Read it and write

The college I went to was hardly bigger than my high school. I knew H. vaguely. She was the good friend of my friend’s friend. But we never really talked until senior year, when we had a class together. I forget how it happened, but all of a sudden we sat down to talk and realized we had the same dream.

We both wanted to work in publishing. This seems normal to many young women in the Northeast; but we met at a Midwestern college, where according to the career center you had only two options. Save the world or go get a corporate job. Although I wished the world the best, I was interested in neither career path. But H. and I talked about publishing. We talked through the presses in the nearest city, both agreeing we would work at the Lutheran press, even though we were Jewish. It seemed as if we had so much in common.

I did not stay in touch with H. after college, but Facebook changed that. H. had gotten an MFA. She married her college boyfriend (a man who I knew only by name). She was working on a fiction manuscript. I was working on my poetry manuscript and the memoir. And then she got her book published.

Some of my MFA classmates have published books. None of them have become an Indiebound bestseller like my college friend. However, the book has been at the bottom of the pile of my office for six months. The first few pages seemed dense and I never quite got into it. I figured some day I would pick it up and persevere. Tuesday I’m going On Vacation. Lord knows I won’t get within 10 feet of an airplane without two thick books that I know I will like.

Enter H.’s book. I sat down and read the first chapter. Yes, it’s a little slow, but it picks up. I can understand why she chose that writing style (it’s historical/magical fiction). But the writing is excellent, and the sense of shape and storytelling? All there. Unlike some of my grad school classmates, the ones I liked less, I am beyond pleased by how well things are going for H. It is deserved. And it’s making me think.

If H. has a book, surely it’s time for me to get off my ass and get back to the page?

Who makes you want to write?

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6 responses to “Read it and write

  1. Zadie Smith, Franzen, Eggers, Elizabeth Gilbert. All for different reasons though. It isn’t always about their actual writing for me. Sometimes it’s seeing how seriously they take writing, a life dedicated to art and its many forms, and I get that gut feeling that screams, “Yes! Do this damn thing already. “

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