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Friday, September 10, 2010

No Nonsense About Poppycock

I've never been a reality tv fan, but earlier this year my son and I happened to watch America's Got Talent and he was fascinated. Spying an opportunity for some quality mother-son time, this has become a weekly ritual for us. We have our favorites, we don't always agree, but we have consistantly been fascinated with Prince Poppycock.

This last week, when he made it to the last four, he made a heartfelt remark about how (and I am summarizing) if folks felt out of place or teased, look to him and know there's a place.

Well, this remark's stuck with me and I've managed to find a bit of inspiration for writing in it. So many times aspiring authors are scared off by several factors that Poppycock insinuates he too has confronted:
a. Their work being considered non-standard or unmarketable
b. Embarrassment to face a critical critique
c. Told it's a fruitless pursuit; told only x can succeed.
d. Write what has saleable merit, not necessarily what's in your heart.

And so the list goes.

And so writers run away when they confront a rejection, when they have to read that first critique that doesn't come from "mom". When, (as a few household names now) have been told by an editor "Do not submit a manuscript to me again." When they lose a contest.

I think writers are almost more afraid of rejection than many artists. There is a degree of the artist put into every performance, but with writing, author vulnerabilities tend to come through in characterizations or even plotlines. We open a vein and bleed through every word that's put onto a page. And when we are rejected, we can't necessarily fault a sore throat, or an injured limb, or the lack of a pretty face. We are rejected for what comes out of our souls.

And it stinks.

But it is a part of life. It's no different than having to navigate rush-hour for a drive to the office each morning.

Similiarily, Poppycock has created a being that exposes him the man behind the superior voice. Yes, he's outrageous, but I'm convinced the characters we see him develop are a product of his life experiences in some way. A hidden entity seeking an outlet. Or perhaps, as I believe writers are, a part of him desperate for understanding. Maybe even acceptance for our continual head-in-the-clouds, need to babble on about imaginary beings and otherworldly encounters.

So the next time someone gives you the impression that your work, whether you're published, agented, or still learning craft to achieve either, is ... poppycock, don't give up.

If a man who can sing opera, Freddy Murphy, and do a rockettes-twist on Yankee Doodle while appearing like a 17th century noble with eyelashes that would make Scarlett O'Hara weep, can make his mark on the world through constant perseverance and an inner determination to stay true to himself, stay true to his heart... so can each and every author in this world.

He is living proof that even the most outrageous story has an audience. Has a buyer. And maybe it won't come this week, or even this year, but through perseverence and dedication, in time, odds are in your favor that it will.

And that's my inspirational message for the month!

Now stop on by and see my new website! It's not 100% complete yet, but Hot Damn Designs did one awesome job!



Tina Donahue said...

Wonderful post, Claire. :)

Linda Kage said...

Perfectly said. I love your new website.

Molly Daniels said...

I enjoyed Poppycock's performances:)

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