We have the same routine around here every morning. Little Guy wakes up, the Mother Unit heads in to get him up and going, while the Father Unit trundles downstairs to get the morning sippy cup ready. Coffee pot gets initiated. Loving but troublesome-at-3:30AM kitty is granted parole from the garage. Then, we all settle in on the couch for a half hour of tv time.
My wife and I were just talking about how amazing it is that we’ll sit there and actively watch a movie that we’ve seen roughly 847 times. Toy Story is the latest obsession but the list includes Turbo, Madagascar, Rio, Planes, Cars, and The Land Before Time.
(And, btw, Toy Story came out twenty years ago. TWENTY. Tom Hanks was as old as I am now when Toy Story was released in theaters. That’s…stunning.)
Let me repeat: we will actively watch them. As if we’re not seeing the exact same thing we watched yesterday morning. We still laugh in the same spots, and honestly…get choked up in the same spots.
I know this is the burden of every parent with a toddler (or multiples) scampering through the house, but my point is, that’s a sign of great storytelling, great movie-making, character development, etc. The longevity of any story is one of the strongest factors and whether that’s through seeing something multiple, multiple times, or a single instance that sticks with you thirty years later… is left up to your definition of “longevity” at the moment.
For me, personally, The Princess Bride will never get old. Probably lost count how many times I’ve seen it a decade ago with multiple viewings since. I read Lonesome Dove back in high school, one time, and it’s still one of those novels that absolutely sticks out in my head twenty years later.
I probably haven’t had enough coffee for this to be as profound as I’d like, but you get what I’m saying, right? Being endured (in a good way) or being remembered… I think that’s what every creator strives for. I know it’s how I approach my writing, and it was fun this morning to have that little epiphany over coffee while I listened to Buzz Lightyear say, “To infinity…and beyond!” for the 639th time.
Holy cow. First, my stomach hates me, so yeah, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. =) If you’re dropping by here from the U.S., I hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. Today, after some errands and avoiding any and all shopper-filled locations, I foresee multiple naps. Perhaps some leftovers as well, as long as I can roll myself into the kitchen.
Starting next week, I’m back to editing SKYNOISE before it goes to the editor the following week, and then I hope to have it available before the end of the month. If you’d like to preview the first five chapters, click below:
Other than that, I have my own little Black Friday special going, and if you’d like to grab a copy of the entire SARA series, plus the companion novella One More Game, it’s only $1.99 through November 30th.
Y’all stay awesome, and keep your eyes peeled for the release of Skynoise soon! Sign up for the email list over there on the left.
Interior – Day
The author sits alone in his hotel room, tapping away on a laptop. Outside, the faint hum of I-5 traffic provides the soundtrack of progress. The coffee to his left tastes like it someone filtered it through two-day-old campfire ashes. He’s disappointed. He misses his coffee back home.
The sun! The sun! Eureka! It peeks through the clouds.
The author decides he would roll up his shirtsleeves if he had any. Time to get back to work, he thinks.
Reading over his shoulder, the kindly blog reader asks, “Get back to work on what?”
One of the highlights of a writing career, aside from interacting with amazing fans and seeing how you affect readers with your words, which really is the best part, is recognition. It’s nearly impossible to say authors aren’t motivated by having people say, “Ya did good, kid.”
We tell stories because we have a story inside us, yearning, yearning, I say, to get out. Ugh, melodrama. Plus, on some level, you have to be a little bit nuts to pour your heart into something and toss it into the world for others to tear apart. Creative people are gluttons for punishment, huh? It’d be an interesting psychological study if it hasn’t been done already.
Look, some of us are natural born storytellers. Some of us have one great idea, we get it down on paper, and then we’re done. Some of us just like to entertain. Some of us think we can do better than the crappy book we finished reading that morning and set out to prove it to ourselves (and others) that we can. Whatever the case, and whatever camp you fall into as an author, there’s no denying that a pat on the back is evidence of having done something right and having done something well.
I entered my short story Noose (back then called A Noose for Mary) into the Sherwood Anderson Short Story Contest about ten years ago and I placed third. I cried when I got the letter of congrats. True story. I cried because it was the first time I had actual recognition of my writing ability from an outside source. This wasn’t Mom, or an encouraging girlfriend, or even a fellow writer in a university creative writing workshop giving praise for fear of having his or her own work trashed when it came time for their turn in front of the firing squad.
This was real, actual, legitimate, tangible, it-says-right-there-on-the-page confirmation that a stranger thought my work was good enough to be recognized. I can’t say that I wouldn’t have kept writing if I hadn’t gotten that pat on the back, because I was telling my wife the other day that even if we won a gozillion dollars in the lottery we never play, most likely I’d still be telling stories. Granted, I might wake up in a house on Maui, but I’d head for the keyboard like always.
Anyway, the point is, no matter how much you’re told that you shouldn’t care what other people think, when you’re in a career like this, putting yourself out there day after day to be criticized by some stranger on the internet, it’s nice when you get some recognition for your efforts. Same goes for the guy filing his TPS reports. A little attaboy is good for the soul.
I say all that to say this: Super is part of the Kindle Select 25 this week. Someone at Amazon thought enough of the book, and believed in it enough, to toss it in there with some monster names like Judy Blume, Winston Groom (Forrest Gump), Jude Deveraux, Martin Cruz Smith, Barbara Freethy, Blake Crouch, and many others. That’s huge, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
Want to support a starving author? Grab a copy of Super for your Kindle.