Of Scaredy Cats and the Angst of Brussels’ sprouts

In Animals, Collages, Contes d'Exil, RLB trivia, Visual artists on December 24, 2009 at 7:05 am

One of the questions I put to myself in writing yesterday was: do I really want to be published or do I just want to dream about it? I wish I could say I woke up with the answer shining forth like a message from the archangels but I didnt. “Being published” has meant such different things over the years. When I was a book-besotted little girl, “being published”  was the equivalent of dreaming myself into existence. In many ways, books and their authors struck me as entirely more dependable than ordinary humans. For one, the author’s face rarely varied from one back cover to the next.  The stories were still there whenever we wished to read them and, no matter what the genre’s requirements might entail, there was some internal logic and coherence to the whole adventure. A story always delivered you safely to the words The End. A good story then provided you with hours of material with which to re-write your own life into some semblance of a satisfactory tale.

I came perilously close to being published for real on two occasions in my younger years and immediately scurried away.   I literally did not follow through on two enthusiastic requests to send in more material, including a personal phone call from one of my idols of the time. Why? Think Groucho Marx and his quip about not wanting to be part of a club that would have him as a member. In other words, in my estimation, the world of published authors would have taken a terrible fall had it opened its doors to the likes of me.

Instead, I played at being published by ghostwriting; it was like acting with a mask on. It spared me the stage fright. I would take  on someone’s speech mannerisms and thought patterns, and spin away with them. In a way, it was fun reading myself in the paper, making pronouncements on any number of topics under this or that person’s name. In another way, I  felt like such a huge and cowardly phony  I gave it up eventually  and concentrated on writing my own material for publication again. Had a few light pieces published in magazines. My “real” stuff was a different matter. My “real” stuff is the equivalent of a kid’s drawing getting laughed at by the grown-ups for whom it was intended. The more I love my  “real” stuff, the harder it gets to send it out.  It’s crazy, I know.  Getting paid for writing things that don’t matter all that much is fine so what’s wrong with risking acceptance of something I wrote with love and care? The answer is pretty obvious: whether accepted or rejected, the ok material doesn’t count. You laugh it off or you spend the money and that’s it. Same difference as going out on dates (for better and worse), versus falling in love maybe. Truth? I’m a chicken. All right, make that a duck; ducks are funnier and they taste better, too (I’m braising one for the Christmas meal. Speaking of braising ducks, please read about the feelings of Brussels sprouts. I know my friend the shy tree would approve of every word.)

Anothe fabulous link today, thanks to someone’s search terms on my community blog: Aurélien Lepage‘s blog kept me entranced for a good while last night. I hope others enjoy it as much as I did. The photo is more footsteps in the snow, this time a local cat who hangs out on the rooftops and drops by for brief visits on the wall next to the kitchen entrance.


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