Bringing a book out of the protection and anonymity of a computer’s files to be read under the light of a stranger’s lamp, is a humbling experience. It is a one-sided exposé of an author’s creativity, ideas and ability to entertain on the stark printed page. Adding to that is the reality that words cannot be “taken back” or revised to be made clearer. Unsupervised and without background, the reader coldly makes a decision on the worth of what’s being read.
Experiencing the giddy excitement of books being published has secured my latent addict tendencies. There’s the desire to write that can have the sensation of body weakness and a mouth-watering sensation of “needing” followed by hard work to get a choice of drug into my system. Or, in the case of writing, out of my system and onto the page. Once accomplished, the satisfaction is not fully met until publication when just as I’m ready to languidly lay back and enjoy being satiated, I meet the eyes of fellow addicts and teetotalers who read my work. Alternately approving and judgmental, there I am, exposed with little opportunity to explain or defend without sounding like I’m whining.
Once printed, writing is a commodity, a product on the market that stands or falls on its own merit. Or when lucky, it is buttressed by successful advertising that has an ability to buy friends.
Writers consider themselves “attuned” sensitive folk delving deep into their innards so others may be elucidated, entertained or otherwise made to spend twenty dollars on us and if they are not, our feelings are very hurt. I understand the glowy look of writers who want to be published, and so their curiosity and goal can be satisfied, I hope they are. Some writing is extravagantly loved and becomes a classic, while others quickly fade away. Either way the author has the product that was wrenched from his gut to hold in his hand, so maybe being hurt our work isn’t fully appreciated is a hazard to be reckoned. And, I’ve learned, everything I write should be used as a shaping tool to improve the next project. Do I want to do my work well or hear compliments? Both is not always an option.