My brother is now working for Benchmark Reviews writing articles on computer equipment. The only problem is he can't write. I can't count how many being verbs he had (which I did not try at all to remove because it was so long), the same repeated openings, transitions, and verbs, and not to mention poor grammar (oh, the commas!). But he's a smarty, and he has good things to say, so I just made him sound as smart as he is. I put enough of my own effort in (about two hours worth), that I was actually mentioned as the editor*! He insisted to his boss that I am included, and now, I'm published! Sorta. It's not my original work, but a good half of it is mine. Hope I didn't burst anyone's misplaced bubble.
*I am named by my true name, Allison Downing, not my alias, Emery Grey, there.
Not that I would know from experience, but here are my reasonings: You devote every minute of the day to it. You worry about it all the moments you aren't with it. You burp it to make sure everything is flowing together smoothly. You change out old, used diapers (also known as "chapters") for new and improved ones. It goes through stages. Sometimes it will cooperate with you, letting you write when it's good for you. Sometimes it's stubborn. And sometimes, always in the rare occasions when you aren't thinking about it - say, when you're sleeping - it wakes you up, demanding attention.
That's the stage my novel is in right now. The wake-you-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-write-a-chapter stage. It cries in my ears when I try to fall asleep, accusing me of negligence. And I know that if I don't answer its call, I will find it dead in the morning, panting on the floor, looking at me with big, black and white eyes asking, Why? Even if I am selfish enough to fall back asleep, I can't stand guilt, so I'll wake back up again either way.
Or maybe, if I've had a really bad week at work and can't muster the strength to get up, I'll forget exactly what the story had been telling me, and that Oh So Urgent call that I ignored will never make it into my novel.
A group of people watched someone's lives burn away today. The house was on fire, and cars parked in the grass to watch it come down. No one cried. They just stood there, mollified by the flames. I wondered where the family was. On vacation, oblivious to the horrifying truth? Would they receive a call later today telling them everything was gone? Would they return home to an ashen lot and be surprised? No one was crying, and that's how I know that family didn't know. We just stood there and watched the smoke carrying lives away.
I called my parents to tell them.
Today, I saw a fire.
Mommy - today, I watched a house glow with heat.
Daddy - today, I was scared.
Today, I drove past a fiery furnace and felt the heat on the other side of the car.
I wish no child had to come home to tell their parents this. But today, someone did.
When I got there, the fire was contained by the last supports of the house. It looked like a box of flames, like some magic trick. I saw a lake of fire poured into a square house and devour it whole. The fire spouted black smoke when the water fought it. It was malice, it was hate, it was terror. The cows in the neighboring lot continued to chew, if only moving to escape the doubled heat of summer and flames. I drove on, watching in the mirror the black flames join the heavy clouds. It would rain today.
And possibly because we are hiding from our current manuscripts (yes, that's plural). I mean, we're writers. We should be writing them, not this. So, what better way to hide an author than in words? It's time to play "find the author in the word-stack."
But for a serious moment, there aren't enough authors. Sure, maybe an author who is currently sending out hundreds of manuscripts and being rejected every time with pathetic "Thanks for considering us" and "Unfortunately, this is not what we are looking for, try again" is feeling that this is not so. Maybe that said author wishes he or she were the only author in the world, then all the publishers would have to accept his or her work. No, then all the publishers would be scrambling over each other, vying for her work, instead of the other way around.
But ignore all that. I'm talking about the general, everyday author who sits at home, antisocial, and writes. There aren't enough of us. We get lonely talking to the computer, the journal, or whatever writing tool we use, and talking to any non-writer, even the best of friends, wins us blank looks. They don't understand, and I don't blame them. I'm quite confident they receive a similar look from me when they begin talking about volleyball or basketball, training sessions or all-day competitions. Here's the thing - there are plenty of other people who they can talk to about said volleyball or basketball, training sessions or all-day competitions. We authors get no one. Or, if we're lucky, one person. Or, if we're very cunning, a whole internet's worth of persons.