So I’ve been trying to recall…

when writing for my own (solitary) pleasure stopped behind enough, and I’m working on the answer with a kind of “stream-of-consciousness” technique that works best written down in black & white. I still write for myself, but it’s become much more important to me that others read what I write. Why that’s so, why my attitude changed and when, are (surprisingly) hard queries. I don’t want a bazillion reader-fans in order to become rich & famous (I have nothing against being rich & famous, mind you) because I know that won’t happen. The cosmos has room for just so many Rowlings & Kings. I think that for me the core seduction comes from wanting others to meet my characters. The people in my books aren’t really “made up” to me, they’re real (well, some of them – Jane Addams & Alice Hamilton & the like – are real, but you know what I mean) and I think it’s on the same emotional level as having a good friend & wanting another friend to meet her because I care so much about both of them. Now we all know it’s not true that if A loves B and A loves C then B & C will be crazy about each other, too, but once I gave life to Louisa Caldecott & John Rock Davis I wanted others to know them, the way a person hopes that her good friends will like each other as much as she likes them. For a lot of years I wrote & stashed & shredded & wrote & stashed & shredded some more, but there was something about Lily’s Sister, the characters & the emotions, that planted a seed of longing for others to read the book, too, to love Lou & John, & to care about what happened to them. I never suspected that would happen. I figured writing would always be a private hobby for me & it wouldn’t matter that I had a stack of manuscripts on the floor next to my desk that no one but me would ever read. But it does matter. Really matters. Which is why I started this blog & updated my website, why I’d like to be technologically savvy enough to put a Facebook Like button on my website home page (I spent all afternoon trying to figure that out yesterday & am no closer to success now than I was when I started; my conclusion is that technical directions are NEVER intended for NON-techies but how much sense does THAT make…??), why I continue to send manuscripts to agents & publishers & swallow the rejection & do it all over again. (I understand how addicted gamblers feel – maybe this time I’ll hit the jackpot – but that’s a post for another day.) So I suppose the moment I created characters that I enjoyed being around, that I truly cared about, was the moment I became a public writer & left my “hobby writing” behind. And once that happened, there was no going back. Even if I’d wanted to go back. Which I didn’t. And still don’t.

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