Thursday, February 28, 2008

A published author gives advice to impressionable young writers.

During my final semester of college, we had a guest speaker come in to talk to our creative writing class. Although I am not at liberty to divulge the name of said speaker, because I don't remember it, let me just say that he was actually famous. Our (whackjob) teacher, who I will discuss at a later time, was worried that we'd have nothing to ask him and would sit around in uncomfortable silence for three hours, so she required us to bring a list of questions to ask him. It was that period of time when your parents won't stop calling to ask what exactly you're going to do after college and remind you that graduation is mere months away and the buck stops there do you hear me, really, I mean it, so I was looking for a little more guidance than could provide. I took this opportunity to ask him one very important thing that had been on my mind.
"So you must get asked out a lot because you're famous, huh?"
But after that, I had one more enthralling question to pose.
"Purely hypothetical: do you have any advice for writers who are, I don't know, just graduating from school with a degree in creative writing, which will probably be pretty useful as a coaster but not much else, and hypothetically don't know if they should pursue writing as a career because they don't know if they will really achieve their goal of receiving royalties, a book with their picture on it, etc., and depend too much on things like designer blue jeans and electricity, etc. to function without an income?"
And then I took a deep breath and sat down. His response? "Get out. Get out while you still can." He didn't elaborate on the point much further than that. There you have it, folks. When all I needed was a tiny glimmer of hope (a lollipop and a "go get 'em, tiger!" would have done just fine) from someone that has managed to accomplish specifically what I desired most, I felt like he was handing me a proverbial shovel with which to bury my dreams. And bury them deep because you don't want animals digging them up at night.

But in reality, that guy's book probably sucked, because I haven't heard anything about him since, and he probably didn't realize that I have loads and loads of free time and take rejection very well.*

*That's actually pretty far off the mark. I will cry when being criticized on most occasions. But I'm trying to get past that (I'm having my tear ducts removed).

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