My daughter called me over to the television the other night. Her favorite author was being interviewed, discussing what it was to finish the series of books that had taken her 10 years to complete. Her books have been credited with invigorating the publishing industry, inspiring a generation of children to read -- and perhaps write--, and making the author one of the richest women in the UK.
I haven't yet read her books, blasphemy I know, so I started to walk away when the interviewer asked the author who she wrote for, the readers? The author's answer was profound. No, she said, for the story. Her vast audience may have wanted some to survive, others to die, but the author said she needed to write to suit the story first and foremost. I took a seat. Then the interviewer asked if she intended to continue writing. Many people watching probably expected her to say no, that her well of creativity had run dry or that she wanted to take some time to enjoy her excessive wealth. Instead, the author said she was already writing another book. She said it was a privilege to write without the expectation of publication.
Think about that for a minute.
I was talking to a friend yesterday and her book is already creating buzz in publishing circles. Her story is the dream many writers have while toiling away, alone, wondering if what they're creating has any merit. My friend's work was sent out on a Friday, and by Monday the offers started pouring into her agent. An auction ensued, trips to New York, meetings with her editor, the publisher, art department. Then the big news, hers would be the lead title. Who among us hasn't wanted to step into that glass slipper? I told my friend about the interview with the author, about the privilege of writing. She agreed. For all of the excitement of getting published, it's the euphoria writing inspires that moves us to our desks each morning. As badly as I want to write a book that will stand on the front table of every bookstore in America and across Europe, what I want more is to continue to enjoy the sheer ecstasy of emerging from my study, knowing I've just composed the best sentence I could.
I simply want to write.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007