Title credit today goes to my friend, writer/photographer/renaissance woman RoseMarie London. (Fair warning, she has an unnatural thing for cowboys and NASCAR.) She used this title as a subject line in an email to me, where she said some really interesting things about how fraught it is being a writer. She’s been on both sides of the game, both with Little, Brown and as an author. RM sent me this:
I just read this quote from Molly Jong-Fast (Erica Jong’s daughter) about her not wanting to be a writer anymore: “And I just don’t have the emotional constitution,” she added, recalling how her grandfather, Howard Fast, had laid in his deathbed worrying aloud about why the NY Times Book Review didn’t like him.
If you read the article, you’ll find that Molly quit writing to become an agent. Which isn’t a new story. In some ways to me, it’s like quitting being the cotton-picker to become the plantation owner. Is that too dramatic? Maybe the agent is the foreman and the publishers are the plantation owners. The point is, I’m back to the power here. (Refer to blog title.) Being a writer is fraught because, though you are the one creating, you’re not the one with the power. Not the one selling, to hearken to my refrain of late. Yet, I think most writers would agree — the ones still in the fields under the hot sun of disregard — that going over to the other side is an abdication.
What’s fascinating to me is, how many agents now are ALSO writers. Check out the website for the Deirdre Knight Agency, if you don’t believe me.
The other thing RM sent me was this link to an article about the Amazon Breakthrough contest. Take the time to read it, really. Or just look at the photo of the fairytale ending. The contest just recommenced this week, taking 10,000 initial entries now. I know quite a few people who plan to do it. (Alert readers may notice a connection to yesterday’s post.) Even if you only skim the first few paragraphs, you will notice a recurring theme. That’s right: power. Who wants it, who has it, who is willing to put themselves through emotional hell to get a piece of it.
What’s love got to do with it?