There's a story in this round that I love. I LOVE it. It's the kind of story that I wish that I had written, but I'm just glad that someone did. It's beautiful, and haunting, and clever.
Sadly, most everyone else on staff gives it a "meh." A meh. This brilliant beautiful story brings the consensus of staffers to a "Meh, not so much." feeling.
It's okay, really, in the long run, to write a story that most people say meh to, and a few people love. It's part of what makes writing a risk, and what makes writing so addicting. It's like gambling. You can do your very best work, stand back and say, "This is the best that I can do." and people will still not care.
But that doesn't mean the story isn't amazing, or brilliant, or extra special. It just means it hasn't found it's right audience.
I take a lot of comfort in that.
|If it had this cover, |
I might not have picked it up.
I loved that book. I must have read it more than a hundred times. I read it in Junior High, while people where drinking and doing drugs and having sex, and I was too shy to even hold a boy's hand. I escaped into it in High School, when I didn't get a part I wanted, or some dumb boy didn't like me, or when I thought my mom liked my sister better. I read it in College, when my friends were drinking and partying, or cheating on their wives, and yet another dumb boy didn't like me.
My copy became waterlogged, dog-eared, and stained with chocolate ice cream. I read it so often that I still have scenes memorized. Every time I read it, no matter where I was, in my mind, I was fourteen, high up in the branches of my reading tree, above my loneliness, or heartbreak, or anger.
My much read copy was thrown away one weekend when I accidentally left it when I came home to do laundry. I don't blame my mom, it looked like garbage. I've bought another copy since, but it isn't the same.
Now objectively, I can see that this book isn't all that special. It didn't have a huge print run. It never received any awards, and it's currently out of print. But that doesn't mean it didn't save my life. That doesn't mean that it isn't SO special and important, even if it's only special to me.
I know my book isn't ever going to be perfect. I know it might never be picked up by a legacy publisher. But one day, some young kid will pick it up from the bottom of a 25 cents bin, or pick it up for 99 cents through Amazon, and they will read it, and love it until its pages are waterlogged and dog-eared, or until the digital copy has been read so often it becomes damaged.
Because even if a hundred people hate it, or criticize it, or even just don't care about it, one person might just love it.
And I'm writing this book, for her.