Thursday, February 21, 2008
A Story That Will Sell
Thanks for all the thoughtful comments on the Carver post! I'm going to respond to Pythia's comment which I thought made a good distinction that I failed to make in my post about writing to an audience as opposed for one -- so hear goes it. If you want to hear about John McCain's affair, mark me surprised that he could find someone to sleep with him outside his marriage. He doesn't seem like a pleasant man, by any stretch, but I suppose the human heart remains a mystery . . .
When people find out you're a writer, one of the first reactions is often, I've got a story that would sell! I always think, Damn, I'm glad one of us does! I've never been entranced by mainstream stories, tales where people act noble and good or are saved from great danger or are on the high seas with cute little outfits and whatnot. Even watching The Thornbirds as a child, all I could think is, When is someone going to tell that poor woman that Richard Chamberlain is not only a fake priest, but a real gay guy? That's not to say that I wasn't in love with popular books and movies -- I must have been the only twelve year old to read Looking For Mr. Goodbar three times in one year. That was the year that I received a rhyming dictionary for my birthday and decided that I was serious about my craft. I didn't realize that nobody had rhymed poetry in a very long time, and I wouldn't be the one to bring it back. But I wanted to write something that would change my life. And I suppose I have.
When I write, I never think about a reader. I want a reader, the way I want chocolate and blood-free diamonds and notebooks with Snoopy on them, but I don't think about him or her, about serving up something that people will like. I suppose I get this from my mother. Eat what's here or starve! But there's no need for that in the world of literature -- you can find the person serving exactly what you need at all times. My latest project is a bigger version of some of the blogs you have read here about my rape and about sexual violence in all sorts of ways. Someone asked me, Aren't you afraid that won't sell? But I'm not. It's not for me to judge what sells and what doesn't. I grant you that part of me is a bit afraid it's like the old Grandy's All You Can Eat Livers and Gizzards Tuesdays! -- not appealing at any price. But I only have the material I have and couldn't switch it if I wanted. I can only put up the sign and hope the readers appear, no matter what's on the menu.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Give them pleasure - the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare." Alfred Hitchcock
Drinking movie suggestion: Repulsion
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday! Again, thanks for all the kind e-mails and support! I'm feeling a lot better today and am sorry for everyone who has suffered under this grief and is suffering -- feel better friends!