I wish I had something coherent to say. Actually, that’s not true; I have lots of coherent things to say, I just can’t seem to say them lately. I had a really good essay about the nature of emotions and how there really are just the two of them and everything else we think is an emotion is really just a stop on the sliding scale of varying saturation, but it slipped away yesterday in a haze. I’ve got another one floating around somewhere about pornography; that one made it to paper last year during the Summer of the Hellish Commute [insert appropriate orchestral flourishes here].
There’s an essay floating around in here somewhere about what a scam credit card rewards programs are. That will probably reach escape velocity first since it doesn’t really involve me personally but is more of an observation in the Roger Rabbit/cartoon double take mode (as in, “I can’t believe people are buying into this, me included!”).
I’ve been pondering publication and why I write. The Girlfriend asked me an interesting question last night in the middle of a mini-breakdown precipitated by…well, just being me I suppose: did I want people to read my writing and enjoy it or did I want to get paid? I asked her why, in a world where Nora Roberts has a hardcover on the shelves every 10 months or so and the editing process is so bad that this gem of an exchange got through in her last book*:
Quincy held up a hand. “Why aren’t there — if this data is correct — more of her at the school?”
“If this data is correct,” Mira repeated, and seemed to Eve to be holding on to the hope it was flawed…
having someone read and enjoy my writing and getting paid for it were mutually exclusive?
The answer, of course, is because the editing process is so bad. It used to be that in the book biz you were looked down upon as an author if your book went straight to paperback release; now, there’s so much competition (and yet the standards seem so incredibly low <cough> Clive Cussler </cough>) that a straight to paperback release is like a gold ingot. Of course, given that Americans are reading an average of one book per year (someone has to make up for my mother and her 7-10 books per week), even if I did get published in the traditional sense of the word I’m not sure who would read me. So why is it, like Jim, I’m contemplating doing NaNoWriMo again? If I do NaNo this year and finish it would be the third novel I’ve written. Maybe self-publishing and setting up a merchant account at PayPal are the answer, but who has time for all that marketing? The whole point is to write. Or, as a friend of my Mom’s used to say “Writing is hard, lonely, demanding work, but it beats getting up in the morning.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about community and friends, and how the definitions of these things change and how fucking unprepared I am for getting older. Thinkers more highly trained than me in the nuances of group and individual behavior have lamented the fact that America is beyond obsessed with youth, that we prize it above experience and knowledge. It doesn’t take a genius but only someone even marginally observant to realize that the bulk of America’s consumer culture is built on trying to retain youth. The dirty little secret of getting older, though, isn’t that your body starts to break down – that you have sags where you didn’t used to have sags, that losing weight is more difficult, that you take longer to not be hungover the next day – it’s that your support system breaks down. Just why is it that no one told me how hard it would be to make friends after I turned 30? There’s a life-lesson I could have used.
This was going somewhere, it really was. Up there, somewhere in the middle it started to firm up but, typical of late, the thread of reason is gone now, flushed by distractions and a pandemic lack of concentration.
I wish I had something coherent to say.
* Origin In Death by Nora Roberts, writing as J.D. Rob, pp. 219-220. August 2005.