Friday, July 31, 2009

Discounting Greatness

In April, 2007, the Washington Post published Pearls Before Breakfast, Gene Weingarten's article on what happened when a world-class violinist plays in a public place and is perceived as a street musician.

The internationally revered virtuoso Joshua Bell -- handsome, charming, and prodigiously gifted -- was the performer. Bell, whose playing Interview magazine once said did "nothing less than tell human beings why they bother to live." Bell, who provided the lovely music on The Red Violin, and whose talents enable him to command over $1,000 a minute.

Bell didn't play some second-rate fiddle. No-- he played his nearly 300-year old Stradivarius. And he didn't play 5 easy pieces. He played technically challenging masterworks by The Greats.

The article on Bell won Weingarten the Pulitzer.

And the public's reaction to the Master playing among them is a telling (and chilling) illustration of how readily people discount beauty and greatness when we meet it face to face.

Writers often bemoan how difficult it is to get published... read... represented...

"Not true," editors, agents, and publishers would have us believe. "We recognize true talent when we see it."

The reality is, most creative artists are bound to encounter dismissive rejection at some point in their lives. It's easier for people to say "No," than to say, "Yes." If you're writing because you hope for the accolades that accompany a bestseller, you are most likely doomed to disappointment.

Our job as writers is not to give up. To keep on keeping on. To continue to create the things that move us, and inspire us, and make life worth living. Regardless of who recognizes our talents.

Writing Updates

My daughter is spending the week with her grandparents. I'm hoping to be able to immerse myself in my Novel Project, because--

The Projects are done!

Yes, it's true. All loose ends are, for the moment, tied neatly in bows.

Ryan's manuscript is in his hands, awaiting his comments, changes, and suggestions. The photography for that project still awaits scheduling and shooting, but odds are that won't happen in the next week...

The Marathon Man script is in the hands of a possible producer who is discussing the project with Paul.

The Marathon Man book proposal is under consideration to a wonderful agent whom I would love to work with again, and who I have afforded a month-long exclusive to the project. The only thing I can do is cross a few fingers that she likes it well enough to push it aggressively and find a publisher who agrees on its merits.

Which leaves me with a very clear desk. Oh, it's true, there are PR things to do, FaceBook Page learning curves to master, promotional things to undertake for the Marathon Man book and film. But this week is blissfully free. I think I hear my novel calling me...

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