Friday, May 27, 2011

As the day approaches...

I suppose I have known for a while that I subscribe to a certain notion about what a writer should be like.  In college (both as an undergraduate and as a graduate student) I was in love with the author mystique -- the quirky, larger-than-life stories that make legendary writers legendary.  There was Hemingway fishing for trout in Spain and Steinbeck drinking wine with Ed Ricketts along the Pacific coast.  But in the process of becoming a writer -- not just writing, per se, but creating the "brand" that is "J. Michael Dew," I have come face to face with the writer fantasy. I am at a Holiday Inn in Pensacola, Florida.  I just finished reading some comments about All The Bad Things.  I am drinking wine.  My three girls are restless and won't go to sleep.  My mother-in-law and wife are chattering away in Spanish.  And I am writing.  Like I always do.  And there is nothing larger-than-life about it.  In fact, I think it's quite the opposite.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

All The Bad Things

I remember four years ago when a play I had written was performed at the college where I work.  It was the week of the birth of my first daughter, but I got the go ahead from my wife to attend my play's premier.  I watched the characters and heard the dialogue, and all of it felt pretty surreal.  Here were my inventions being brought to life by a couple of actors, and here was this audience reacting to the performance.  It is a feeling that has stuck with me.
I anticipate similar feelings when All The Bad Things is released September 1.  Already, I have colleagues, friends, and family asking me for a copy, and I can't help but feel a little nervous about what they might say or think about the book.  I am releasing the book into the world, and I will be incapable of determining how folks might react to it.  This is simply how it works, and it has always worked like this, but the experience is very new to me.  I sat alone with these characters, this story, for hours upon end.  I listened for what they were to say next, and I tried to be quick about getting their words down onto paper.  When I revised, I did so, first, as a gardener rips out huge clumps of weeds, but, later, I did so as a parent might clip the fingernails of his or her children.
It is much to think about how a writer experiences the letting go of his or her work.  I have much to think about with the upcoming release of my own work.  But, as any parent knows, I did my best, and so I will release the book into the world with the shaky resolve that it'll be able to stand on its own two feet.