Susan's Blog

Thursday, October 5, 2006

It’s All Oeuvre

Did I disappoint you?
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth?
— U2 “One”

Today I faced up to a couple of pretty big truths. One, I can’t tell you about. But suffice it to say I made a little leap in understanding something about myself and I am feeling pretty good about it. Whatever happens, I am going to be okay because at least now I am clear and honest about how I feel, and about what’s going on.

I went out with Ned for a little coffee after dinner and celebrated my new understanding. Then we watched The Office and had some good laffs.

The other thing I figured out is related to the first in that it involves not forcing something. I have been forcing a book. Raping the muse. Not only that, I have been forcing a marketable book. For me, the only thing more deadly to my creative process than thinking “marketable” is an outline. I hate outlines. It’s strange how, I was sitting here today crying because I was realizing the first Big Truth (see above, and then feel puzzled because you don’t know what the f*** I’m talking about), and I wrote it all down, and then suddenly it was like a dam broke inside of me, and I was crying about my lack-of-book. And then it hit me: I have a God damned book. I have my novel! I wrote that thing all spring and summer and it is done and I have not honored it in the least, because I kept thinking how the next book has to be an Important one. The next book has to either be even more about Autism or about Something Big.

I have completely disregarded my novel as anything serious because I knew I was disappointing everyone. And I knew they don’t sell well. As predicted, my agent was not pleased about the novel idea because “they’re so hard to sell.” My editor was not pleased because she wants a continuation of MPWA. My friend Emily wanted me to snag this opportunity that has fallen into my lap, for a book that would no doubt make me Really Famous because of a certain connection I’ve made, and she knows an agent who can make it happen, etc., etc. I talked to that agent and, yeah, she’s really excited. I feel like EVERYONE wants me to write this Really Important Book, and I should. So I have sat down to write that Big Tome again and again and I just fall asleep. I went to start my Research, and I felt like a fraud. I felt the way I did in grad school, like someone eventually was going to point at me and say, “Ha! Look at her, pretending to do research!”

So then I tried to write it as a Susan Book, not a Big Tome, and I wrote three grafs and then felt only silence in my head. Silence that then made me want to weep. A writer without words is a very sad thing.

So today, while saying to myself about That Which Shall Not Be Named, “Why, why, why?” I, multitasker that I am, also thought about Dirt: A Story of Gardening, Mothering, and a Midlife Crisis. And I thought, a la JFK: “Why not, why not, why not?”

It may not be a blockbuster. It may not be a great literary Work. It isn’t important, and it isn’t the next big thing.

But it’s mine. And it’s already written. Now I should try to make it good. And find a new God Damned agent.


You write for yorself first, right?

Why not polish it? Then find a new agent.

— added by Someone Said on Thursday, October 5, 2006 at 10:44 pm

Ha! Look at you discovering that the actual meaning of life may just be user-defined after all.

Sounds like you might be in a pretty good spot.


— added by Do'C on Friday, October 6, 2006 at 12:17 am

Do it!

And let your blog readers know when it’s coming out so we can shout it from our own little mountaintops! 🙂

— added by Julia on Sunday, November 5, 2006 at 11:12 pm

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