Letter to an Anonymous Author

Sharing is nice

“I am a writer. Therefore, I am not sane.”

― Edgar Allan Poe

Dear X,

I appreciated your note, my friend. And I’m grateful for it.

I’ve seen your struggle and I know how hard you’re working to progress and capture everything well, and also accept help. I knew your journey would be a special challenge, and while your issues and the resistance you’ve encountered is unique to you, I find (and I’d think your agent would agree) that resistance is also the most common thing about working on books.

Writers be farking crazy.

I know because I am one, first and foremost. To create a cohesive, authentic story out of your own life experience you have to dig into old emotions and memories and that’s like poking a sleeping dragon. Either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid.

Your memories and inner struggles are unique to you, but every writer who dares this work finds that monster in the mirror and has to face it. You’re not alone in that–far from it. I see it over and over again, and it’s part of what drives me to study counseling and psychotherapy.

But my primary motive in all of this is understanding my own issues and my own resistance to progress, to change, and to accepting help for my struggles. I want to learn how to be better, and like you, I’m drawn by something bigger and higher than myself pulling me out and convincing me I’m okay and I can let go of my fear and protectiveness. As I read, my heart says, Yes, that’s true for me too, and I listen to that voice and he shows me where we need to go–to help you, yes, but mostly to help myself.

Early on, I know you didn’t want to accept any changes from me. The less I did, the happier you were. So I stuck to cleaning up the “verbal diarrhea” and made sure the digressions didn’t feel too distracting. I told myself that was enough and your freedom was more important than being succinct and focused.

After rereading it now, I stand by that. It’s conversational, inviting, and down-to-earth, just as you are and I don’t want to change that anymore. You were right to push back against my “literary sensibilities,” and I’m glad you did. I think readers will appreciate your honesty, sincerity, and personable style–just like they do in your other writing.

I’ll let sharper minds than mine decide whether we can trim any further–while there’s always more tightening that can be done, every book has an irreducible flow as well. As I said, I don’t think I’m objective enough to know whether we’re hitting that in every spot, but I can hear you speaking the lines in my head and that convinces me we’ve captured your essential style. I’m not worried at all about the length–never have been. It’s long and I want to let others know we’re aware of that and we don’t think it’s a problem. It’s a work of beauty just the way it is.

I’m sorry for the times I haven’t understood your vision and for pushing you at times beyond what was reasonable. You and your book are a work of exquisite art balanced between extreme contrasts, and like all beautiful works of art, you and your book are symbolic of the creator from which you spring, one-of-a-kind as anything. I appreciate you and your book as such wonders.

Thanks for sticking with it and being true to yourself–you teach me tons, and I’m so thankful to get to work with you.

(Don’t think this means I’m going easy on you if we get another shot at this. The struggle is inevitable and inextricable. And fears be danged, that’s for good, not bad.)

Looking forward to the rest of the journey.

For the higher purpose,

Mick

Sharing is nice

5 thoughts on “Letter to an Anonymous Author”

  1. “Writers be farking crazy.”

    Ain’t that the truth?
    Thank you for my laugh out loud moment of the day … and the week … well, probably for the rest of my life.
    If we can embrace this beautiful insanity of being a writer … the privilege of it … well, then we won’t drown in what comes with it. The rejection. The doubt.
    We’ll know it’s all part of being a creative … and it’s crazy … and the truth is, we love what we do. We love wrapping our hearts up in words and offering them to people, in the hopes that they are moved to think … to realize something about themselves that they hadn’t known before. (And maybe we hadn’t realized it about ourselves until we wrote that particular scene.)

    Another keeper of a blog post, Mick. Keep ’em coming, my friend.

    1. Beth, I won’t say you know the truth of this better than most…but you probably have to concede you’ve worked your way up to a privileged vantage point on the ol’ S.S. CrazyWriter. Let me know if I’m about to run aground, K? :)

  2. HA! I am somewhere lurking on the ol’ S.S. CrazyWriter. (although below deck, below the waterline actually) But I’m in disguise . . .
    LPF

    1. What?! No way! You are up here on deck with the rest of us crazies, enjoying the spray–from all the ridiculous jabbering. :)

      But you can be in disguise if you want–I know you like costumes. A pirate princess maybe?

      I’ll be that perfect cross between Peter Pan and Captain Hook–the incorrigible Jack Sparrow.

Discuss...