Thursday, December 31, 2009

Know Your Rights

These are the things:

Love.

A warm, dry place to live.


Food.

Freedom.

Companionship.

Time to enjoy these things.

I am reminded of the song by The Clash, "Know Your Rights", about imposed limitations.

These are things I think of when I stop to review my life until now.

The only real path to freedom in the western world is through money. It opens the doors and allows you access to the road without having to worry about freezing to death, starving to death, or being arrested for being poor.

I was pondering my writing life.

I started writing fiction when I was eight years old. I was spurred into this by my third-grade buddy, Billy Bridges. We would write Godzilla stories and exchange them. But I quickly grew bored with Godzilla and moved on to writing stuff about my own inventions.

When I was in my mid-20s I started trying to sell my work. It was time to get serious about it. At first, I managed to place short works in magazines that paid in copies. Later, I sold tales to small press publications that paid anywhere from 1/2 cent per word to 3 cents per word.

All the time I was at this work, I would wonder what it would be like to:

sell my first story...(it was nice)...

sell my first comic script...(a great achievement for me)...

appear in a hardback anthology...(that one was electric)...

appear in a mass market paperback anthology...(I loved seeing it on the shelves in the bookstores)...


have a story in a widely circulated newsstand magazine...(Hey...almost famous!)...

edit an anthology...(a special kind of satisfaction)...

sell a novel (that was indeed a rush).


I kept thinking that each of these goals would electrify me and fill me with contentment and satisfaction. But as I reached each goal, I just kept wanting to hit the next mark, climb the next peak, see over the following ridge.

The novel sale to Five Star and seeing it in hardback in 2006 was truly a thrill. But I still wanted to keep moving. I wanted to sell another novel, of course, but more than that I wanted to move out of the smaller publishers and into the realm of one of the big, New York publishing firms.

Now I've done that. It feels really good to achieve that goal. I've been chipping away at this slab of marble for almost thirty years. It's taking shape, at long last. Eventually, I'll reach my next publishing goal. I won't say here what it is, but I've got a feeling I'll reach it.

I'm single-minded that way.

2 comments:

Tracy said...

All amazing accomplishments. As I told someone today, a writer's ego is never filled. It is a good thing, because it is often what keeps pushing us to the next level.

HemlockMan said...

Always.