CBOOTY – 2006-12-14 11:14 AM Well, now I’ve read the article and I’m confused. What does “literary passion” have to do with being recognized by bell boys? Isn’t literary passion the thing that keeps us all writing when we’ve got to go to our thankless jobs everyday, come home, feed the cat, mow the lawn, give the kids a bath, comiserate with friends who are losing loved ones to cancer at an unbelieveable rate, pay the bills, re-install our internet routers that keep failing, snake the toilet at 2 a.m., etc? Isn’t it literary passion that keeps us writing when everything we send out comes back so fast that we don’t know whether we put it in a mail box or a time machine? With the state of publishing today (even if the O.J. book contract got cancelled), we know that even if we write a masterful novel, it may not get published. If it gets published, it may not get promoted. Passion is all that we can rely on to motivate us. I think we can guilty, though, of limiting our passion to our own writing. How many of us submit to literary journals and never buy a single copy of the journals we expect to accept us? How many poets never buy a volume of another poet’s work? Though I hope they don’t constitute a majority, I’ve met far too many writers who expect their work to be honored without giving that same respect to the very people whose attention they’re demanding. I question any writer who “can’t afford books”. I don’t mean that you should go out and buy hardcover first editions of Stephen King novels with your rent money, but I don’t believe there’s a town in America where you can’t find a thrift shop, garage sale or used book store that doesn’t have some selection of books for a dollar or less. I grieve for anyone whose library doesn’t hold sales of discards and donated books. Even the most avid library patron should own books, should be able to reach for something on the shelf to remind oneself just how Melville phrased that line about the “dark and drizzly November of my soul”. If I’m reading about Eudora Welty, whom I adore, and find that she adored Anton Chekov, then I’ve got to read Checkov. And if I read Chekov, I’ve got to own Chekov for those long nights when the library is closed and I need to read something that’s really, really good. Most of the books I buy are second-hand and my purchases don’t profit the author or publisher. And many of them would be old enough to vote if books had sufferage. But they’re books and I love them and even when I was raising children alone in dire poverty, I knew that we’d be poorer than we were if we didn’t have books of our own in our hands.
Well said, Carol, and welcome to the forum.