Writing Wrongs

April 27, 2005

The other day, Jenn asked where she might find my books. Thatís the thing. The only place to find them is on my hard drive. And a backup CD-R. And a couple of other just-in-case storage places.

But not on the shelves. Although I think D. may have a printed copy of False Impressions somewhere (and really, D., you should burn that).

Lately, this bothers me less and less. Iíve seen many of my friends scale the publication wall. Iíve seen more than I care to slam into that wall and not recover. Publication doesnít really solve any problems, you just inherit new ones to go along with the old ďhow do I get words on the page and have them make senseĒ set of problems.

Iím happy where I am right now and have come to accept my apprenticeship may be a long one. Actually, it may be without end. (Okay, true, I have published short stories and magazine articles, but no books.) Still, I feel as though Iíve crossed that hurdle, the one where:

Published = chosen one
Unpublished = I suck pond scum

I donít believe it anymore. Iíve seen too many good books (and no, Iím not talking about my own) get passed over, inexplicably. I know that simply changing all my ďto beĒ verbs in my copy will not guarantee publication. I know that following a set of ďrulesĒ wonít either.

A lot of it has to do with craft, and studying craft. That I donít deny. And one thing about not being published is I have the luxury of exploring both craft and genres. I have time, and plenty of it.

And thatís kind of cool. I donít know if I would have rediscovered my love of young adult fiction if not for time. Iím not sure I would have attempted The Boysí Club (coming along nicely, at least in quantity of words, that is).

I know itís hard for some people to understand why youíd stick with something for so long (eight years so far, thank you) without major results. But then, I donít understand why some people crochet afghans. Granted, an afghan can keep you warm and you could sell it on eBay, but still . . . a four hundred page manuscript could come in handy. Think kindling. Or fish wrap. (Do people still wrap fish?)

It took a while for me to reach this place, the one where Iím happy doing what Iím doing, where I donít measure myself against other peopleís successes. Would a book contract be nice? Sure. Do I need one to be happy? No.

In the meantime, Iíll keep writing. But remember, if you ever need to start a bonfire . . . you know who to call.

Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 10:54 a.m.