Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Why Aren't Good Things Good for Everyone? (Or Why Isn't Everyone A Cumberbabe?)
Do any of you remember that part in The Office where Pam is talking about how Jim's new girlfriend doesn't like her and she says something like "I just hate the thought of anyone not liking me. I mean, I think even the Taliban, that if they actually met me and got to know me they would like me." Sometimes I feel like that. Okay, all the time.
But with writing specifically, I think we always want all our work to be loved and adored by EVERYONE. I get to feeling like that and want everyone to know about my work and then I think of some of my favorite things and remember that even people who have read Wallace Stegner don't love him. I don't understand it, but it's the truth.
I guess it's just something I personally need a reminder of every once in a while, and it's something interesting to think about philosophically. Sherlock is Good. All the Little Live Things and Persuasion are Good. But not everybody loves them, which says a lot more about us as humans then it does about the books and art and shows and music. We are all different, and we all need to hear and feel different things at different times, and some things just click while some things don't. Maybe that isn't a novel idea, but it makes things look a little more beautiful.
So our job as writers is to reach those people who we connect with, and help them feel less lonely in the world. If we do our best work there will be plenty. I also think the best way to reach the largest audience is to write a wide variety. Focus on our contemporary novel, yes, but also write YA and picture books and middle grade and maybe romance and articles for magazines and a non-fiction book and maybe some personal essays and short stories too. Not just to get a wider audience, but to stretch ourselves as artists as well.
Anyway, those are my thoughts for the day...yours?