I was thinking the other day (as I sometimes do). It occurred to me that probably the finest compliment a fiction writer can receive is when someone asks, “Did that really happen?” When you hear that you know that you have captured that person’s imagination so much with your words they really believe that what you have described was an actual event.
I’ve heard writing portrayed as a “lonely profession.” That is not entirely true. It is a fact that most authors are loners and do not socialize or thrust themselves into the public spotlight very often. There are exceptions. There was Ernest Hemingway who loved nothing more than to surround himself with a circle of admiring sycophants. And there is that trashy English woman who is chuckling all the way to the bank because she seduced most of the world into thinking that pornography is “fine art” literature. You couldn’t keep her off TV or from giving interviews unless you sentenced her to solitary confinement, which is not a bad idea as I think of it. I can tell you folks that I have written pornography and it is the most boring writing of all genres.
Of course it is is hard to write if you have dogs and cats and kids and wives climbing all over you seeking your undivided attestation. But to say that authors are “lonely” is not true, certainly not in my case. I am alone, with just a keyboard and a blank monitor in front of me – but in my mind there is a panorama of scenes and people who are doing weird, funny, sometimes horrendous things and it is difficult to call that being lonely when these characters are shouting, screaming, screwing, or just quietly looking at the sunset.
My job then is to tell you what they are doing with all the skill that God and practice gave me so that when you read it you will say, “Did that really happen?” If I can do that, I have accomplished my goal and winning is never lonely.