When I started this blog, I naively thought it would be a nice – if necessary – adjunct to the novels I was sure to publish soon enough. My goal was simple: review the books I love (crime, noir, working class fiction, some translation, the net was cast wide), maybe throw in a craft article or two, and then sit back and welcome the entrée these brain droppings would give me into the specific world of fiction that I love so much.
Things haven’t quite worked out the way I wanted.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before:
First novel looking for a home
The daily feeling that I’ve disappointed the agent who’s worked so hard to get me where I wanted to be
Next book is humming along, but feels like it might not be done for months or years or, if things really go sideways, never. At this point, there is no doubt left about the limited number of inevitabilities in life.
I feel like a lurker, unable to really engage with the authors and presses I dearly love reading. They call it impostor syndrome, which is one of those 21st century marketing terms for the unease all of us have felt doing something for which we feel inadequate. I reject the term (add it to the list: disruptor, influencer, funnel, ad nauseam…literally) but claim the symptoms.
But a funny thing happened on the way to my self-loathing.
Over the weekend, I drove a few hours south to Hoboken, New Jersey, sat in the backroom of this amazing soccer bar named Mulligans, where Jason Pinter and the fine folks of Polis Books were holding a Noir at the Bar event.
The list of readers was impressive, and included my buddy John Vercher (NB: Polis will publish his kickass debut novel, Three Fifths, through its imprint Agora Books in September, so keep your eyes open for that) and a murderer’s row of crime writers.
I had a blast. Hobnobbed with working, successful writers, soaked in the literary atmosphere, celebrated my friend’s success.
And in the process, felt a re-kindling of energy and excitement I hadn’t felt in a while.
I told John today that I still felt a sense of elation since the event. Like I’d been part of something really great and affirming as a writer. I most appreciated that all of the successful writers I met, some reading that night and others between books, were first and foremost doing the work.
They all still had that love of the written word that had nourished me my whole life. Seeing it personified in these people was an elixir.
I’m going to emulate them.
Rather than envisioning this blog as a mere cog in a platform (for which there is little to no need at the moment), I’m going to use it as a way to keep that feeling, to stay engage, to remind myself that the first rule is do the work.
Expect to see essays here on writing, reviews of books both new and old (basically, whatever has my eclectic reading attention at the moment) and some sharing about the trials and tribulations of the best life out there, the writing life.