Sunday, December 20, 2009


A couple days ago, my friend Bill Konigsberg opened his blog with a brilliantly quotable quote:

Being a writer means being a waiter. And not in the same way that being an actor means being a waiter.

I love that.

I'm a pretty patient guy when it comes to most things. I'm patient with my work, for example. It's one of the reasons why I write about the way I write, which, I think, is different from any other writer's method (and, anyway, every writer I know has a unique "production process").

Anyway, Bill's blog on waiting is one of the best writing blog posts I've read in a while.

Another thing struck me recently as I was reading yet another friend's blog about writing. This is a question I get asked frequently, too, from other writers. It's the what-does-my-agent/editor-mean-when-they-tell-me-this question.

Hmm... I say, if your wife or husband said something to you that you didn't understand, would you ask me to tell you what they mean? I mean, I could have a lot of fun with that one if you really trusted me.

The thing is, when people have good relationships with one another, and then one of the partners babbles something that is completely incoherent (happens a lot in my house), it's best to just say something along the lines of "what the hell are you talking about?"

I don't know. Just a thought. Seems like a lot of us writers are afraid to actually talk to our agents and editors. Now, granted, there is such a thing as too much talking. Nobody likes that. Well... at least I don't. So I think I'll shut up now.

But before I go, I would like to say maybe two things.

First, a lot of writers who blog actually talk about specific experiences with their agents and editors. I can't do that for a number of reasons. First of all, I don't have any experience with the plurals -- I've only ever worked with one literary agent and one editor. And they are both terrific, real, and private people (like me... well, at least the "real" and "private" parts). Easy enough for anyone to find out who they are and ask them anything you want to yourself. If you do, though, you'll probably be waiting a very long time for something that won't come (see opening paragraphs). So I am a bad source of advice for what-to-do-when-an-agent/editor-does-this kinds of questions.

Oh, and second, a correction on the post about my run by the lake the other morning: It wasn't a hawk, it was an eagle. This morning, I took my new dog for another run down along the lake (Aussies are the best jog partners), and we came upon the same bird with another kill in just about the same area. This time, though, we could see the eagle much more clearly, and its new victim was a heron with a head and beak that was about 14 inches long. I picked up the head, because I was going to take it home, but then I thought it was kind of gross for me to be carrying a gigantic bird's head all the way back to my house.

It was really cool, though.