03/31/08 | My Writings | 3 Comments
Starting out with the bad news here: I didn’t get into Grad School. I don’t really know why (I was rejected through the use of a form letter). Understandably, I’m sad, but I’m not really devastated. I sort of have this mantra of “hope for the best, plan for the worst,” so I had been setting myself up for a loss from the word go. I do wish that I could have had some feedback, though, and can only hope that there was an exceptionally high number of well qualified applicants this year and yes, they regret not being able to take me, but they just couldn’t fit in everybody and I lost out by one spot. Or something like that.
But, sadly enough, as a writer I’m used to rejections. This is a business where “no” is heard way more often than “yes”, and we’re warned of that right from the off (at least I was; I can’t speak for everyone. O, but to live in ignorance!). It’s just one more piece of shit to throw into the inferno that is my life, or should I say career…? The odds are against us from the very beginning, and it’s to the point where I have to hope that others fail so that I might have better chances at success. With the advent of self-publishing and the internet, everyone thinks they can write a book (Paris Hilton, anyone?), and, even though there have never been so many people on earth, there have also never been so many would-be writers, either. Think about it. Even if one half of one percent of people wanted to be writers, that’s still 30 MILLION people I have to compete with.
The keys are persistence and—hopefully—talent. As awful as it is, I’ve come to the point where rejection seems to roll off my back. I opened the rejection letter from Emerson and, after a slight pang, it was more Eh. Really. I expect to fail, and every acceptance is somewhat of a shock. Yet I continue to write. Why? Because I love it, and I wouldn’t be able to stop even if I wanted to. It’s ingrained in me, and it doesn’t look like it’s ever going to leave, so I keep going. I’m aim to persevere. And I’m a stubborn little bastard (just ask my mother).
I try to write every day. It’s been hard working on my novel lately, so I write in other ways. Not only do I have the novel in the works, but I work on short stories, I write for three different blogs (this one, Yeah, Great Blog..., and Filmonic), and I’ve even done a little work on my second novel (not much… mostly planning, but I have started the first chapter). And, as always, I continue to read, ever broadening my mind, ever absorbing new words and voices and writing styles.
There are as number of things going for me, I think. I discovered my passion relatively early. No, I didn’t start writing little kid stories when I was 7, but I did start when I was 14, and that’s pretty good. I’ve had all of those years to write crap, and I feel that I’ve reached a point where I write in my own voice and don’t emulate my favorite authors/books. I have a great support system of family and friends and other writers, people I trust to tell me that my shit doesn’t smell like the roses I thought it did. I’m widely read, and read as often as humanly possible (taking schoolwork into consideration, as always!). I like to think I understand what constitutes a good story, and have the ability to provide/create one. And, most importantly, I still have many years left to fail. As much as I would like to have been published yesterday already, I know it’ll happen in due time. Sounds oddly optimistic for a writer (and for me especially), but I have faith in myself and in my talents as a writer. I know something is just around the corner, and I can’t wait to see what it is.
Kyle W. Kerr
It’s probably one of the worst kept secrets that I love all things Harry Potter, and the author herself is not exempt from this. The last book in the series came out last July and, for the year preceding that day, Jo was followed around by a camera and a documentarian (is that a word?). It was shown on ITV in the UK, but hasn’t found its way State-side yet, though has recently popped up online. I found it really interesting, so I figured I would share with all of you. Below are five videos, each about 10 minutes long, documenting a year in the life of JK Rowling (including the moment she writes the last line of the book!). Enjoy!
Kyle W. Kerr
I had one of the most amazing nights of my life last night. For about two hours, I was in the presence of one of the most critically acclaimed authors in the country: Michael Cunningham.
Michael has written some truly amazing books, two of which I have read, including The Hours, which was made into an Academy Award-winning movie starring Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep, Specimen Days, Flesh and Blood, and At Home at the End of the World, which was also made into a movie, this one starring Colin Farrell.
We started planning for this event about six months ago, originally intending to bring in either Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones, The Almost Moon) or Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club), but both of them had to decline because of conflicts with their touring… which actually turned out to be a blessing.
How is one supposed to act around someone like that? I mean, here I am, 22, working on finishing my first novel, pretty much trying to stay sane in my last few weeks of college, and I’m supposed to interview a PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING NOVELIST?! How cruel is fate? But he was more than generous, and it was an immense pleasure to even be in his presence. He was kind, he was surprisingly humble, and he was an all around nice person. Never before have I seen an author take so much time to talk to his fans during a signing.
Probably the most amazing part of the night was when, right after Michael and I had left the stage, he asked me how my novel was going. Like, he was genuinely interested! And there’s me, and the first word out of my mouth sounded something like, flablneble. What could I POSSIBLY have said to him?! It was all I could do to, you know, not pass out.
Definitely something I will remember for the rest of my life.
Kyle W. Kerr
03/17/08 | My Writings | 0 Comments
London was amazing, and it was such a creatively invigorating place to be that I would love to be there on a more permanent basis. I have always said that, once I am well off enough to afford it, I am going to buy a flat in London, and this trip only helped to cement that thought. There was this little pub I found right near my hotel that seemed to have the perfect balance of synergy and charm/ambiance that made it a veritable melting pot for my imagination. If only there was a way of transporting that place, as well as its employees and clientele (which added to the overall effectiveness of the place), to Boston, I would only be too happy…! I guess I’m just going to have to find a similar place here. Ah well.
While I was over there, I didn’t get as much writing done as I would have liked. I mean, it was ridiculous of me to think that I wouldn’t be distracted by the lure of the city to have any significant amount of time to concentrate on writing. (I guess I’ll have to go for an extended stay next time!) I was able to finish a short story I had been working on called Frozen Innocence, which is told from the point-of-view of a pedophile (who refuses to believe he IS one). Now, before you start thinking weird and disgusting things about me, there was a point behind delving into such a character: one of the characters in my novel is abused as a child, and I wanted to see what would go into such abuse. It was necessary for me to see what happens on the other side of abuse before I could effectively write it from the victim’s side of things, and I think this really helped.
As far as Simon goes, though, I haven’t had much time to work on him, unfortunately. I think I just really hate the revision process. If I sit down and start writing fresh, stuff flows, but when I go about revising something I wrote three years ago, the flow is more sludge than water. I have heard many writers talk about the joys of revision, and how it’s their favorite part of the process. Well, if only that were true for me. When I write something, I usually edit as I go, so that the end result is usually fairly polished. I put so much effort into THAT, that the thought of going back over it is often too much to handle. I think I just need to get over it. I mean, there are times when I enjoy it, but then there are other times…
School is going to end within the next month and a half, and I will never have to worry about going to classes again, and this excites me to no end. I have always been about work, and school was only a means to that end. I love to work; it’s when I’m happiest. It is also a time of high productivity where my writing is concerned, because I don’t have tests and projects and papers looming over my head. Work is work, and it stays in the office (at least for most people it does… but I’m not intending to be a lawyer any time soon), so I get a lot of ‘me’ time to work on my writing. I know this is true because of past experiences… those two times I was on co-op (6-month full-time working periods during my four years at this school) were my best writing times in years. It’s the schooling that bogs me down, and that’s going to end in May. Thank god.
So, as ever I keep plodding along. Hopefully I get some time to write soon, because Simon is getting restless.
Kyle W. Kerr