Friday, December 12, 2008

tales from the outside

Warmest climes but nurse the cruelest fangs...

Yeah... everything's fine, everything's great... you're doing a terrific job... I like what you do... and...

WHAM! I get kicked in the balls.

Today, day five of my Gratitude Experiment, I'm going to say how grateful I am for books and reading. I constantly read. Every day. If I'm not simultaneously reading a great book, and working on my own writing, I feel like I'm dying. And I don't mean dying in a colloquially-exaggerated way... I mean actually, physically, going to die.

And today I finished combing through the galley pages for in the path of falling objects. I'll be honest. It's very good.

I think sometimes it's difficult for a writer to get out of himself and read his work as a reader, if that makes any sense. I think you have to step away from it for some time in order to allow a sort of emotional distance to establish itself.

And it had been a while since I'd looked at the story, so coming back to it was kind of a trip. I kept finding myself wondering who actually wrote this story.

It's not to say that I think it's perfect. I found plenty of mistakes, questions that I had about what I meant, and I toiled over a few sentences here and there... changing them, then changing them back, then changing them again.

But all things considered, I'd probably let just about anyone read this galley copy the way it stands now, and I'm not certain I felt that way about Ghost Medicine.

This brings me to a second subject of gratitude: the editorial team at Feiwel and Friends. I often talk about the people I work with as a "team" when I give talks to high school kids, because that's what we are. We all have a common goal in mind, we all pull our weight and do things that other team members count on, and we all trust one another. Working with my team has made me a better player (writer), too.

Or, at least I think so.

No. I am pretty sure... I just read the book.

And I know I don't know everyone who was involved in every capacity, but I do want to express my gratitude and appreciation for Allison Remcheck (who I know is going to be a great writer one day), Dave Barrett (who, I am thinking, is a kind of kindred spirit, even if he is on the opposite side of the country), but especially to Liz Szabla, my editor, from whom I learned more about writing than I ever did in any schoolroom, university lecture hall, or newsroom when I was a young punk trying to learn my chops.

Day 5