Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Nut up, writers
Tommy McClain, "Before I Grow Too Old" at the 2010 Swamp Pop Festival. Watch for the finger guns at the end.
Earl Hooker, The Moon is Rising
Media announcement: My praise of the Art Melt (finally getting its act together) and the Swamp Pop Festival are up in this week's installment of The Record Crate blog for 225.
Re: writerly concerns and a brewing hubub in the write-o-blogosphere - I feel for the guy whose work got accepted by the Paris Review and then was cut by a new editor who took over the position of the one that accepted his piece because this happened to me once. I told everyone I could find once I heard a particular story of mine was getting published in a prominent magazine. I would do the same thing should a writer's-bio-line-item magazine like Paris Review give me some attention, and was devastated when I got the news that it was cut from the issue.
It was a story that, at the time, felt like an arrival, writing-wise. In some ways I still feel that way about it, but I had to come to terms with it being cut, and can now see why it was. I still enjoy a good relationship with the magazine, and perhaps a better one with my writing because the incident hammered home that the whole thing is not about me, it's about the work. The work is what a magazine wants, despite the hero worship and sniping that goes on among writers at all levels. The readers are also what a magazine wants - they actually need both - and a good editor builds the best possible bridge between them, even when it involves making some seemingly cold-blooded choices.
Nut up, writers. There is a saying about academia that applies here: the tensions are so high because the stakes are so low. It seems like the end of the world, end of your career, a nullification of all that your heart wants, but it isn't. It's just not what one person wants at that one time, and it's up to you to do something with it from there. I'm telling myself as much as anyone reading for when it happens again.