Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What's Going On. Today.

So here's where we stand right now:

Right at this moment, on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, I have no current book contracts. None. Zero. Nary a one. Which is interesting, because not that long ago I had four series going at the same time. Those, apparently, were the days.

Now, my extremely talented and dedicated agent Josh Getzler is working on alleviating this appalling circumstance, but until that happens there isn't anything I have an obligation to write aside from the occasional newspaper piece. I'll start teaching again in September, so there's that (which requires more reading than writing), but right now... nothin'.

I know what you're shouting at your screen: 1. Stop whining! You've already had 24 books published! You know how many people don't get one? 2. Just write something for yourself, something you've always wanted to write. Oh, and stop whining.

You're right with both comments (although you might have phrased them a little more charitably). But here's the thing about each: I do this for a living, and while I am inexpressibly grateful for the good fortune I've had publishing books, I need to keep doing so in order to put gas in the Prius. (Even though it uses much less than other cars.) So this waiting period while the noble Mr. G. works on my behalf is excruciating exactly because of its unpredictability. I honestly don't know where my next paycheck is coming from.

As for writing something on spec that I've always wanted to write, I'm reminded of a story Harpo Marx (really Rowland Barber, but Harpo was in on it) told in his autobiography Harpo Speaks!, which is really good and should be read by all.

Harpo was friends with Alexander Woollcott, the famous theater critic, essayist, radio host and you-name-it in society in the 1920s through 40s. And Woollcott liked to mix up the people he knew, so he invited Harpo to a party Woollcott was hosting which was attended by George Bernard Shaw. Woollcott probably thought it would be funny to see the two such different men be uncomfortable in each other's presence.

Instead, Harpo and Shaw hit it off very well, so much so that at lunch (I think) that day Harpo felt he could ask Shaw, who had not written in some time, why he wasn't working on another play.

The table fell silent and Shaw's piercing eyes looked straight at Harpo. There was a pregnant pause until Shaw asked, "Got any ideas?" and the place burst into laughter.

That's the thing with me right now. I have some ideas, but I'm not crazy about any of them. I've started two books and haven't written on either of them in days. They're just not hitting the spot, and if I'm not interested in the stories, you can bet your last dime you won't be interested in them, either. No really good book has ever been written when the author didn't care.

So that's the state of affairs here at Castle Copperman these days. It's a temporary state I'm certain, but while it goes on it's making me just a little more crazy than usual. The only thing more torturous than writing, it turns out, is not writing.

Oh and P.S.: No, we don't have any current contracts for audiobooks. It's not our choice, but we (and by "we" I mean the aforementioned Mr. Getzler) are working on it. It's in good hands, but I have no news to impart at the moment. I'm touched so many people have been asking. Wish I had something to tell you.