I don’t write to be famous, I don’t write to be known, I write because I am and I want to be read. How sad to fill a room with paintings no one sees or play music no one hears. Writing is talking without sound, singing without score and dancing without movement and yet, it is all of them. It is a solitary art conjured from thought and expressed by the need to communicate.

HEAD SLAPS, SPEED BUMPS and LIGHTBULBS, one woman's WTF, oops and ah-ha moments of life.

They were published once, and as every writer knows, once is not enough.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Lottery ticket writing

We were driving home from the grocery store, my husband and I, on a road as familiar to us as the backs of our hands. Driving along the country road which parallels the railroad tracks I said, “Look honey,” glancing at the beautiful huge white barn we have passed hundreds of times, “you need a barn just like that and a paved driveway leading to it.” Seeing as our driveway is a thousand feet long and dirt and that our basement acts as his work-shop and cabinet-making business, I thought the comment a kind one. I just threw the comment out there like, you need a new pick-up or some new jeans and while I’m thinking so unrealistically how about a new table saw, Bean Boots, underwear and socks. I was just trying to let him know I knew that having a better place to work and nicer more comfortable way of getting there was on my mind. You know, being generous even though we can’t afford generous.

He says, “Well…you’ll have to sell a book first.”

Wham; there it was the reality of dreams, the futility of wishing, the emptiness of my generosity.
I was thinking, sure I’ll do that for ya honey and while I’m at it I'll go buy a lottery ticket too. At that moment I actually thought I have a better chance at winning the lottery. 

So we get home, I put away the groceries, eat lunch and rewrite the opening of my first and favorite novel which I have pitched dozens of times. I’ve gotten so many ‘thanks but no thanks’, and ‘no response means no’, that I should probably put it back in the file drawer I resurrected it from after its first round of rejections. But God-damn-it, I’m not giving up. It’s a great story, the people who have read it LOVE IT but they have no power, they just like to read a lot and write.  So I’m hanging on. Call my confidence in it futile, stupid, mindless and a waste of time but Jesus Christ Mary, you gotta believe, right? 

When I start pitching it again I’m calling the query letters my lottery tickets. 

Back to working on my next column.


  1. And I think that was Bob's way of encouraging YOU. You best not give up - I READ IT and I loved it.

  2. My hubby is a half glass empty sort while I'm the glass half full. When I wrote the book, he wouldn't tell me he thought it was a dumb idea, but I could tell from his expression. When I let a few folks read it, and they said they loved it, he thought they were just being polite When I got feedback from the editor, he was skeptical of her knowledge. When I acquired the agent, he wondered if he was legit, or some huckster up in NYC...and so it goes. At least when the folks over in London came back ranting and raving about the 2nd book and wanted to know what was going on with it, then I think I began to see a glimmer of hope in his eyes, that by God, she just might be able to write.

    1. Donna, I think we're married to the same man.

    2. And the thing is...why does it feel like writers have to "prove" it to EVERYONE? Even family?? (sighs)

    3. I think it’s because to non-writing civilians getting a by-line or a title page is impressive and as impossible as a singer getting a record deal. Judging merit is tricky too. If you sing in the shower everybody listening outside the door can tell if your good, not so with writing. Whether it’s good or not depends on their ability to know what the ‘foxtrot’ is marketable or not; BTW I’m assuming Averil meant WTF. If not…my profane slip is showing.
      Anyway, my daughters are very supportive and my husband is as well, probably because he’s asleep on the couch in front of the TV when I slink away to my computer. It’s funny, once you start making money at it everybody takes credit for knowing how brilliant you really are and that they knew it all along.

  3. My husband is a very passive guy, so it's hard to know where he stands on dreams and ideas...where he really stands that is. Because he's always supportive. With the craziest ideas he lets me go full steam ahead.

    And speaking of ideas Carolynn (I actually typed Wry there first), I found a site I follow on FB that is looking for readers who want to write about the books they read! And two of their most needed genres I read extensively in! I'm going to go for it just because you've told me repeatedly it's not as hard as it seems.

  4. Oh Jennine, you can call me Wry,I'm still Wry Wryter I guess.
    About writing on the website...GO FOR IT. Yup that's me shouting.
    Once you figure out what it is they want, you're in. I'll shout it again...GO FOR IT.
    Good for you. Let me know when your piece breaks.

  5. I really enjoyed your post. Being from Maine originally, I liked the LLBean boot reference. Good luck with your lottery writing, it will be fine.
    Cheers Hank
    French Sojourn

    1. Hey Hank, thanks for stopping by. All the way from France, Wow. (Insert clever French phrase here.) Sorry all I speak is New Englander.
      We used to have a place in Maine. Loved it. I think my husband's Bean-boots would grow to his feet if he didn't have to take them off at night. Ewww...just the thought.