The Tucson Festival of Books begins tomorrow (Saturday, March 12) and ends on Sunday.
I will be sharing a booth with two friends and colleagues who wrote books, and we are going to sell our wares.
I am getting out of my comfort zone again – I am a self-publisher, and I write poetry, short stories, and a novel, a ROMANCE novel for the first time.
While the entire purpose of writing books is to possibly sell them, I’d always thought that by now, I would have an agent and be a part of a publishing house! But, here I am being scrappy and selling my books like a hawker on a street corner selling newspapers.
OK. OK. That’s dramatic, I know, but I’m a writer! My imagination gets the best of me.
So, I ask myself: Why are you afraid? I’ll tell you why. People may not like or understand what I wrote about, and they will ask for a refund or chuck it in the trash. They might whisper behind my back, “she shouldn’t quit her day job.” That would be crushing!
But, who do I write for? I did not create a survey from Survey Monkey to ask the public, “How can I please you with my writing?”
No! I write for me. I write about stories that I find exciting, and I build characters that have been stuck in my head for the longest, and they need an outlet! I create towns, cities, people with issues and problems that I steal from friends and family.
There’s one thing I KNOW that I have to do: I need to stop apologizing for my work – my art. For so long, people who found out I write begin talking to me about “you should write about this…” or “you should write about our family history…”
No. I might weave some of our family stories and history into my writing, but I cannot create something because someone said so. I’m not a seamstress and make tailored-made stories or poems.
And, that’s another thing: poetry. I write poems, and people constantly criticize poetry by stating: “I don’t understand it, so I don’t read it.” Poetry is like any other literary work – mixed with fiction and nonfiction. Poetry comes from the poet’s past or present. Poetry tells stories and symbolizes events and commentaries about the world around us.
I write poetry because it reminds me of drawing or painting a picture, and I choose careful words, like how an artist determines colors and strokes. I feel very close to my poetry, and to put it out there is like ripping my chest open to expose my heart.
OK. Again, maybe too dramatic, but I’m weighing my anxiety so that I can laugh at myself and become positive.
Whatever happens, though, I’m going to keep writing. If people buy my books or pass by, smile politely, and take my postcard, at least they see me and what I have out there.
If you’re in Tucson, please come to the Tucson Festival of Books at the University of Arizona. The weather is going to be pleasant! There will be famous authors, lots of books, food, and in Booth 232, you will find “The Poet, The Pilgrim, and The Pirate.”
See you there!