Thursday, May 14, 2009
A Pivotal Question
Last evening, as I detailed in my previous post, I attended the panel discussion, Breaking In: How to Get an Agent and a Publisher. An interesting thing happened, however, after the discussion ended and the panelists began taking individual questions. Denise Marcil, the literary agent of the forum, had positioned herself in the rear of the program room, leaving the young adult author and novelist at the table. I made my way back to speak with her, interested in her views on the remarkable,somewhat daunting changes in the literary world over the past decade or more. We spoke briefly, at which time, she asked me the inevitable question: "What sort of things do you write? What is your genre?' Well, I write everything. The genre is of little importance to me, for I take what is happening in my life, my head, in the world around me and place it in the most appropriate form. How I write is not so important as what I write. (Or should it be the opposite?) In short, the question always stumps me; thus, I find myself stuttering and stammering to try to give some cohesive answer that doesn't make me sound like an indecisive fool. She listened patiently, was very encouraging, then--after a brief pause--said, "Well, I would ask you, 'what is your passion?'" My knee-jerk reaction? "Writing." Still, I have spent most of the night and three hours of my morning (during a two-hour walk and one-hour hike up a winding forest trail--I cannot say enough about the benefits of physical activity in clearing the mind and stimulating creativity, people!) attempting to answer that question. The result: I realized just how much of my original "passion" I had allowed to cool. Writing no longer drives me as it once did. It somehow fails to feed, to excite, to thrill, and to fulfill as it once did. In the beginning, I thought nothing could cool the ardor of my ever intensifying love-affair with words and images. Now, I see that time and life and frustration and loss of confidence can and did! None of us can afford to lose that passion. Therefore, I am setting out to rekindle my "romance" with my writing. As I embark on this journey of renewal and rediscovery, I ask you this: What is your passion?