Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Literary Agent

No one, in fact, just about everyone that I have spoken with about trying this entire writing thing out professionally had much more advice than “good luck” – in fact, I think the best advice I got was write what you feel and what you like, and if it is true, then someone will read it, someone will like it, and you will be able to know that – I actually started looking for a literary agent, and in the most scholarly way, I studied up on what they would ask me, and imagined myself, sitting in their book lined office that was brightly lit with modernistic lamps and chrome curved ceiling fixtures with the smell of sage and mint gently filling the space, answering questions about the curious but intelligent choice of words, and placing my style into a genre and giving my readers an object – I actually imagined the perfect meeting would be simple – here, take this advance – we need you go back to your bottle of scotch, and your word processor, and we want you to do more of this – this stuff that you do. I actually imagined myself sitting next to my computer in a dimly lit space with a full ashtray of cigarettes and empty red solo cups wreaking of cheap whiskey – and me, struggling to find the next words to the memoir they so gracefully paid me for – that is what I imagined when I sent those emails and made those phone calls – that there would be a market – that somewhere, in some airport, all of the stuff and new improved stuff would be packaged together, bound crisply, and be sitting proudly in a bright and cleverly printed cover. I actually pictured myself being ashamed that it was in print, feeling like it was not good enough, that there were flaws in the machine, and that I had to focus on producing a better vegetable, more leafy greens and sweeter carrots and crisper apples for the readers to devour – yes, that was what I thought about when I sent those requests –

Responses, on the other hand, are not there – they are not there, and those images, better yet, youthful delusions above, did not happen. The reality is that this prescription I put out there is for sale – but it is also my panacea, and I suspect, that although I may not be the most effective hand at painting the picture, that there is enough impression in these words for those who also are not so verbose to go into the description of an ice cube in such immaculate detail to describe it down to the way the light filters through it as they pour another amber scotch over it – I am a simpler artist than that – drawing stick figures and mountains in black and white, and with some hope, expecting it to have a value – intrinsic and real value. Value that is defined more by the ability and character of a man, not just one or the other – not just product, but something that hopefully captures a few minutes of those words that we all aspire to, and the actions that we all control and create.

That’s my experience in the world of professional writing. Not much to speak of, other than giving up a little bit – afraid of sending more letters, more emails, more phone calls, not just of the critique, but of the other hard work – you have to feel to write, you have to really want to edit what it is you put out there, you have to make your thoughts cohesive and concrete – but leave enough space between the words so that there is enough room for the space between your readers ears to bounce around those thoughts, and either be taken away to a better place that you started as stick figures, or to pull them in to your place, and encourage them to take things as simple as I do.

Some pretty general entries these past couple of days, but remember, three nights down, fourteen to go, and progress, whether we choose it or not, is being made…


1 comment:

Chris 2 you said...

Okay, your drawing pretty much sucks :p but I love your writing and I can't stop reading your blog.

You should know I am a visual artist and I can barely form a complete sentence. I know that is not the critique you were hoping for.

Also, know it took ten years of applying for art gigs after college before I stopped waiting tables.