This past week, a wonderful NYT-bestselling author, who's been in the business for decades, commented on the inherent irony that publishing is an industry in which nobody really has any control, but just about everyone involved (from editors to writers, etc.) are "overachieving control freaks." I couldn't help but find that painfully funny...and unbelievably accurate.
And then, this morning, a writer on one of my loops pointed us toward this essay by Dani Shapiro. In it, Shapiro quotes a number of thought-provoking phrases from the founder of the New American Review, editor Ted Solotaroff, mostly about the struggle writers have to gain experience in this industry while dealing with the "miserable trifecta: uncertainty, rejection, disappointment."
This was my favorite passage, Solotaroff writes (as quoted by Shapiro), "Writing itself, if not misunderstood and abused, becomes a way of empowering the writing self. It converts anger and disappointment into deliberate and durable aggression, the writer's main source of energy. It converts sorrow and self-pity into empathy, the writer's main means of relating to otherness. Similarly, his wounded innocence turns into irony, his silliness into wit, his guilt into judgment, his oddness into originality, his perverseness into his stinger."
We are in the midst of yet another blizzard here. It's making me angry, and that emotion has yet to be conterted to any useful writerly quality. Furthermore, I feel I control the publishing industry about as well as I control this snowstorm... But, I'm going to bury myself in my little imaginary world today and work on the tiny screen of life--however fictional--over which I do have some small measure of influence. I hope this will relieve, convert or otherwise dispel the building frustration in some productive way.
And if all else fails, I also see hot chocolate in my future.
What are you all doing today??