Thursday, March 15, 2007

Literary or Commercial Success?

I've been thinking lately about why I write, and to what I aspire to be as a writer. Is it better to be a literary or commercial success? Would I rather be hailed by Kirkus Review, Publisher's Weekly, and The New York Times, or have throngs of fans that line up for book signings in cities large and small?

Personally, I'd rather have a mixture of both. I write fiction, screenplays, and recently memoirs, to be read and to create a dialogue with readers with similar and dissimilar experiences.

I'm currently reading The Quince Seed Potion
by my good friend, Morteza Baharloo. Click here for a sample of his reviews. I would love to have stellar reviews for my first novel or short story collection.

I am not writing solely for accolades. If I wanted to be lavished with praise I'd have continued acting, or joined the circus as a trapeze artist.

Books last a lifetime, as do films, if preserved properly. I write when the muse visits; and when she's stubborn, I do my best to coax her out of her hiding place, although she recently opted not to show up. Bad muse!

I still remember my high school English teacher, Dr. Joeris's perfect penmanship, chignon bun, and birdlike lips with lipstick slightly worn away by the time her fifth period junior English class showed up.

I write to make her proud. She believed in me in high school, and we kept in touch via letters until her death several years ago. I was distraught when I lost an engraved Cross pen she'd given me as a birthday gift on a NY subway. Fortunately for me, both the pen and pencil were engraved with my initials. I use the pen on special occasions. And I plan on using it when I sign my first book contract.

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