Is it a blessing or a curse to be an artist? I think the latter. Long gone are the days of easy success, if ever there was such a thing as "easy success," but I do long for the days when a writer could walk into an agent's office with manuscript in hand and wait until it's read. Then, voila, instant success. This, by the way, is a story told by mega-famous writer Truman Capote. Not today. No way Jose. There are those, I'm certain, who do luck out though. Just look at J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Series. But I don't fall into the lucky category. I need all the luck I can get. I suppose that's why I cling to good luck symbols, hoping some will rub off. I can't even get a story of local interest covered in the community papers. Okay, well, if East Garrison were true, not shades of both (called fiction), it'd have a better chance. But there was a tiny problem with that: I wasn't attacked by a mountain lion while nine months pregnant, so I had to make up that part.
Today people want REALITY. I understand the frustrations of a writer by the name of James Frey who wrote "A million little pieces." He couldn't sell his novel until he changed it from fiction to non-fiction, fitting nicely into a category aptly named misery memoir. (Hey! I can do that!) You know the story don't you? Oprah loved the book, Frey got his fame, but then the little matter of truth came out.
So, what's my beef? Guess I'm having a "This ain't no place for the weary kind" of day. (This is the title song from "Crazy Heart," by the way.) Writers relate. People with chronic diseases relate. I'm in both categories, so my misery is doubled. With that in mind, knowing all this changes nothing. Stephen King, my mentor before I had a mentor, wrote "be true to yourself." I gotta do what I do. No fakin' it. The misery memoir I'm currently writing has a hell of a lot of truth in it, but the fictional part is there too. Has to be. That's what I do. East Garrison was the same. Lots of reality, lots of made up parts.
That's what makes writing fun.
Is this the fun part? Are we having fun yet?