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Water Torture

It's a rainy afternoon in SoCal. Ever notice noir detective stories set in LA are always in the rain? One of the sunniest places on the planet and private dick's are always wet. Or, washed up. One of the two. This is a land of storytelling after all. One natural transition, please.


I just finished the first draft of my ninth novel. Which leaves me with nine unpublished books. Do I stop writing because I haven't cracked the code yet, or keep going hoping posterity will prove me a genius? Okay, maybe prove me competent.


Every "artistic" discipline is fraught with frustration. Songwriters can't get songs recorded, actors can't book gigs and writers can't get published. Oh, sure. There's self publishing. But, it's not the same, is it?


When I was a kid, in the writing sense, short stories, articles, novellas and tomes were sent to publishers who rejected them over and over until someone took a chance. When that happened, lo and behold the author became a published writer. And, that's the thing. Someone who's supposed to know something liked your work enough to validate it with publication and all the self gratifying perks that came with it. Making the next logical step international acclaim, voluminous sales and an address on easy street. Right? Yeah, right. But, even if riches never materialized the book was in the lexicon of eternity, registered with the Library of Congress and forever etched into the pantheon of time. It was tactile. It was substantial. It was on the bookshelf!


More importantly, there was an overgrown path cut through the forest of confusion with, at least, a glimpse of the promised land. A way to go. The way things were done. There are no more glimpses. In the age of e-commerce, everything's up for grabs. Even the grabbing. Which is why self publishing has entered the main stream. Don't think I'm ruling it out categorically. But I'm working for a more satisfying result.


I just read a book written by a friend of mine. No my cup of tea, you understand, but she's a friend and I wanted to support her. Naturally, I checked the rights page to see how she got it published. Self, that's how. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for anyone who finishes a book, let alone takes the plunge. And, she has three hundred five pages dedicated to her enduring legacy. So, well done. But, for me, the ultimate prize will come when a publisher thinks enough of one of my stories to bind it between hard covers and sell it like it's the holy grail.


Part of being a writer, or actor, or musician is knowing someday will come. I'm lucky enough to have a literary agent who drips my stories to publishing houses like ancient Chinese water torture. And, hopefully, we'll get more than name, rank and serial number. Someday. At least with nine books in my pocket I can answer the inevitable follow up, "What else you got?"



 

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©2018 by Alistair McKenzie