Tuesday, October 27, 2009


So, this is difficult. I've managed to have a career as a photographer in a rather under-the-table manner, enough to get me tenure, enough shows to make me look credible. I've done a lot of work. And still do a lot of work.

But now I'm in different territory. My obsession with writing -- poetry and memoir -- has become obvious with the nearly publication of a chapbook of poetry (at this point, I automatically type www.finishinglinepress.com   go to New Releases) because that's what I've been doing...e-mailing and facebooking friends to convince them to buy a copy. 

I wouldn't do this if the press-run didn't depend on the number of pre-publication sales. Part of me, the old part of me that loved doing everything in secret, wouldn't have told anyone about this and wouldn't have cared since the publisher will publish it even if no pre-release copies sell. He just won't publish as many. But he does send many e-mails about how to sell the book. And he sends a weekly update on how many have sold. That makes me feel just rotten. I haven't sold enough. I've got to hustle. Who can I write? 

This is unpleasant, but it's part of my having gone back to therapy in the effort to define the next ten years in a better way than I've defined the past. I'd like to have fun and do what I want and feel good about myself. I do feel good about myself when I'm working. I love to work -- take photographs, video, work in clay, write.  But it's the in-between that just doesn't seem interesting enough.

But today I talked with a friend, who had an equally, if not significantly worse, childhood than I did and she has suffered from the same problem of wanting to learn how to have 'fun,' but she's decided it doesn't matter any more. She accepts who she is, a person who loves working (and she works extremely hard) and then fills in the rest somehow. I must say that her description of how she fills it in sounded enviable, but if I'm absolutely honest, it's not all that different from what I do except that I don't see it as enough. But this brief conversation, one of those four or five minute happenings on the sidewalk when it's just warm enough, gave me a new perspective. 

1 comment:

  1. Melissa,
    I am not as good as you are - by a long shot - at commenting but I want to thank you for your recent attention to my blog.

    My book is just out and I'm not doing a great job at all of selling it. I don't know my #s and don't ask. Maybe I should. I'd be amazed if I've gone over ... well, I don't know.

    So I get you there, sister. Finishing Line is good. Let us both be proud. If you come to N.Y., tell me in advance.