Read-a-thon was yesterday. It was awesome! It always is.
Week 1 went down without a hitch. Reached page 138 in the 10% cut edit. As I said, this was the easy part. The rest of the manuscript is messier. Or at least I expect it to be. I’ve been enjoying Divine Fire and *really* enjoying the change in novels. Even if this is an editing/revision pass.
H is for Helene Hanff and Harlan Ellison
It sounds kind of stupid, but when I was a kid, I didn’t realize that writers were people. They were, in a weird way, just another name in the book. It certainly didn’t occur to me that *I* could write stories and be a name in one of those books. I liked making up stories. Instead of playing house, I liked making up the further adventures of my favorite sci-fi characters. But writing stories down? People did that?
In high school, two writers entered my life.
I always enjoyed the interplay between books and film. When I saw that one of my favorite actors, Anthony Hopkins, had been in a movie based on a book, I tracked down the book. This was 84 Charing Cross Road. The author, a book lover, felt like a kindred spirit. I chased down more of her books, not easy in 1990s Omaha, NE. Helene Hanff wrote with an unabashed voice about life as a writer. About being poor, out-of-work, and finding success in an unlikely way. This was a person. Like me. Who was a writer.
In 1992, the Sci-Fi Channel was launched. A joyous time for my mom and me. Star Trek, the original Dark Shadows, Night Gallery, and they had their very own news show! (This was back when the Sci-Fi Channel was pretty cool.) One of the segments on the news show featured Harlan Ellison. He wasn’t too much in my mom’s library. He wasn’t Clark or Asimov, but he was in the Hugo anthologies. But more importantly, there he was. On the screen. Flesh and blood (more or less). He was telling what it was all about: the stories I read, the ones I watched, got there through hard work. Blood, sweat, and tears. And you were probably going to get screwed over by someone along the way. Nothing magical about writing and getting paid to do it. That made the process more real, more of a possibility.
In the end, that’s what I needed, looking back. I needed writing to be something that people did. Like my dad going to work for the railroad every day, there was no mysticism and little romance. It was valid.