Veronique Darwin

Straight Through

In Dreams, My Writing on October 28, 2013 at 7:57 pm

I’m going to aim through the novel, not at it, to a future place where I want it to land. It’s easy to get stuck in the notion that my novel has no real audience, no real deadline. It’s easy to sit in it, to imagine it exists when really, does it? If you put a gun to my head right now and asked to read it, I’d be flattered, but it would be in pieces.

Struggling through a novel is the narrative most accepted in literary circles. I’m working at this. I’m rewriting. What if I actually pictured success?

What would it look like, really, to have this novel published? I’m told it’s far less fine than I think. Published writers are always complaining about having to promote their book, ensuring young hopefuls that having a novel published doesn’t guarantee, or in any way lead to, financial success. But what an amazing thing it would be, sitting on stage, blushing, talking about your characters like they’re real. Yes, asking people to read your book would be a bit demoralizing, but how much better it would be than if you didn’t have a book at all, frequenting book clubs and bookstores promoting other books, always books that aren’t yours.

And what if you were really successful – like really successful? Then what? You go on tour with the book. You are like a rockstar but your bandmates are your books in boxes. Maybe you have a friend with you who is literary-minded. You probably travel around on a bus, where you get to read a lot. You get to be a grump and speak esoterically about everything. No one bothers you except for the craziest of people.

And then your job is over and you are under pressure to write more. So what? You love writing. This time someone else cares about you writing too. Maybe you get book topics suggested to you. What a great way of coming up with ideas. Maybe you have a deadline, unlike something you’ve ever had before in writing. Maybe you make money.

And then the second book comes out. And it doesn’t have as good of reviews. That’s great! You can then wow them with the next one. You have made a career because people are comparing something you’ve done before to something you’ve done now, which means time has passed. And you are still at it. You are writing every day. You’ve lost your other job! You’re just writing. You wake up and instead of thinking about other people, you are thinking about a world that you made up. And it can be anything.

I would live in my dreams, if it were socially acceptable. What a joy it is to lay down every night and know that I will be entertained. I feel more overnight, or am given the ability to feel everything every night in a way that then benefits me in my day life. Writing is the same. I feel things, and maybe I’m making them up, but it’s better than not feeling them at all.

So living a life of writing, then, would be a life of dreaming. And getting paid, and getting acknowledgements, and getting to not do other things but it. I can’t imagine being that life being all that bad. Just this novel, that’s the bad part. And then the one after.

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