Saturday, May 30, 2009
Let's Get Cereus!
I get a lot of advice from sage publishing industry gurus. Some tell us writers to find our own unique voice. Others say to get commercial. Write stuff that pisses people off. Write stuff that shocks people. Write stuff that pisses people off and shocks them.
A highly touted New York agent once told me he loved my writing but wasn’t sold on the story. His equal in California said she loved my story but wasn’t ‘swept away’ by my writing. Same manuscript. What do I do? Write in a conforming genre to please agent number one, or change my writing voice to appease agent number two?
Get serious! I’m taking my lead from nature. Roses are aromatic long bloomers on the bush, but wilt quickly when cut. Growers found success in producing a rose with a wider, stronger stem, but the manipulation had its price. The roses were no longer fragrant.
Tonight is pure magic in the Sonoran Desert. It’s the Night Bloom. Occurring only one night each year, the magnificent Night Blooming Cereus Cactus unfolds and puts on its show. Tomorrow, except for the efforts of gifted photographers and inspired artists’ hands, their beauty is gone for another year. What keeps us longing for this fleeting beauty, and why do we tend the plant so carefully for a year when we know its gift is so short-lived?
I think the Night Bloom writes its own story, and it tells us that story in its own special way.
So what do I do about agent number one and agent number two? I’m cereusly thinking about cloning them together.