Apr 4, 2014

Precocious Pretentious Preconceptions

I just finished reading a book that struck me deeply - The Art of Falling. A better review will be coming up in a WFW post, but while it is fresh on my mind, I wanted to get my thoughts down.

One of the premises of the book is the idea of what we think our lives will be like, what we thing others' lives are like. And I'm so guilty of this! I have these ideas in my head that some of my favorite writers are always inspired, that beautiful, lyrical writing just flows from certain people, that everyone I see posting pictures of themselves likes the way they look, etc.

I have a friend who, upon overhearing the stress I was enduring with a smart but less than motivated teen-aged son, commented that it was so refreshing to hear that my children weren't perfect all the time. I almost choked on my cookie as, during the summer months, I live in fear that I will forget to close the necessary windows before "disciplining" my children and all the neighbors will wonder what witch needs to be cast out from within my house.

Perhaps it is the Facebook/Instagram/Twitter life where we feel the mental pull to post when things go well that makes us seem better than we are. And I know that many of us will post something on days that try our patience, but I wonder if the life we share is at all reflective of the lives we live. I wonder what we would think of each other if we knew the struggles, be they daily or weekly or even just "Why can't I think of something to make the cursor move"?

The funny thing is the closer our relationships become with others, even those who we elevate on a Mt. Olympus equivalent, struggle. That is the universal element of the human experience. I was gushing about a book on Twitter last week, and the author responded that this gorgeous book that I couldn't stop thinking about was the book that almost killed her. Others I have loved took years to write. Sometimes, in the midst of hearing about the speedy wordsmiths and their productivity, it's nice to remember the rest of us mere mortals have to cling to the only two hands success has ever had - grit and hope.

In the process of querying TRANSCEND, I have been told repeatedly that the writing is strong enough, but the premise of the story isn't. I shed tears writing that story, explored the intricacies of human emotion deeper than I had before, and yet, if I allow myself to be perfectly honest, I know the story as is probably wouldn't sell. I have some ideas for a rewrite but it needs to move to the back of the line for a while. There was probably some ice cream involved in making that decision.

The key, I think, to all of this is to remember the two hands of success. The agents who did respond as something other than form indicated the writing was strong. There's my hope. And I've written a book before, I know I can do it again.

Grit, with a large side of stubbornness.


David P. King said...

Never give up. Never surrender. I don't usually find myself thinking about others in the way of what they're thinking. I have a hard enough time figuring out what I'm doing. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It can be a trap to compare ourselves to others in our personal and professional lives. Sometimes I feel slow compare to others or envy the success of their work, but most of the time I'm find for where I'm at and what I'm doing.

Andrew Leon said...

The opinion of an agent is still just an opinion. And usually not any better than the opinion of someone down the street or next to you in line at the grocery store.

JeffO said...

The decision to put something aside (or alter it) is a tough one. Hang in there, Tasha.

Rosalyn said...

Tasha, that's such a hard decision to make. I know how much you put into this novel. But there will be other ones, better ones, in your future. I don't have any doubt of that. (And maybe by then you'll have figured out how to make Nora's story sing the way she needs it to).