Just finished reading The Comeback Kiss last night, written of course by my good friend Lani. It’s fabulous, but that is a big DUH when it comes to Lani. She’s her own worst critic, as we all are, but I’ve known her since she went through her “No one’s ever going to publish this crap” phase. Someone did publish her work, which is far from crap, I assure you. In fact, Lani’s been making me jealous of her writing ability since the day I met her and read my first taste of her incredible humor.
As did Barb Ferrer and this lady, who is not yet published, but will be. There are more. I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of lovely, talented writers to add to my “I knew her when” file. And a few for my “Wow! I know her?” file of published authors whom I worship. I have an altar in my basement with candles and everything.
But I love to read, and I love to read a lot of different things. Kinda like my taste in music, I run to the heavy, the light, and the in between without skipping a beat. And it is even more satisfying to sit down a read a book written by a friend.
There is a catch, though. They make me feel like a talentless, hopeless hack. Not personally, no. Published and unpublished alike, my writer friends are all extremely supportive of one another and of me. We’re like that, guarding one another’s backs. But then I read them, realize just how much talent they have, and turn a lovely shade of pea green with envy.
As I was finishing off THE COMEBACK KISS last night, I think I may have turned spruce! Lani’s brain does some interesting twists and turns, but how does she come up with this stuff? I was laughing out loud, squirming in my seat, and on the verge of tears all within the course of three pages! I’m not sure I could ever command that from a reader.
So I have a choice. Do I sit here and envy my more talented friends with agents and book contracts, or do I get my rear in gear and try to join them, honing my talent and learning more every day? Obviously I choose the latter. The first choice is childish and juvenile, for one thing, but it’s also just not really very conducive to keeping said literary friends. And these are people I value. Not only that, but after five years of alternately quitting writing, hating literature, and pounding my head against the same getting published wall, I still want to do it.
The last year has been a busy one, and I will admit my writing career has taken a back seat to kids and the job. Writing has not been the priority. I sent a partial manuscript off to an agent in March and just wrote a follow-up letter yesterday. That is how far out of focus I was. But even as I drive down the street , make dinner, or mow the lawn, my brain is writing. Writing is the easy part. Getting down on paper (or the pages of MS Word) is the hard part.
So am I as talented as my friends? Probably not. But that’s not going to stop me. Instead, I’m going to keep reading their stuff and keep coveting their talent with words. Hopefully, though, I’ll get there, too. And I’lll still envy them. But always in a good way.