3.26.2009

Exhibit 17.14

There was a question asked in the comment section of the last post. Shockingly it was not 'Who is Julio Pimental?' but instead a sincere question about writing. I am much more qualified to answer the question about Julio Pimental, but, sadly, these things aren't up to me.

The question:

Do you think that if one is an aspiring writer and his or her writing style is more like that of Meg Cabot (author of The Princess Diaries) than of anyone else, he or she should abandon all dreams of literary greatness and resign himself or herself to a life of prosaic high school teacherhood?

Anonymous in Albuquerque

Okay, so I made the name up. Still, while I could have passed something like this onto Anders Landers (who would be equally adept at fielding the Julio Pimental question, by the way), I decided to answer it myself. It's a good question.

My answer:

Hmm.

Well, I would say there's no dichotomy there. Teach high school. Don't teach high school. Write literary fiction. Write popular fiction. None of these things (even the last two) are really mutually exclusive.

Nor are they necessarily things one should ever have to resign oneself to. The only bad choice, at least as far as writing is concerned, would be to do something that doesn't interest you (a different, smarter person would probably substitute "make you happy" for "interest you").

The rest of it just stuff (stuff to pay the bills, stuff to satisfy your ego, stuff to keep you busy, etc.) Most of the time the writing is just stuff, too, but if you're writing what you want to write, it will at least be your stuff. And if it's your stuff, you've found a way to put a little bit of yourself into the world.

I have no doubt most people find something similarly special in their lives (more than a few from teaching high school, no doubt).

It's a good thing though, the only true thing, really, and it exists outside of publications or conceptions of "literary greatness" or even whatever one does for a paycheck.

You do that, you'll be alright.

Thus ends the first installment of my new favorite segment on this blog: Adam Peterson answers random, anonymous questions.

I'm not in any way being facetious. I enjoyed this.


So that was my answer. I thought I'd post it because, like I said, it's a good question and I didn't figure anyone would ever see it in the comments. I also know others probably have answers they'd like to share. Okay, I don't know this or even suspect it, but it seems like the thing to say.

Feel free to ask your own random, anonymous question on future posts. If you don't, I'll just keep writing about clowns.

I'm still sad about the clowns.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear blog-host,
Why is it that every boutique publication, such as the cupboard et. al., insist on forcefully unrelated clipart and silhouette graphics for their cover/imagery? Is it the whole artsy theme?
Bigger question: What sort of thought process goes into cover art for a book/publication?

Horny in Helena-

Note: As my first question is mild and related to your area of expertise, subsequent inquiries will be mostly distasteful, if you couldn't tell from my middle-school humor handle. I made it up on the fly. Its funny because of the alliteration. Also, everyone in Helena is horny. Thats funny too.

A. Peterson said...

Dear Horny in Helena,

What a fantastic question. Very, very fantastic. I can only speak for The Cupboard--which has, in time, gotten away from such nonsense. Except on our blog. Where we are all about such nonsense--but you're right to think it is about projecting an air of artiness (unearned or earned) at the expense of creating a unified work.

Also, and more importantly, clipart, silhouette graphics, line drawings, and the like are easily accessible on the Internet. This is particularly handy if you can't draw. We at The Cupboard cannot draw. We at The Cupboard can, or at least could, violate someone's intellectual property rights with only the smallest amount of remorse.

(I'm joking. A little. We only took images that we thought no one would miss. Oh, and we did often times have a real designer. I probably should have mentioned that earlier).

The new, non-anonymous Cupboards always have original artwork covers. We locate graphic designers to do these for us. Then we beg and beg until they say yes.

They usually don't say yes right away.

That was fantastic. Thank you.

derspete said...

how comfortably you assume the role of sage counsel, friend of mine. were i to write such thoughtful blog posts, well, perhaps i'd write more blog posts! so pleased you're adding yet another fine service to this delightful blog--

yours on the dl, in omaha or even at the elbow doctor,
best,
andrés piementelerson