Pages written since last post: 4 (most of them e-mails to my agent)
In a recent television special based on Michael J. Fox’s bestseller Always Looking Up, the question was posed: How can it be that, in the midst of the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression, the majority of Americans polled report that they are more hopeful now than ever? And later, Fox observes that in his own industry, acting, 99% of participants fail to make a living– yet almost every actor describes himself as an optimist. Is there something about the arts that attracts only optimists? Not if Chopin (manic-depressive), Van Gogh (there was that little cutting-off-of-the ear thing) or Hemingway (alcoholic) are examples.
I think the answer may lie in the fact that the view from the bottom is, well, always up. The reason Americans feel hopeful now is because most people realize there’s no place to go but up. The reason those who try to make their living in the arts describe themselves as optimists is because, if they were not, they quite simply could not stay in the business.
Today I start work on my seventeenth book this year alone. Some of those "books" were one-paragraph long and never made it past my agent’s hard drive. Some were developed into 100-page proposals so that they could be officially rejected by every publisher in New York. One is even now rolling off the presses all bright and shiny, where it will decorate bookstores everywhere this fall... And disappear before Christmas.
But you just never know. This could be the one. Things could turn around any day now. After all, it’s happened before. And isn’t doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results the very definition of hope?
Or wait. Maybe that’s the definition of insanity:)