Wednesday, March 5, 2008

the right word

A dear friend of mine recently replied to an email I'd sent him. He was one of the very first readers of my first novel -- read the whole thing in two days (of course, it was about 20,000 words shy of today's manuscript, but still...), and he had just known me for those two days. Since then he's become one of my biggest fans. Mind you, in terms of fiction, I write chick-lit. I know. I know the kind of respect chick-lit gets. I know the reputation it has. My fiction does not move mountains and will not be on any reading lists at Harvard (unless Harvard creates the chick-lit course, and if so, sign me up!!). But, it makes people laugh and even think, and that's most important to me. Heck, it makes me happy.

Anyhoo, I digress. I brought up this point because this guy is *not* a chick-lit reader. He's a geologist. He's one of the leading experts on Mars geology. He's a scientist and brilliant. And he digs my writing.

Back to the email. I'd sent him my most recent manuscript, a sequel to the first novel. I also told him about my progress w/ getting an agent. Slow, of course. In turn, he offered these words of support: Hang in there, go with your heart, and keep producing those loving manuscripts. The recognition will come.

What so moves me about this is his referral to my manuscripts as "loving." Wow. He nailed it, too. Talk about the right word...

As far as I'm concerned, writing is a selfish act, a social act, or a spiritual act, sometimes all at the same time. I doubt my good friend meant "loving" in the spiritual sense (he's an atheist), but that's what it means to me. Even when it's not working, when I'm struggling, when I wanna throw my laptop out the window, I know that it's not just a cognitive brain function. It's not just a cultural product of language. It's not just a psychological need to be liked or recognized or remembered. Something happens in the process of creation. Many musicians and artists will tell you the same thing. They don't know where it comes from, or how it happens. The thing just wants to be born. And that's the connection it makes with the recipient or the witness of it. Magical, I guess, in a mystical sort of way.

So thanks, dear friend. As far as I'm concerned, you've touched on the best part of me, and my writing, in your own words.


Sarah said...

ooh, i want to know what he says about the sequel!

The Purple Panda said...

So do I! It may be some time, though, since he's slammin' busy.