself down in an aisle seat, completely and 100% exhausted and invigorated, which is an odd combination. Zipping through my head like the bucket-list lines over the rain forest, were the details of the weekend.
Who needs writers? Why write if it will never get published anyway? If it’s a whose you know, not what you write kind of world, then what is the point? If an editor, or agent are having a day where the cat pissed in their oatmeal and their car broke down on the fast lane of the Ben Franklin Bridge, then it doesn’t’ matter how clever or honest or witty or poignant you were in your query letter. They’re not in the mood. BAM! Delete! Don’t even bother with the query if you haven’t done the proposal. Polish. Polish. Polish. . .like a bootjack at the airport. Then, if the stars align, maybe, just maybe you will actually get published for real. Your ship might come in. Hopefully you won’t be at the airport. You might make some money. A little anyway. Or a lot. Yeah, let’s go with a lot. Or you might do every single thing right and be brilliant beyond mere words and you still won’t get published. . .or paid.
That is a huge simplification of what was zipping around in my head on the train. Then the older woman in front of me opened a book. Hardcover. Someone wrote that book. Someone published that book. And the younger woman across the aisle from me pulled out a glossy magazine and delved deep into its contents. And behind me a woman and her daughter turned on their Kindle so the mom could share something awesome she read.
And I was glad you are a writer! Maybe you are the writer whose work was being quoted. I was glad I am a writer! Maybe someday I will be on a train and see my by-line at the top of an article someone is laughing. . .or crying about. And both of us might just get that book published and into the hands of a lovely, older woman who will read it on a train. We are fellow writers. For good or bad, for rich or poor, for published or not, it’s what we do. . .and I am grateful.