Thursday, May 3, 2012

FUMBLING ABOUT — A Guest Post by Scott Livingston

2:10 am — near dark pitch pine trees — it seemed important at the time

I recently believed I’d become a writer. But then I got a letter. Several actually. They all said the same thing. “Nope.” I hate it when that happens.

The thing is, Mr/Mrs. Nathan/Kirsten/William/Kate/Sara/Michael etc etc, I
am a writer. But you were right. Saying “no,” I mean. I just wasn't a publishable writer. At the time.

Before the gates of excellence, the gods have placed sweat.

 – Katherine Paterson

But it’s just that I put so much work into writing the stupid book, I thought for sure -
for sure – you’d have to say “Yes!!” and “How many zeroes would you like on your check?”and “We’d like to buy all the books you've ever, ever written - since first grade” and “Can you fly to New York in the morning? First class of course. On us.” Instead you just said “Nope.” Turns out that work - the uncounted, grinding hours - some spent huddled in the dark of my mind, lots sitting in that one room in the library, others spent thinking and typing and then backing up and writing again. And again. And again. They were all just a waste, right?

(Note to you, Muse over publishing: Where’s my dream about sparkly vampires in a meadow? Dude.)

So okay, not a waste. A journey. A life lesson. A process. Becoming a published writer is a slap in the face, brisk water, ultra marathon, “you'd better be ready for years of nope ‘cuz that’s the price to play, son. It just is”

Fine. Be that way. If I want this thing. Really, really want it. Then I should - I must - understand that only the serious dare enter the cage, boots cinched tight, prepared for no after no after no. Because as someone brilliant (and published) once said – “That which we receive too cheap we esteem too lightly.”

The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork (including writing) is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars. — David Bayles & Ted Orland, Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

So back to the wrestle go I. Fumbling about once again. Still. Always. I bring what few tools I've got to the work, and work the best I know how. Believing still. Again. Always.

I will be published. I must be published. I'll bend bones, snap turtle shells (empty), call down angels, even eat Cream of Wheat to be published, brotha. I shall prevail. I must. Must.

“Writing is finally about one thing: going into a room alone and doing it. Putting words on paper that have never been there in quite that way before. And although you are physically by yourself, the haunting Demon never leaves you, that Demon being the knowledge of your own terrible limitations, your hopeless inadequacy, and the impossibility of ever getting it right. No matter how diamond-bright your ideas are dancing in your brain, on paper they are earthbound.”
-Bill Goldman

SCOTT LIVINGSTON is a talented writer, and all around great guy, currently seeking representation for several excellent works. You can learn more about Scott and his writing at: otherwise known as Bemused
Twitter: @sleye1stories 

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