...that we, your writer friends or relatives, are grateful for you love and your acceptance.
We know that while you slog it out in public, working hard to earn a buck, we are keeping our own hours, often working in our bathrobes, if we are not still fast asleep in our warm little beds. We know how much that must rankle as you sit in your cars at the break of dawn, waiting for the heater to defrost your already numb extremities. What you might not know is that we work hard, too, often late into the night and sometimes, while you are sick to death of your co-workers and the stupidity of many members of the public sector, we wish we had co-workers. Sometimes we wish we knew how to manoeuvre among the people. Some of us even wish we had an office Christmas party to attend.
You see, sometimes we wish that our work were not quite so solitary.
While you are guaranteed 10 dollars an hour, at minimum, for your labour, we are guaranteed nothing for ours. We must compete with each other for every story we submit in hopes of publication. And if one of our stories is accepted, for an anthology, the pay rate is, quite simply, poor. The most we can hope for is $100.00 and 2 copies of the anthology our stories appear in. More often, these days, the payment is $50.00 with one complementary copy. Did you know that? Likely not, because it isn't a fact we're eager to share.
Your teenager makes more than that for a Saturday shift at a variety store, and it take a lot longer than 7 hours to write a 4,500 word short story that is good enough, first of all, to be chosen from the hundreds of submissions and secondly, to make us proud of our work.
Many writers are divorced. Often, even if our spouses understood what we hoped for and how we felt, their families didn't. Writers are sensitive people and eventually, if treated poorly, will either stop writing and toe the line in order to be accepted or, more likely, get out.
In some cases, the children live with the parent who offers stability and a decent standard of living. In other words, sometimes when we give up our marriages we give up our children, too.
That is a hurt that never fades.
We are so often alone. Our success depends upon our own willingness to put in the time, the many, many hours, it takes to get good at what we do and then keep on producing quality work. But it also depends on the most ethereal, damnably ungraspable things, things like inspiration and ideas. We must find a new way to work an old theme. The muse, if you will, must be courted successfully or, if you won't, then the dawning of 'the idea' must somehow occur and then be properly nursed to fruition. This one needs to simmer or it'll boil away to nothing, while that one must be squeezed like a sponge or it will do nothing but drip, drip, drip in our brains like a leaky faucet, at best, or the Chinese water torture, at worst. All of that happens before our fingers even touch the keys.
To measure the rewards of writing in terms of dollars would be foolish. The name "J.K. Rowling" is bandied about, a lot, by non-writers, as proof of the riches that writers may enjoy. She is 1 person. There are others, of course, but I promise you, the vast majority of writers are not making much money.
Many of us have never had a book launch. So please, if we're guests at your dinner party or Christmas Cookie Bake and produce our new novels and announce, "Hey look, everybody, I have a new book out!" understand that we're not bragging or preening or begging for praise. We're just happy about the outcome of all that work and think you might like to see what we've accomplished. That's all. You might even recall that we heartily congratulated you on your latest promotion, completed renovation, or new baby. It's the same thing. Honest.
If we give you a copy of that new book please read it. Then tell us this: "I really enjoyed your novel." If the prose is wooden or the story thin, believe me, we'll hear about it. But please don't make us hear about it from you.
And you know what's really great? If your writer relative or friend has recently published a new book, buy it. When she asks if you'd like a copy of her latest, tell her "It's on order," or "I already have one, thank you." I think you'll find the pure gratitude she expresses, however haltingly, (because some writers don't speak as well as they write) will be worth the money. And if someone asks you, "Who do you read?" and your author friend is there, try giving a variation of this answer, which I once heard my good friend say. "I'm a fan of Madeline Moore."
My heart sang.
Please don't see this as a list of complaints. It's not meant to be that at all. Writers are among the most privileged of people. We are people whose job is to do that which we most love to do. We are,whether we are willing to admit it or not, artists. We too have had lousy jobs and we know they suck. Many of us have turned down good jobs, too, jobs that didn't suck in the least, because we knew that we wouldn't be happy for long, though the job was interesting, the co-workers intelligent, and the opportunity for advancement great. In fact I suppose I'm not talking about a job at all, I'm talking about a career. But, in truth, we had no choice. We have to write.
When we come to your house to hang out with you and your friends,some of us are far too loud or excited or oblivious. That's because we spend most of our time alone and being with others turns us on. Or we're in a corner, not speaking, not listening, possibly with an expression of fear or idiotic blankness on our faces. Be patient. We're not really boors or morons. Most of us are hypersensitive and many of us are probably somewhat agoraphobic, so it's hard to be with a gang but we're there because we really, really wanted to try and the more obvious it becomes that we're failing the more desperate our flailing attempts become.
We don't have "a face to meet the people that we meet". We don't own corporate masks. There's just this, the naked, stunned face of a writer out of her element. Forgive us. If you love us, keep loving us. We're sorry if our behaviour is unacceptable or just plain stupid or, on the other side of the coin, seemingly arrogant or painfully intellectual. We really just wanted, if only for a few hours, to be 'one of the gang'. Even if we never say so, we are really, really sorry we failed.
So, on behalf of writers everywhere, during this season of generosity and forgiveness, we ask that you believe this, dear friends and family:
We need you. We love you.
We thank you.
xoxo Madeline Moore
- Madeline Moore
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- While attending a summer writing workshop at Humber College, my tutor, D.M.Thomas, said that I write 'great sex without metaphor,which isn't easy to do.' I made my mind up to become an erotica writer. My first erotica novel, 'Wild Card' was published in 2006. A section from the novel was selected by Scarlet Magazine for 'best oral sex scene' and, as a friend pointed out, an award-winning author was born! My second Black Lace novel, 'Amanda's Young Men' was released in the UK in July, 2008 and in North America in March, 2009. My third novel for Black Lace, 'Sarah's Education,' was published July 2, 2009 in the UK and briefly hit the number one spots on Amazon.co.uk's adult fiction and adult romance best seller lists. It became available in North America on September 1, 2009. Jade Magazine bestowed the 'best cover art, 2009' award on 'Sarah's Education'. In 2009 Humber College invited me to speak at the summer writers' workshop on a panel called, 'Success Stories.' And so the circle closes.