Sunday, August 28, 2011

Today's fortune: August 28, 2011

Today's fortune: You are a lover of words, someday you should write a book.

If you're a frequent reader of this blog, you know I talk a lot about myself. And part of who I am is a writer. Not a very good one most of the time, but I have flashes of decency. Way back on January 9 - just over a week into this foolhardy endeavor - I wrote about my short career as a novelist. Those efforts have been fruitless thus far; I wrote the first half of two novels in my teens and early twenties, but the two halves don't add up to a whole, and the novel I completed a couple years ago has not been published or even nibbled upon by an agent or publishing house. But I still have hope for that one.

This fortune doesn't refer specifically to novels, though. I've taken a stab at non-fiction writing before, too. Of course, in my 10 years as a journalist I wrote exclusively non-fiction news (although some cynics would argue the news is largely fiction), and back in the day during my college and pre-marriage years I actually completed a non-fiction book about the steroid problem (and a host of other problems) in Major League Baseball.

But I didn't know at the time how long books were supposed to be. I had written 29,000 words, which sounds like a lot, but most non-fiction books are closer to 100,000. Since my book was a third the length it should have been, it didn't get much play. However, one publishing company told me they would be interested in the book if I could beef up the length, and they even called me to follow up every six months for the next few years, but I knew I didn't have the material to make it any longer, A newspaper I was working for at the time did print excerpts from the book, which was cool, and which stands as the closest I've ever been to having a book published.

Whatever happens with my unpublished novel manuscript, I will write another book. I have no doubt about that. Every couple months, I am struck with an idea for a book or a novel, and I find myself searching furiously for paper and a pen to jot the idea down before I lose it. These literal scraps of ideas are floating around my office, stuck inside of books and jotted in the pages of journals. There are dozens of them. One or two might even make a pretty good read.

For the next few months, though, I am content with writing this blog and focusing on fortune cookies. And, I am content with reading the great books of others. Right now, it's "Motherless Brooklyn," a fantastic literary novel disguised as a detective novel, by Jonathan Lethem. It's a hell of a story.

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