I spent yesterday riding the back roads of Pennsylvania with family. Family to me now means my Can Am Spyder of course. It wasn't all fun and good weather, nothing in life is perfect. But the ride is not the reason I'm posting this today, lunch and a conversation is today's topic.
For me, writing is a hobby that falls below taking a nap , but normally leads to taking a one.Writing is certainly not at the top of my "these things are important list" in life. For me, writing is something I pass the time with, as I wait for the undertaker to make his appointed rounds.
We stopped at a small cafe(those dregs of humanity I was riding with didn't have the grace to select one that served beer) and certain cretins (my brother Ken leading the pack) offered advice for me to follow for self improvement. At the top of the list were grammar and punctuation. They became so obnoxious that I'm sure some of the customers felt they had mistakenly stopped at a circus side show or adhoc lynching.
Those who understand just how sensitive I am,will appreciate the fact that I suffered greatly during this four ring circus.One miscreant even suggested my book "Conversations With a Dead Man" was an autobiography. I barely responded to any of the abuse heaped upon me. I've had to suffer in silence so many times over the years. One can only choose friends...family on the other hand can be a burden.
But this abuse isn't the reason for this posting.....only background information.
When our food was served(in my opinion the service was extremely slow I'll add) our waitress tapped me on the shoulder and asked to have a word with me. My fear at this point was either the police were on their way or we were about to be thrown out of another public place(one that didn't even serve alcohol I'll remind you).
The lady wanted to know if I was really an author....I lied and said yes. She proceeded to tell me her daughter had dreams of being a published author, had written a book and submitted it to one agent and one publisher. The description of the rejections notes and her daughter's reaction were all to familiar to me. I've been rejected by more than one woman, publisher or book agent...I understood exactly how the young woman must have felt.
The woman's mother told me she'd been crushed. I was at a lost for any sage advice other than the very stupid you've got to just keep trying platitudes you normally hear from someone who doesn't understand or care about what they've just been told. During the remaining conversation the woman mentioned two books her daughter dearly loved and the author. I was so dumb founded I promptly forgot the author's name, but did remember both book's titles.
We finished our meals and left to finish our ride.
I was to spend the next three hours in that hell of "could have or should have" said words of encouragement. We've all been there and done that in many different circumstances. It's so easy to come up with the prefect comment when nothing is on the line. I could have reminded her mother that Steven King's first three books were rejected, only to become best sellers later. Or that any number of classic literature works were considered miserable failures when they were first released. I didn't.
An hour into the last half of our ride I remembered I'd not only forgot the young woman's favorite author's name, but hadn't had the presence of mind to even ask the mother's hers. She was wearing a name tag with cafe's name and may I help you on it. But I'm fairly certain that wasn't her name.
When I got home I looked up the titles and contacted the author. I don't know her, but have followed some of her postings on Facebook. I knew when I contacted her there was nothing she could have done. I just wanted to ease my own self-conscious feelings of failure.
But maybe some of you folks who are published have another young person who follows your work. A gifted someone who has aspirations of someday being you .You have blogs, tweeter followers, and of course Facebook they can and do use to see what you think or are doing.You might want to think about that after you've read this. Maybe your "hang in there buddy, it'll get better" encouragement would be that last piece of the puzzle that gives them the strength to do just that...hang in there.
I just received another check from my publisher for the May book sales. But I think the biggest reward someone like myself could receive would be to read an interview from a world famous author. An author who said, "I almost gave up writing, but something I read from(insert your name) made me hang in there for the long hull."