Until I started to write this blog entry, I had forgotten how much I loved Bill Fitzhugh’s book, Pest Control. It is, hands down, one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. It also got me a date. See, I bought it, then went into the B&N cafe to start reading it (as was my wont back in the college days) and I started giggling out loud. The laughter caught the attention of a fellow bookworm, who struck up a conversation and asked me out.
That dating relationship lasted somewhat longer than the “romance” that blossomed in my psychologist’s office around the same time, but was no less strange. Oh, the stories I have to tell, People. The stories I have to tell.
Anyway, Bill Fitzhugh. Hilarious. Look him up. Organ Grinders is another great work of his.
I remembered Fitzhugh because I had forgotten a large part of an interview I read that involved him. I’m getting there. Stay with me. I can’t remember if it was Fitzhugh being interviewed, or someone else being interviewed who mentioned him, but the long and short of it was that one author had worked his arse off trying to get published and there had been some hijinks about renting an ice cream cone costume to try to get his manuscript into the hands of an agent/publisher/something, and one author just sent in a manuscript and was published and famous the next day. It was an anecdote about how fickle the publishing industry is–any industry that relies on public consumption, really.
Is it who you know? Or how good you are at what you do? Or just happening to be where lightning strikes? Or what? JK Rowling and EL James are both names you’d recognize, but took very different pathways to their success. And seriously? How depressing must that be for some writers? I mean, Rowling is a demi-god, who should stand in the Pantheon with Lewis and Tolkien (sacrilege? I think not.) You can be okay with never achieving her level of success because–look at her body of work! James is… a very different story. Although, it makes you feel better about your chances at being struck by lightning, it might make you feel a lot worse about rejection notices.
Everyone goes about it differently. There isn’t any set way. The only things that are certain are that you must have the mental energy to finish a manuscript, the willingness to put it out there for criticism, the ability to accept rejection, a thick enough skin to live around the people who hate it, and the optimism, self-confidence and mental energy to do it all over again until lightning strikes. Lather, rinse, repeat.
It’s funny how many of my friends are writers. I didn’t go looking for writer friends. We all just sort of ended up in the same places (LiveJournal, TTP, Facebook–places where you can write) excited about the same things. We work together, most of us, to help each other along.
And that’s good, because while I am totally into the idea of wearing an ice cream cone costume, I am exhausted by the idea of printing out so many pages of work and hulking them around everywhere.