I’m a writer. I am

Pretentious and preposterous. That’s how this line reads: I’m meeting my agent. It’s not so much name dropping, as noun dropping.  Like, did I mention my sports-car repairman stopped by? Hold on, the art dealer is calling. Oh, and I’m meeting my literary agent this afternoon. But I am. I’m going to spend this whole weekend playing at writer. I don’t mean the solitary, banging-your-head-into-the-keyboard part of being the writer. That’s the real part. I’m going to enjoy the public part, where you get to act like a writer.

Journalism taught me long ago you don’t say you have a story until it is for real, in print, ink on newsprint. I found it hard not to take the same stance when defining what I now do. I swallowed the word “writer” when people asked how it is I spend my days. After all, no book. Proof and the pudding and all that. I finally settled on saying, “wannabe writer and stay-at-home dad.” There’s no oversell in that.

But today I am meeting with my agent, Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Getting to this point has been a long time coming—a lot of words under the bridge, tens of thousand in fact. I’m still a wannabe, but I’m a wannabe with an agent who also wants me to be. Tomorrow, we head to the Festival of the Book in Charlottesville. We’ll meet some of her other writers, some with actual books out. I’ll check out conferences on publishing and ebooks and marketing and meet authors (the real kind) and walk around the place in my writer pose.

I’ve even brought a special T-shirt. This year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens. In celebration, Philosophy Football created the Dickens XI shirt, with Dickens characters shown in each of the 11 positions on a soccer team. Too esoteric to put soccer and writing together? Maybe, but the writer pose is all about the eccentric. Anyway,  imagine Pickwick anchoring the midfield and Chuzzlewit storming forward at center forward. It’s a mash up and we love those.

In between meeting my agent—said it again—and swanning around the fest, I’m sneaking into a late matinee of “Hunger Games.” I’d planned on the midnight show last night, but the travel logistics didn’t work. My next book is for young adults. I do not have visions of “Hunger Games” or Potterworld dancing in my head. I wish the movie well because I wish writers well. I hope Suzanne Collins becomes a squagillionaire. (Based on the movie theater parking lot outside, I think she’s got a shot.) When stories fascinate, writers have a chance, even the guy playing one for the weekend.

6 Responses to “I’m a writer. I am”

  1. Anne Mikusinski

    Congratulations, Rich! You are on your way. I don’t know if you’d remember me, but I’m good friends with your sister, Julie. This year, I’m hoping to get a first draft of my book done, so I hear every word you said.
    Good luck tomorrow, and always!

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    • rich

      Hi Anne. I do remember you. Thanks for the best wishes. Good luck with the writing. I spoke briefly with mystery writer JA Vance at the book festival, and as she said to me, “a writer is someone who has written today.”

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  2. charlie

    It’s long overdue Rich. The really wonderful thing about your writing is that it is getting better all the time! Now, if that were only true with my soccer and running skills, we’d both march off into the afterlife as Olympians – of some sort: ) Maybe playing Quiddich. Or some other mash up. I love that term – Mash up. Still looking to read a galley or early copy of your Timers book…(hint, hint : )

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  3. rich

    Charlie, you can definitely read it when it’s done. Right now revising the first 25,000 words on the way to 75,000 by October. Writing is one of the few things you can age at and into. It’s far fairer discipline, in that regard, versus sports or the fine arts.

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  4. Charlie

    Rich,

    When do I get to see your writer’s pose? Or do you have to wait till the book is in print? And, oh, a gross question I know, but do they still come out in hardcover?

    Charlie

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  5. rich

    Charlie: Definitely not til there’s a book. Then I pose. A hardcover for me and my crime novel is a long reach, but it could happen. More likely is a trade paperback, or even straight to eBook.

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