Like many of you, I had grandiose dreams of seeing my name on the front cover of a book in Barnes and Noble. I think it started when I was five, and my mom would post copies of my poems all over the fridge. Instead of drawing pictures of kittens or rainbows, I would write. Mostly about my Grandma Mason’s apple pie.
However, somewhere along the way, the dream of writing became a bit more fine tuned, and I realized that I really wanted to help others along their writing journey more than I wanted to write my own novel. I thought today might be a good one for looking at exactly what shaped my desire to become an associate agent over my desire to become a writer
I failed kindergarten cutting. As a left-handed cutter in a right-handed-at-everything-else body, I was doomed from the beginning. My teachers didn’t believe that I was really a left-handed cutter because everything else came naturally to me as a right hander. There were only a limited amount of left-handed scissors after all. As early as age five, I knew that only certain people could use the left-handed scissors. I was not one of them.
I used to memorize publishing houses. Not only did I read my favorite authors or genres as a child, but there was a time when I would only read from my favorite publishing houses. I would dream of the day when I could be a part of that particular team. My writing dreams were never really of me being a shining star—they were always of me creating something spectacular with others.
My story arc never expands beyond 15 pages. Have any of you ever read Moby Dick? No, let me ask that again. Have any of you ever read Moby Dick and liked it? To this day, I can only make it through the first 100 pages. About the time the crew leaves for sea, I give up. I love Melville as a short story writer but not so much as a novelist. And I like to compare myself to Melville, although I know I am not nearly as good. I am best with short forms of storytelling or even poems. I am just not a fan of writing 70,000+ words about the same people and place. I give up after about 5,600 words and want to move on to something else.
I do, however, love working with other people’s words. I like to think through how I can make someone else’s story even stronger. The words have already been written; now I get to go in and play. I am like a decorator on Extreme Home Makeover. (Anyone else sob during the last episode?) I am thrilled to let someone else build the frame and put up the drywall. I want to go in and build a pirate ship into a child’s room or create a sanctuary for Mom and Dad.
Even though I am not a novelist, I do still like to write. Writing is a hobby now—something that I do for fun now and then. And, sometimes, I like to share my words with others. So, if you can promise me that you won’t come after me with pitchforks and tar and feathers if you don’t like my words, here is my is my Saturday gift to you:
They say you will reach me at a time when the
Impassable becomes the necessary.
Like conscientious birds refusing to fly,
Mine is a tombless marriage.
Cotton-candied windows reflect
Pastel letters, “A”, “B”, “C”
The soft skull of books is no longer a comfort
Crushing frozen syllables,
My city is ineffective.
* Line 8 of this poem is taken from Neruda’s poem, “Heights of Macchu Picchu: VIII, Clime up with Me”
Since I shared my creativity with you, would you be willing to share some of your writing with me? I would love to read something that is outside of your normal genre. Pull your poems out from under your bed. Let me see the songs that you wrote (but didn’t send to) the winners of American Idol. Or, if you’re in a creative mood, write me something new.