More thoughts on writing. The idea that I should just concentrate on one genre. At least one genre at a time. And give up this notion that I am fey-touched. Dipped in the river head first and turned to gold. This notion has only held me back.
I did a little poking yesterday. I looked at the New York Times bestseller list and then looked at the first pages of some books and they were absolute dreck. Writing like that would be as difficult as deliberately singing off key. And the funny thing? The James Patterson novel had a great opening, much better than most of the others. Which surprised me. I looked into the first page of Devil Wears Prada and couldn't even read it. Same with Fifty Shades of Stupid.
Then I poked some more, trying to figure out who has published a book like mine. So far I haven't found anyone.
The agent says that the question is, why would anybody want to read Rebecca Cook if they don't already know who she is? And I got to thinking about why I read memoir, why I read so much of it. And it is usually about the story first because it starts with the blurbs on the back and for me most of my reading has been determined by the Dewey Decimal System. For the joy of Dewey in a small library, and I've mostly been in small libraries, is that you find your section and get your groove on. This is exactly like the bookstore. You find your section and you pull the books off the shelf. You look at the cover. You flip the book over and read the synopsis. And if you're me and you probably are, you open the book and read the first few lines. And if you love it you check it out or buy it and take it home. And maybe you'll read it. Sometimes, SOMETIMES I have checked out a book because I loved the author and had already read her. Or someone said hey, you should read her I love all her books. Sometimes I have gone by the title itself. Who wouldn't want to read The Unmaking of a Dancer? Sometimes because the book is necessary and inevitable, like A Separate Peace. The Catcher in the Rye. The Bell Jar. A Wrinkle in Time. Green Eggs and Ham.
I can point to the first memoir I read and I read it because it was included in one of the Readers' Digest Condensed Books in my house. Remember those? The Search for Anna Fischer. I read it over and over and over again. Because it was true. I also read The Little House books over and over again. Because they seemed true. I was a teenager when I fell in love with memoir. I read more memoir when I started teaching creative nonfiction. Then, after my MFA when I was required to read a lot of creative nonfiction/memoir, I pretty much stopped reading fiction and poetry.
So who has written a book like mine? I've no idea. But I would expect that someone would look at the cover, flip it over, flip it open and if they get pulled in, they would read me. That's how I do it. I don't check to see if the book is a bestseller. I don't check out who the author is, if they are somebody. I just look at the cover and then read the first few lines.
I suppose the more important question is, would anyone read my book if they opened it up and were literally bombarded with language? Is language enough? Maybe not.
I must regroup.