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The art wants what it wants, dude

“Fatso,” people sometimes ask me, “You dreamed that someday you would grow up to be a professional writer, and now you have. In what way is your career at variance with those one-time boyhood dreams, Fatso? Eh? Huh? Come widdit, Fatso.”

I usually respond with the list below, as well as an admonishment that there is no practical need to call me Fatso three times within a single interrogatory paragraph.

- I thought that I would be a writer full-time, and not have a day job also. In fact, I have done this, but constantly teetering on the brink of poverty when things are slow is a lot less appealing than it was when I was 24.

- I do not, as I thought I would, sit in front of a typewriter all day chain-smoking. Instead, I sit in front of a computer monitor all day chain-drinking.

- My friends are not all sparkling academics who drop bon mots like leaves from an autumn tree. Just most of them.

- I am not married to a sexually rapacious ex-poet, and we do not live in a rattletrap New England manse on the coastline. I live in a duplex in San Antonio and my wife is a huge cockroach.

- Editors have, in the course of my career, valued me less for my daring post-modernist fiction and my uniquely rigorous philosophical insights and more for my knowledge of produce inspection methods and my ability to think of something funny to say about Avenged Sevenfold.

- Not as valued as you might think: being a good writer. Much more valued than you could ever imagine: meeting deadlines.

- I receive a large share of my income from two groups I did not anticipate being so preeminent amongst my clients: businessmen and pornographers.

- Norman Mailer did not live long enough to be defeated by me in a fistfight. I always thought that I’d go first.

- I guess it would be untrue to say that I fantasized about sleeping when I was a lad with a big dream of becoming a writer. But I will say that, had you asked me, I would have said yes, I suppose I will sleep, when that day comes. Nope, I was wrong about that.

- I never thought that I would someday be bylined as a “content provider”. But I’d always dreamed!

- All in all, I am very happy with my career as a professional writer, although it is very different than I dreamed and it turns out that thinking up ideas for books is a lot easier than writing them, and writing them is a lot easier than selling them. Also, my name is not Fatso. I wish editors would stop using it in their correspondence.

Comments

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(Deleted comment)
ludickid
Nov. 12th, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC)
Hit the deadline, make the word count, and don't make any major fuckups. With trade writing, which is my baguette and marmalade, that's really kinda all there is to it. Most editors will take 'reliable' over 'talented' any ol' day.
autobotsrollout
Nov. 12th, 2007 05:26 pm (UTC)
It doesn't hurt that a lot of talented writers tend to know they're talented, and as such often want or even expect special treatment. You see it in any creative field.
ludickid
Nov. 12th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
I make sure that my editors know in advance that I am not talented.
(Deleted comment)
ludickid
Nov. 12th, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC)
If I am everything you would like to be, you need to aim higher.
roseyv
Nov. 12th, 2007 10:13 pm (UTC)
I also wish your editors would stop addressing you as Fatso, as it upsets me dreadfully.
ludickid
Nov. 12th, 2007 11:10 pm (UTC)
The weird thing is, a lot of them don't even know what I look like!
eme_kah
Nov. 12th, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
"I live in a duplex in San Antonio and my wife is a huge cockroach."

The upside: You're two degrees separation away from Kafka.
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ludickid
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator
Ludic Log

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Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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