My Novels

Friday, January 24, 2003

So far it seems all the strays survived the cold last night. Old fellow (the one who stays here most) was out there this morning, and it was only 8 degrees! He was hungry, so I fed him and then several others came to eat as well. Today it's a brilliant sunshiny day, and the temp has climbed up to about 33, which is not as bad as yesterday. I still didn't bike, but used the ski machine earlier. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will improve, and I can go on my bike ride.

The novel I just finished, A Bigamist's Daugher By Alice McDermott was a good read -- especially since the theme was about fiction writing and writers, editors, vanity publishing, etc. The protagonist is a female editor at a Vanity Press, and makes some wry, accurate comments about most writers, whether they are successful or not.

Here's the few excerpts I liked... Concerning a male writer with whom she later has an affair:
"His questionnaire says he's submitted to all the major houses, the real publishers, and was turned down by each one. It doesn't say why. It says he finally decided to come to Vista because he feels a writer should believe in his work enough to pay to have it published. He also adds that Stephen Crane published his own first works himself, and he's always admired Stephen Crane.

She sits back, lights a cigarette. She recalls having read it all before, just yesterday probably, but it had no meaning then. She reads hundreds of these backgrounds a week, hundreds of letters from people with books that Vista simply must publish, no matter what the cost. Housewives with desks full of poetry, businessmen with exposes they're sure will change the world, old people, so many old people, with memoirs and philosophies they want urgently to be preserved, recorded. So many pathetic people with dreams of immortality and a spot on "The Tonight Show."

She thinks of their books, life stories told again and again, printed on cheap paper, piled in damp stockrooms, returned to sender. She said she didn't blame them for writing the books. Lovers do it for each other. Making sense isn't such a bad dream. It's the clamoring for fame and fortune that makes them ridiculous, the way they blow their material.

I somewhat agree with these passages. I used to write constantly; it became my REASON for existence. I still write, but rarely as much fiction as before. But even when I was writing fiction daily, I never dreamed of being a best-seller or even getting published. I DID want to share my work, and the internet allowed me to do that by posting my work FREELY. In fact, the novels I now have epublished came about because an editor found my website, contacted me and asked to epublish several. I agreed, but still haven't made a lot of money. Fiction writing should NOT be about writing for fame and fortune; it should be something you do for the LOVE of it, and perhaps to make sense, create order out of the random chaos and meaninglessness of human life.

Another insightful excerpt:

He says, "To me art, especially literature, alone is immortal. Nothing else lasts. Even science can become outdated and obselete; even political and social achievements. Even love. To me, " he says, "to stop writing would not only be to admit defeat, it would be to admit death. To say there is no hope for immortality."

I fear that such a motive for creative writing would be an exercise in futility. I mean, how much fiction is immortal? Very little. And even that which is great literature...well, it will perish with the human race. Of course, I sincerely believe the human race is doomed -- it's just a matter of time till all comes to nothing. Either we'll destroy ourselves (I place high bets on this) or the cosmos will cease to exist. There is no such thing as immortality, and chasing after it (though giving an illusion of meaning to some lives) is pointless.

Ah well, that's my own philosophy. And to each their own opinion. Oh, and by the way, if you read some of the reviews at, you'll see that most people can't endure a good dose of grim reality, like this novel delivers.

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