Descent of One Man

I recently heard a piece on NPR about the new fad of nanobrewing. And I wonder, is there something going on? What with local food movements, local talent, local beer, local idiots and geniuses, maybe this is a new direction, maybe even the world of books is moving towards niche markets where writers sell to a select few and not loads of people. Or has this always been the case and I just missed it all?

Here’s something daring I just told myself: I like to live in my own mind, regardless of other people. And so why do others seems to dislike this?

“To burn always with this hard, gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.” Walter Pater

What else have I got for you? Big flakes of snow falling in little icy dances. No, that’s passé now.

So, you know how Papa Hemingway always bitched about the heroic struggle of writing, well, I’d say contemporary writers have it a lot worse, Mr. Hem and Haw. Let me explain: we are hardly read as much as Hemingway, we have to fight to get any kind of presence, begging through social media for someone, anyone to buy us, and still we go unknown to the many.

I’m not complaining, no one ever said the writing life is easy, well, besides those who know no better. But sometimes, when I feel like a tiny flea on the back of a very shaggy dog, it’s overwhelming, the insurmountable amount of oblivion you have to endure and then the scrabble and fight to get notice. But then I guess we all have to fight in some way to survive, and writers even more cause you’re selling your tribe of one when most people are sold as a large mass.

I don’t know what I’m yammering on about. Just sometimes I think, God, what an odd life to have to claw my way out of obscurity with no real assurance that anyone is actually gong to buy my book(s). I mean I know people still read, but will they read me? And is writing a good story simply enough now? How do I grab attention for myself without being too ostentatious or even too manipulative or worse obstreperous and having no humility? I know the kinds of writers I’m drawn to read and be excited about, but are there people out there like me who would feel the same about me as a writer? And are controversy and antics the way to go? But how long can that sustain you as a writer until a new court fool comes along and knocks you out?

I think I’ll just hang on like a toenail to this advice that John Cheever gave someone: “All fiction is experimental and don’t get caught up in fads.”

Ok, time to take off my Donegal wool cap and scratch my head.


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