Writers talking with writers is a lot like talking in the mirror. It can be agonizing and exhilarating.
I don’t often get together with other writers. But sometimes I go to events for writers with writers and it is always a bit disconcerting to see someone just like yourself saying the same things you say day after day. Being in the same room with a bunch of writers is like being in a space capsule with not enough air. All the oxygen gets sucked up. And that is because writers suck in a lot and put out very little. How would you like to be in a house of people looking out the windows with no one opening the door and saying come on in. Matter of fact the door is locked.
And then add to that writers are insecure. Who wouldn’t be? Countless days of toil by oneself with very little coming back. Taunted by an Internet that holds up fabulously successful writers hourly and makes scribbling that much harder. And now you emerge and bump into yourself. And you both talk about your books and your writing and you wonder if you sound that stupid. The answer is yes. But you plow on because there might be something to learn and and so you continue blathering reminding yourself to ask what the other person writes. They are a writer after all.
And then there are the moments where you have nothing to say and you both want to go back to your respective garrets and continue on with the real work. But you forge on and gradually after a few drinks the shields come down and slowly everyone becomes people again and the writer leans back and you actually have a good time and learn a few things. And that is about as good as it gets for writers with writers.
And then it is over and you are glad you came. What do you know you think walking for the train. Writers aren’t really such bad people
William Elliott Hazelgrove is the best-selling author of five novels, Ripples, Tobacco Sticks, Mica Highways, Rocket Man and the Pitcher. His books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly, Book of the Month Selections, Junior Library Guild Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards and optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. His latest novel Rocket Man was chosen Book of the Year by Books and Authors.net. He has been the subject of interviews in NPR’s All Things Considered along with features in The New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Richmond Times Dispatch, USA Today, People, Channel 11, NBC, WBEZ, WGN. His most recent novel, The Pitcher is a Junior Library Guild Selection and was chosen Book of the Year by Books and Authors. net. His next book OneUp will be out Spring 2014 with Merit Press. A follow up novel Real Santa will be out fall of 2014.
He runs a political cultural blog, The View From Hemingway’s Attic.