Talent + patience + luck 🍀
This past week, two friends I went to graduate school with returned to Wilmington to read from the books they'd recently published. I was very much looking forward to hearing them read and interview one another on stage, and then to spend the weekend hanging out and catching up.
I'm prone to ~feelings~ so I was not surprised that walking across campus to the creative writing building sparked some acute nostalgia. As I took a seat and waited for the reading to begin, I remembered all the other times I'd sat in those chairs, paying attention as professors spoke, listening as writers came to share their work. And now my friends were up there, lovely people whose stories and essays I'd once workshopped, their hardcover books on a table outside the lecture hall, a crowd of students who all looked impossibly young hoping they would reveal the secret to success.
And let's be honest - I was not opposed to hearing some secrets myself. I, too, would like to publish a novel. To stand in the front of a packed room and humbly answer questions about my process, and where I get my ideas, and how to make a living as a writer. It can be exhausting to sit in a classroom chair, waiting as my friends sign copies of their books, saying "Yes, we actually went to school together, but I work in marketing now."
Which is pretty dumb, all things considered. I like my job in marketing. I write almost every day, and I have some publications to show for it. I even received a bit of good news this week, a sign that I'm moving in the right direction with my book. I'm still in the audience, but I'm getting closer to the front of the room.
Back when I was a student sitting in those lecture chairs, I only saw the success, only listened for the secret. This week, as I watched my friends take the stage, open their books and read from their pages, I saw and heard so much more. How hard they worked to get to this point, how many disappointments they fought along the way, how long it took to hold their books in their hands, how talented and lucky and patient they are, and how you need plenty of all three when it comes to writing and publishing.
PS: if you're looking for some great reads, check out Carson's nonfiction book about a doomed zoo, and Johannes's novel about a man trying to do some good. You won't be disappointed, I promise. 💛
✨ Snack of the Week ✨
In honor of Halloween, may I suggest you make this pumpkin pie by following a recipe which is so simple and easy it is, dare I say, spooky? You use a BLENDER to mix the filling and then POUR IT into the crust! Amazing! Minimalist Baker is the brains behind this operation, and the filling is both vegan and gluten free, but you'd never know it. I used a store-bought crust because I like to try, but not too hard, and topped it with vegan whipped cream.
You're Only As Old As You Feel, New York Times. "When scientists ask: 'How old do you feel, most of the time?' the answer tends to reflect the state of people’s physical and mental health." I feel much younger than my age for many reasons, some good, some less good. What about you? 👵🏼
Maybe She Had So Much Money She Just Lost Track Of It, The Cut. This is an oldie but a goodie, which I'm re-sharing because I just finished reading My Friend Anna and I love a good scam. 💸
Big Fan, Catapult. "Everyone important knew Mia St. Clair and discussed her genius with the kind of reverence usually saved for literal laureates or dead pop stars, never mind an author who’d just turned thirty." Ooh, this short story is so good and also e x t r e m e l y relatable. 💅
A Tiny Challenge
While hanging out with my friends and talking about writing, Carson mentioned how whenever he reads something he really likes, he emails the author to tell them. I love this idea, especially because writing can be difficult and thankless, and everyone likes to have their hard work recognized. This week, let's reach out to someone and express our appreciation.
See you next Sunday! 💌
Want to buy me a ☕️ to help fuel these newsletters?