When John Steinbeck stepped up to accept his Nobel Prize in 1962, he declared literature “as old as speech,” and said the “ancient commission” of the writer had not changed. His job: to expose “our many grievous faults and failures, with dredging up to the light our dark and dangerous dreams for the purpose of improvement.”
On what was surely a less formal occasion, Steinbeck said writers are “a little below clowns and a little above trained seals.”
This is the thing with writers – even the great ones must navigate a relationship built on love and hate. There is euphoria and anguish in the process, fear and exhilaration in revealing the work, and delight and agony in reading the reviews.
Validation comes in many forms, from the rare and esteemed Nobel down to a poignant email from reader to author. Technology has changed the landscape — writers these days can find solace and encouragement from any number of online support groups — but the battleground remains constant.
Writers write because it feels natural, even in the worst moments. Some want acclaim; some just want to tell stories. Most like the precision required to arrange the words in a way that will make readers wonder, laugh or get angry enough to keep going. No author wants to write words that no one will read.
That is why I was pleased that an ambitious and dynamic website called, “The Authors Show,” named me as one of “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading.” I even got a seal, though it is not trained.
What’s happened to you lately that got your writing juices going? A book signing? A spike in sales? A great review? Please share here, and include why it matters.