In my last entry, I mentioned "The Rejectionist" as one of my faves. Today The Rejectionist (I'm not sure if it's he or she, since it is written in a mysterious "we") has an interview with Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket. I'll let you read the whole interview here. But I will transcribe my two favorite questions (questions in quotes, his answers in italics, my responses in parentheses):
"Living as a broke fiction writer in New York: totally overrated, or deeply formative?"
Both, absolutely. I only survived those years by convincing myself that they would look glamorous and bohemian in retrospect. Sometimes they do but not often enough. (Definitely....not...often...enough...)
"Your first novel was rejected thirty-seven times, according to your Wikipedia entry (in retrospect, the idea that The Basic Eight is "too dark" seems almost quaint). We wouldn't have rejected it, because it's awesome. Anyway, what kept you going before your unexpected success as Lemony Snicket? Were you ever tempted to throw in the towel as a writer?"
I was sorely tempted but could not think up anything else to do. This is how it is for most writers I know - they soldiered on simply because there was no Plan B.
(how many times have I said to friends, "I just can't think of anything else I want to do"?? How many times????!! And I go to Craigslist or Monster or job search websites or headhunters--I have a Master's, for crying out loud--and think, but would I want to spend the rest of my life doing that? Is that better than writing? Would I like it? and inevitably, the answer...is NO. Sigh. It's commitment, baby, with a touch of narcissism and a soupcon of insanity. And it's good to know I'm not alone.)