Friday, July 13, 2012

July Theme: Writers' Fireworks

I didn’t go see the fireworks this year. It was just too dang hot to press up against a bunch of strangers and ooh and ahh and slap mosquitoes.

And that’s too bad, because I really love them. I love the surprise each time one explodes into a shower of unnaturally-colored light. I love the concussion you feel in your chest when you’re close, and I love the way our neighborhood gathers on a hill where we can’t really see them very well but we’re far enough away that the little kids don’t get scared, and someone always has a boom-box tuned to the symphony playing the hokey 1812 Overture.

It’s kind of like the fireworks that writers get. When we have success—a great review or a foreign-rights deal or unexpectedly high sales—it’s always a surprise, even if it’s happened before and even if everyone assures us it will happen again. And we feel close to a bunch of strangers (someone who writes to tell us how much a book meant to them, a critic who gets and approves of what we’ve written) and near-strangers (fellow writers who know what we’re going through when a character refuses to do what we need them to do, an agent we’ve never met in person who bucks us up through rejections, an editor who passes on a project but asks to see something more).

We don’t celebrate our personal fireworks often enough. Maybe we’re superstitous—afraid that if we do, the next one will be a dud.
So here’s one for you, writers! Enjoy any fireworks that come your way, be they huge Roman candles or merely a handful of sparklers!

4 comments:

  1. I was in the same sweltering boat on the 4th, Tracy--I wound up watching a nearby country club's fireworks through my back door! I also completely agree--we just don't celebrate those personal fireworks enough...

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    1. Sometimes I get Sally Field's "You like me--you really like me!" despite its goofiness. She said that she was determined to enjoy the award because it's so easy to focus on the rejections, bad reviews, etc. I really hear that!

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  2. You are so right about the not celebrating enough. It's very strange, this business. So much delayed gratification.... I think that makes fireworks always feel premature?? We already see the next mountain. Thanks for your post!

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    1. It's almost like we're afraid to celebrate, because the next stinky Amazon review will bring us right down, and as you say, there's such a delay between sending off the finished ms. and any kind of reaction!

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