Saturday, April 21, 2007

Response to Several Posts

I could have used the comments function, but I'm going write a post.

First, about envy. I have it. I manage to keep it pretty far down, often below the conscious level. But it remains, even after all these years, chewing away at me. Why did Jonathan Lethem get a MacArthur Genius Grant? Why couldn't I sell the sequel to my best novel? What has been the point of a fair amount of pretty hard work?

I will grant that I have gotten a certain number of goodies, though very little money. It often does not seem like enough.

Now, on the other hand, when I say I write and people ask if I have published anything, it feels good to say, "Five novels." And if they say -- as one of my coworkers did on Friday, "I'll have to find out more about you," I can say, "Just Google my name. You'll find out plenty." That feels pretty good too.

But the envy and the frustration remain.

As for publishing on the Internet, Asimov's puts award-nominated stories by their authors up on their web site. This is a way of reaching people who haven't yet read the story and might vote for it. They used to mail copies of Asimov's to everyone in SFWA, when they had stories up for the Nebula, but that can get expensive. I have always agreed to have my stories posted. Am I going to say no to Gardner Dozois or Sheila Williams? Not a bit.

I also agreed to the Eleanor Arnason issue of Strange Horizon. A story, a couple of poems, an interview and a critical essay on my work. Am I going to say no to that?

The story had been previous published and reprinted in the Datlow and Windling anthology, but I was willing to give Strange Horizon whatever they wanted. As I remember, they paid. But the point was the exposure.

My boss at my current job found the story on the Internet, and the job -- a Book Center -- ended by using the story for the once-a-year, fine art, handmade book they do. So the story now exists on the Internet and in a handmade book that unfolds to 36 feet and has amethysts set in the cover.

I have several stories on the Internet, due to Asimov's and Strange Horizons and Dave Lenander, who maintains my web page. I figure it does nothing but good for me.

I did mention goodies above. The Internet publications are among my goodies.

I don't know about superstitions, but I buy nice paper and leather folios from Levenger's and fine pens everywhere I can find them. I decided years ago that I was going to use good tools, when I wrote. This reminds me that I am serious about writing.


Anonymous said...

Using good tools means you're serious about writing, what a great idea. My laptop, every day that I use it, is a reminder to me that my husband believed in my ability to make a career out of this that he invested in me. As long as it's about hoisting up your own self esteem and not proving to tohers that you're serious about it.

Oh, and I prefer to use gel pens when writing. The ink is so smooth it feels like I'm painting my words.

Anonymous said...

Ink flow is a huge point for me, too, ML. I either use gel pens, or preferably, one of my fountain pens, which I've selected for ink flow.

The write tools make all the difference.

Eleanor said...

Bill Henry pointed out that I mispelled Jonathan Lethem's name. I have corrected the spelling. It's my Minnesota accent. My vowels blur together. I sometimes think I have only two, broad and narrow, but I suspect there's a third one in the middle. The state with Chicago in it is Ellinoi. The white stuff that many people drink is melk. And Jonathan's last name is Letham.