I got my November/December issue of Poets & Writers yesterday and found yet another classmate with a book forthcoming. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Part of me thinks it is a good thing because if I know people coming out with books then I must really be a writer, a real writer, not a pretend writer. I know the distinction is probably lost on most nonwriters, but I believe there is one.
I write. Every day. It is a big part of my job. And my writing does get published. Every day. But it isn't the same. There is still a huge difference between me and say Susan Orlean. She writes for The New Yorker. I write for Mason Spirit magazine. Now Susan could write for the Mason Spirit. In fact, if she was willing, I would be delighted (but couldn't afford her). Could I write for The New Yorker? Probably not. I'm still trying to conquer less competitive magazines like Brain, Child, and there the competition (100 essays submitted for every 1 published) is still fierce. That's the distinction.
Now the bad part. When I bought home the last novel published my someone I went to grad school with, my husband asked: "What does he have that you don't have?" I turned the question around: "It is actually, What do I have that he doesn't have?" The answer is kids. Well, Art remains firm: the kids are staying so I need to find another solution. That's the kicker with this last publication. She has kids: three of them, I believe. Now what do I have that she doesn't have? The answer: a job.
Of the women I started So To Speak with, two have books (and children), one has an agent and a manuscript in New York (but no children), and one is writing this blog. No book, no manuscript making the rounds in New York, but Mason Spirit with its circulation of 42,000. Which by the way hit "newsstands" on Friday.