My April 2012 Update

What was that thing T. S. Elliot said about April… Okay, it is on the tip of my tongue. Oh, I’m sure I will get it sooner or later.

All I can say, is I am glad there is no reference to cats in the Wasteland. It’s still mind-blowing to me that the guy who wrote Wasteland also created the poems that inspired years of dancers dressed like cats spinning on a stage to Andrew Lloyd Weber music… But I digress.

The article that won’t go away…

Back in March, I wrote a personal reflection inspired by the closing of my high school (here). I already wrote in detail about the reaction to the article in my March update (here). To sum up, I hit a nerve with a lot of people and it was huge for me. It went on to have over 1300 views, spurring a sequel article (I felt I had to react to the loss of the school in a more straightforward-here-is-my-opinion way), and numerous, numerous comments on my site.

That is the thing I found the most fascinating to me about the article, the responses. While a majority of the comments were just nice reactions to it; for some, it was therapy, for others a place to vent. A few reacted in a way that clearly showed they did not read the article in the first place.  Whatever…

See, I could see the stats and since so many of these readers that were finding my site came only for the high school article, I didn’t want this to turn into a “thing”, changing the point of my site. I could see this becoming a “memorial” site for high school experiences and I didn’t want that.

So for the month of April, I avoided writing about my past. I focused on the present, writing advice, and the world of entertainment (I even wrote about the Muppets!). Anyway, I thought I was out from the high school shadow when it was then published in the Grand Rapids Press, my hometown paper last Thursday.

It just keeps giving.

About the procedure…

If someone told me before my procedure (and for those not knowing what I am talking about, click here), that I would write a humorous editorial around the experience, I would not have believed them. Everything building up to that day was traumatic for me. I barely even slept the night before. It was a life-changing moment, one that would be difficult to go back from. And, being an emotional writer, I felt the weight of it bearing down on my shoulders.

I got lost twice on the way to the doctor office. I even had to call to verify its location and address while on the road. I was in a bad state.  Then, I was in the office and the video to introduce the procedure began… and I had no choice.

Let me tell you, fellow writers, when you chose avoiding personal embarrassment over writing a good story, you are in the wrong profession. Story has to come first, each and every time; and I was reminded of that through each badly directed moment of the video. When the nurse made the comment about the doctor’s hearing (again see the article here), I knew I was stuck.

I was going to be out there for all to see… in a way.

Forward into the past…

I spoke before about how dangerous it is to look back too often as a writer. An artist needs to move forward. However, since Green Spot Blue is publishing my collection of stories (Upon The Ground), and I have decided to get the scripts of the sequel to The Dante Experience off my back, it has been strangely a relief.

For me, Time Out Of Mind, makes me laugh (You can find links to it and the actual episodes of The Dante Experience here); and as compared to my screenplays that could (by hook or crook) someday find their way into the public, radio has a lot less possibility.

I am realistic enough to see the wall in front of me. A wall, not created by me or the producers of the original Dante, but more out of the American entertainment world’s desire to move on from radio. They made that call so long ago the wall is dusty. Look I can write my name in the dust!

Would I love to see Dante remade and then the sequel and to write the third part (which I will discuss more when I finish sharing the scripts for the sequel)? Sure, I find there to be a lot of comic potential in the idea. Heck, anything that I work on for 200 pages like that has got to make me laugh a little bit.

Of course, realistically I am not sure how many are really getting anything out of me sharing it (Again, I see the stats).  Is it just for me then? There is a strong possibility of that. Yes, I admit that. But it’s my site, so there ya go.

The publishing game…

So far I have reached out to 30 agents via query letters/e-mails. I hope to do another 20 this week. The reaction has been lukewarm, but that is not surprising. I have said this a lot, but the writing market is very congested. The possibility of anything catching the eye of an agent is slim today. And in many ways, A Jane Austen Daydream (here), doesn’t fit the normal writing tastes.

It feels old and yet new. It feels like an old voice, but also has hints of a new voice. It is very classic in its narration and delivery, but is also post-modern. Frankly, this book is not of this time… or maybe even any time.

In today’s very fast-paced writing world, an agent would need to take a breath and slow down a little to see the possibility. This is not the kind of book that will catch you in a second, but do agents today have time to do that? I don’t know.  I am still hopeful and I have a few agents reading the entire work. But I have always found it wiser to expect a negative, so your hopes aren’t dashed too much; it also keeps you moving forward if you expect a negative since you have really no hope but to move forward.

Does that make me a pessimist? Maybe, I don’t know… Does that response now make me wishy washy? Yes, which is a very non-wishy washy response.

So my fingers are permanently crossed.  Let’s hope for better news in May. Did Elliot say anything about May? No… Well, that is a good start.

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