Life’s too short

For a while, looking to have some regular content, I considered analyzing books from a psuedo-futuristic perspective. I thought it was a pretty witty idea. After all, after hearing enough lunatic concepts of what writers must have been thinking when they gave a little girl a red cape, I’ve come to appreciate that people who analyze fiction are often looking for something more than is actually there. To me, that’s hilarious. But then something happened…

See, when it came time to sit down and think about the books or series to review in this fashion, I realized a few things that were troubling to me. First, I couldn’t think of many books or series that I figured would survive past our generation that I could analyze in a real tongue-in-cheek fashion. Second, of the ones I could think of that I could poke fun at, none of them seemed truly worthwhile to me. Third, Edward was a vampire. Fourth, I honestly didn’t want to go there.

Not to say that I don’t see a point in analyzing that which shall not be named. On the contrary, I analyze it often, because there’s a troubling undercurrent to the concept that it exists and that it’s as popular as it is. Quite honestly, I don’t think those around me understand why exactly I analyze it as much as I do, they all know my opinion of it, but at least one of them would rather I just shut up about it. For one thing, no, I am not a fan of it. I can’t say I entirely hate it either because I really feel more of a neutral curiosity towards it. You see, it brings my world view of the industry as a whole into question.

Throughout the ages, people have always said that writers are essentially going to die broke. They have a point, most of us live by the James Dean methodology of life: life fast, die young, leave a beautiful corpse. Though, to be honest, most of us don’t leave a beautiful corpse, just some nice books. Case in point, Salman Rushdie.

The man has some skills and has left an impact that inspired whole countries to want him dead. But can we honestly say he’s a pretty figure? No. Can we say he’s had some good fortunes?

Yeah, I’d say Rushdie had some good fortunes. But did he earn that? In Rushdie’s case, I’d like to think he did.

We could say the same for a lot of the successful writers of the world. Stephen King may have produced a few lackluster products in his day, but he’s made up for them with other brilliant works and an impressive work ethic that has to be admired. The man writes 2000 words every day even though he’s technically retired now. Audrey Niffenegger is another great case. She wrote The Time Traveler’s Wife and has achieved some impressive success. When you look at the effort she had to put into it, it becomes far more impressive. She spent 4 years working on that novel, submitted to 25 agents and received a rejection from every single one of them. Did she have a right to quit? Yes. Did she? No. So I say she’s earned her place in literary history.

And then there’s Christopher Paolini and his family. After writing Eragon, rather than trying to run into that constant wall of rejection that most writers know so well, his family published it themselves. Now, at first glance that would look like cheating. But after writing, editing, illustrating and publishing it himself he also turned around and promoted it himself. Touring across the country, Christopher Paolini promoted his work to libraries and schools like a one man show…all dressed in period clothing.

Did he earn it? You walk around in a “jaunty black cap” for a while and tell me if you think he took his lumps for it.

So, of course, it’s always been my view that hard work, talent and determination far outweigh pure dumb luck. It never, ever crossed my mind that someone who’d never written anything before could write a book in 3 months, get an agent and get a three book contract in 6 months from the time she started. When I first heard of it, I was a bit excited to find out that something had done that well and that fast, thinking it had to have been great. But now I find myself asking how it all happened.

So when faced with the prospect of making that into a witty smartass review, I couldn’t push myself to do it. I wanted to go on, but I just couldn’t think of the right material to work with, and everyone suggested that which shall not be named. I walked away from the concept, figuring I would come back to the blog a bit later and work on something else. The movie craze hit and it made it even worse because I soon became rather caught up in figuring out how exactly it happened and why it was so easy. And then other things happened to leave me even less motivated to work on much, let alone work on a blog that I’m fairly sure only two people read.

One of those things was that my cat is sick. Not just sick, but dying.

It’s a big impact on me, losing my best friend. I know, a lot of pet owners get attached and end up saying stupid and crazy things like “they truly understood me” or “I felt like they had a soul just like me” or something like that. I’m not one of those people, I’m not going to assume that my cat was some sort of soul mate. What I do know is that I’ve never had an easy time communicating with people. In fact, I’ve had a lot of evidence supporting the idea I may have some actual problems with communication in a day to day setting which I’ve learned to cope with. But when I need to talk to someone or I need someone to keep me company, I’ve always had a cat.

I wont go into the debate about Cats vs. Dogs. They both have their areas of expertise and should be appreciated for their own qualities. My dogs are good for when I need some noise, my cat is good for when I need to have some quiet time. They’re independent, almost antisocial. But if you’re willing to be as quiet and antisocial as them, a cat will keep you company all you want.

She’s helped me get over a lot of issues by giving me someone to vent to. Ironically, this includes my need to analyze and understand the true concept of death. I don’t fear death in the traditional sense, I’m almost curious about it. But I sometimes become just as obsessed with the subject of death as I do about just about anything else. If overanalyzing the success of a book aimed at tweens is something I could do for the better part of a month in the spaces between my more rational thoughts, how long do you figure I can sit around contemplating mortality?

Yeah, it’s been a while.

So, watching her die, wondering if I should end her suffering by having her put down, I find myself thinking back on the other people I could talk to and really listened to me. It makes me think about my grandmother and watching her die in her last days. There’s a surprising level of parallel between the expressions and motions of these two lives passing away. The same sighs, the same mumbles, the same sense that they just really want someone to keep them company so they don’t have to be alone when it happens.

So there I sat, stewing on the many things I was being fairly petty about, when a weak little voice reached out to me.

“Meow”

Now, I’m not an expert in cat communications, but to me, it sounded like “Life’s too short to worry about crap, now suck it up and get back to work.”

So here I am, updating this blog again and deciding to myself that I’m going to push on regardless of whatever neurotic crap goes on in my brain. After all, cats are smarter than they look. There’s great wisdom in their meows.

Then again, I might have just finally snapped. I hear it works for writers. (By the way, love Simon’s Cat too, check the channel if you aren’t familiar.)

And while the logo on the site is dedicated to my cat (look closely), my books are dedicated to people important to me, including my grandmother. So, give them a look

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *