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!
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...ReplyDelete
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!Delete
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!ReplyDelete
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!Delete