Friday, June 27, 2008

I Am My Pen: An Open Letter to Publishers from Charles Shaver

I had been planning on posting Act I of "The Elephant Crusade" -- the next tale in the on-going Children of Gods saga -- today, but my attention shifted to finishing the last bits of editing my novel Soar these last two weeks. As such, I simply didn't have the time to put forth on "The Elephant Crusade." Instead I'm posting today an essay, an open letter.

Act I of "The Elephant Crusade" will be posted next Friday, July 4th.


"I Am My Pen: An Open Letter to Publishers from Charles Shaver"

(C) 2008 by Charles Shaver. All rights reserved.


Hunger woke me this morning. I got out of bed and went to the kitchen. The fridge was bare save some condiments and a last bit of milk. I stood in the kitchen, looking out the window at a tree dying in my back yard from some sort of rot eating at it from the inside out. I drank half a coffee cupful of milk for breakfast. It’s all the breakfast I could afford.

Standing there, my mind wandered over to the Burton armory. Fights would be held there soon. I hoped to scrape up the ten bucks to go, to get out for a while and witness some other poor bastards get pounded for a change, to see some other nobody get their chance, to spill blood on cheap canvas, to fulfill his dreams or work out some anger or prove something to himself or someone else. The last time I saw a fight there was snow on the ground and I was a little less poor.

Writers like fighters. Papa Hem and Mailer were great fight fans. For some people there’s a mystery in that. A mystique. Those baffled by writers with a love for the fight hold literature to something exalted, something higher and finer. It’s not. Writing is fighting. To write is to take on the world sans kid’s gloves, with only bare knuckles and words.

To write is to get pounded, to take your shots, to fulfill dreams, to test yourself and spill ink all over cheap pulp. Each rejection is a new blow to the writer. Rejections rarely matter, though. A writer expects to get hit. I’ve taken quite a few lumps. I’ve been writing for five years and have as yet to publish anything professionally. I’ve got five years’ worth of lumps. I’m not afraid to take more.

My corner has prepared me well. I have all the skills needed to dance in the center of the ring. I have an idea where to take the fight, but am willing to break and flow with the pace of the game. I can shuffle and dance. I can bark like Ali. I can write for the knockout. Most of all, I’m hungry. All I need is my chance in the ring. The only thing threatening to hold me back is my own lack of throwing leather. But that won’t be an issue. I have the skills. And I’m hungry.

I am my pen, my destiny to spill oceans of ink.


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