Friday, October 15, 2010

Degrees of unseparation

You left the city of your birth sometime in 1973, moving most of your earthly goods and two Blue Tick Hounds approximately ninety-five miles north, where you have more or less remained to this day.  In the process you gave up the sprawl and clamor of a rampaging modern megalopolis for an area often referred to as a resort or beach town.  You went from a 24/7 city to a place that then was pretty much under wraps by 8:00 p.m.  You inherited a staff of young workers, some of whom had just finished their college undergraduate work and were thinking over their options, which to them meant moving to the city you'd just left or New York or Boston or San Francisco.  You should also include Washington, D.C., because that is where your dear and esteemed assistant made her way to career and marriage.  Age provided you with the wish to come to this small town; age provided them the desire to get to the big time big town.

You had published a startling amount of material, much of it best left to wallow in generalities.  A small town, you argued with yourself, was precisely the place to get some serious writing done, a view worth an entire examination of its own (possibly even tomorrow).  People had been asking you for some time when you were going to write something serious.  Indeed, as senior editor, then editor in chief of a scholarly publishing house, the time had arrived for you to be serious.

Since you'd come from a rather painful learning experience relative to writing plot driven stories at the behest of two literary agents, you did embark on yet another digression, the writing of serious material.  The problem with serious material is that it can also emerge as ponderous, dry, even pompous.  Thus did you write yourself into pomposity which, as you well understand, does not sell because it so rarely is of interest to anyone.

In this small town, you learned that there is a more intense degree of interrelatedness than there is in a city the size of Los Angeles or New York.  Of course there are crowds, cliques, groups everywhere, including your small town, but you may have had a doctor's receptionist in a writing workshop of had a friend who knew the gopher man from AA.

What you learned about the interrelatedness of characters came more from living here and thinking to write about it than any overt or deliberate vector.

Interrelatedness was and is the key.  Let the lesson begin.


Storm Dweller said...

Wyoming is a state-wide small town. Now then i wonder what my excuse is for not doing any serious writing.

Sarah said...

How I envy you your town. Having lived in a struggling, working class satellite of a big city for 20 years now, I still long for the small town of my youth (Laguna) and in my worst moments feel doomed to this urban and ugly anonymity forever. I write my way out of here, the reverse perhaps of your desire to write your way into the place you love.