Hello, fellow bibliophiles! This is my first blog from Hemingways in Luneburg, Germany. I will write my blog here every Friday, and hope to bring you some good ones.
It is ironic, to say the least, that there ended up being a Hemingways (bar and restaurant) in such a small city in Germany where I now reside. Then again, it should come as no big surprise. After all, my only #1 bestseller has been PELICAN BAY, which sat next to Hemingway’s OLD MAN AND THE SEA for over a month; I’ve read many of his books; and, I have that famous poster of him on my wall in my new writers studio (you know, the Life Magazine shot of him when he first published Old Man and the Sea; he has that “what else you got?” look on his face). As I write this, I can see images of him all over the walls (with Bogart, fishing, etc.) …
My #1 bestseller in literary fiction/sea adventures, PELICAN BAY, has been it for me. My last two books have utterly flopped (even book 2 to PELICAN BAY; yes, believe it; shit happens in this business). Some days I want to hang it all up, especially on recent days when my book sales look like I barely had any readers to begin with. So why do I carry on?
Here are the 3 Main Things that Keep me Writing
1. I owe the world something.
It owes me nothing. I think the best that we can make of this carnival life is to find what we’re best at and to bring it to the world as best as we can. If we do that, we can be earth angels for a second … a moment … or for however long is written in the stars.
I wrote a song partly about this called, “Angels.” If you like coffeehouse/songwriter type music, check out the movie here.
I found something in Pelican Bay. A longing, a poetic torment, a false-real world from which many could not, nor wanted to, escape, and a morsel of the human experience that I somehow infused into the story. I want to do it again. I believe I can do it again. But even better next time. So I keep trying. In being able to compare PELICAN BAY to my two subsequent failures, I learned something. A secret. I can’t tell you. Yet. Soon.
3. I love it. I really love it.
I know what you’re thinking: why? Writing novels is a sort of beautiful insanity, tantamount to vocational suicide. We research till we’re blue in the face, often even seeking impossible interviews; we have no guarantee if we’ll ever traditionally publish a novel we write, especially whether anyone in the world will want to read it, no matter how long we spend on it (my current novel will take me several years, minimum, to complete and to submit); and statistically, it’s almost impossible to make a living at it (hence, J.K. Rowling about to live under a bridge just before her first HARRY POTTER book sailed, etc., etc.).
Despite all this, I still love it! Perhaps that means I’m a little insane. So be it. It’s just that when the right words come out, we get to be demi-gods for just a moment or so; and I’ve got to tell you something, it’s better than most things in this world. I think readers experience this sensation to some degree, too. Ah, words. Love ’em!
Luckily, I happen to be a musician, and I have an amazing life partner, so I doubt I’ll be writing myself under any bridges.
But I would.
I hope that whatever your passion may be, that you never give up. Don’t quit no matter what. I may never have a bestseller again, but notice that recognition is not one of my three things that keeps me writing (a fringe benefit; for I don’t know any writers who don’t desire a little recognition, respect, and money. I just know it’s out of my control. Absolutely).
Till next Friday here at Hemingways!
Yours in literature,