Friday, March 22, 2013

Promises unkept and other things

If you're a writer, how long have you been writing?  It struck me earlier today that I've been writing over a significant span of my life time.  So I took the time to think back and remember the very first story.
The year was 1960.  Fifty-three years ago.  Wrote in long hand in a spiral notebook a complete  novel.  Hard core science-fiction.  Back then I was twelve years old and had just discovered the amazing worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  In one summer I read'em all.  All the Tarzan novels.  All the Barsoom (Martian) novels.  All the Vesuvian novels.  All of 'em.

After Burroughs came the others.  Isaac Asimov.  Robert Heinlien.  Arthur C. Clarke.  Poul Anderson.  H.G. Wells. Dozens more. Any and all science-fiction writer I could get my hands on.  And the more I read the more I thought about the idea of trying my own hand at writing something.

Along the way I ran into, and fell in love with, hardboiled detective stories.  Sumbitch!  More stories to write!  I quickly realized I'd be writing something or another for the rest of my life.

Of course the story written  long hand is gone.  Long forgotten and misplaced.  But I've been writing continuously ever since.

What also occurred to me about this long ole' journey through my imagination is this;  the promises unkempt.  Fifty three years of trying to get published you contact and talk to a lot of different people.  Other writers, god knows how many editors, a shit-pot load of agents.  Most of them were honest enough to tell me they were not interested.  In fact the vast majority of publishers and editors were quite blunt about it.  Yeah, at first, blunt rejections like this kinda hurts the old ego, pilgrim.  But if you're a writer you've got to expect it.  Expect it and push past it.  I endured and developed that thick skin of invisible armor all of us have to acquire in one fashion or another.

But the publishers and agents who were the nasty little chameleons in life. . . the ones who just loved my work and promised me the world . . . only to dump me the moment the rowing became tough for them; those are the chinks in my armor.  The promises unkempt.  Those are the ones that still ring my chimes and pisses me off.

Oh, well.  Who the hell said that Life was going to give you a fair handshake, pat you on the back, and send your jolly self off into the sunset with a grin on your face and success in your pocket?  If someone has said that, I must'uf missed the memo.

(Okay, Hermione.  I'm finished bitch'n now and going back to write something.)

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