September 30, 2010

The Forty Two Year Plan

My fantasy, if you were counting fantasies as stuff that matters, goes like this:

"I have a few minor books on the market that generate a modest number of readers and I still get to live the rest and therefore bulk of my life in total and abject obscurity." Hey... a Mission Statement!

To resume...

"Being a microscopic asteroid in the literary cosmos means my personal life and its rhythm doesn't change at all. Nobody bothers with book signings or useless interviews with reporters from the ever-unread Book Section because there are realistic (and therefore zero) expectations that this thing is going to be anything notable enough."

What would tickle me would be a few mentions in obscure compendiums of peripheral literature and a miniscule number of devotees who never take it seriously enough to actually be something stupid like a cult following. That works for me, but of course none of this really doesn't matter as much as my granddaughter.

I know for one that I'd rather have critical acclaim over financial reward if only because I don't think I ever - EVER - considered writing as something that would be "a living." From the time I was in school I always figured it would go side by side with "real" jobs. Plus there's something I've never been able to reconcile - I don't actually want people who think that the mainstream juice being squeezed out the corporate book world is good, also liking what I do. There's something just not right about that. It isn't that I wouldn't want to be read by millions, it's just I have never expected that would be possible. That said there is a niche like this that does actually exist. So it isn't as if I'm on LSD right about here.

My idea of a model would be the guy in the picture over there - though I'm in no way comparing my style to his nor am I saying my stuff will ever carry that kind of cache. But that guy, virtually unknown outside of a small set of people who "get it," is kind of in the back of my mind. That - to me - would be just too cool for words and I can't really explain why. You can do the research on the guy up there if it strikes your fancy. His name is in the jpeg code. That kind of thing doesn't really interest a lot of people, but the more you read on him the more you'll be intrigued.

I'm pretty sure that there are people - even some people close to me - who are going around thinking this is either ridiculous or silly, or that the stuff I do isn't ever going to be good enough because I'm not doing it right, or I'm aiming for the wrong thing, or I'm wasting my time, or whatever other kind of "know-best" they want to foist into my universe (picture me going lalalalalala).

But if you have an idea of how difficult and competitive the publishing world is I think you could see this as a "doable" scenario. If we look at "dreams" as being a thing, this is a reasonable one, I've always felt. And I've been dreaming this dream for 42 years now - from the time, at 14 (wow...) that I knew this is what I really wanted to go for.

I guess it's not like I ever had a five or ten year plan huh?


sybil law said...

A 42 year plan is still a plan. Now make it happen! I want to read.

(Totally going to try and find that guys' stuff!)

sligo said...

writing = plan

RW said...

sybil - every day. day by day. another brick in the wall.

sligo - Just write faster! :-)

B.E. Earl said...

Wow...I believe I've actually seen the stop-motion short film by the Quay Brothers, Street of Crocodiles, that was adapted from a Schulz work.

Had no idea about the man though. Tragic.