Written in the Stars

Posted on 17 October 2012

I had a dream about of a friend and her book. She’s been working on this manuscript for years, and it’s gone through several rather significant overhauls. It’s a wonderful book, compelling with a sharp, funny voice, but it also touches on some pretty heavy themes. She’s definitely on my list of People to Be Nice to Because They Will One Day Be Famous and I Will Rely on Their Mercy. (Just kidding. I’m not organized enough to maintain such a list.)

In my dream, my friend called me in a state of complete excitement because she had gotten an offer on her book. This was a surprise because she hasn’t even started looking for an agent yet, much less a publisher. It turns out a small press somehow got a hold of her manuscript and made an offer. It would be a small print run and a small advance, but it would be edited by someone who believed in it. This was very good news, and I wanted to be happy for my friend.

But I wasn’t, not entirely. I was disappointed. I was disappointed because she hadn’t yet tried to get an agent or determine whether a bigger house, one with more resources and publicity and pull, would buy her book. I see this friend’s name punctuated by stars. I see her book front and center in the big-chain bookstore, right when you walk in. Maybe this wasn’t the right way to feel, but it was my reaction. I was excited for her news, but I also wanted more for her.

What do you want for your friends?

Photo: Raoul Pop

5 responses to Written in the Stars

  • Sarah W says:

    Fame, fortune, happiness, and the willingness to fly me out to their private island.

    Okay, so only that third one is true. I don’t want my friends to settle, either, but if their choices make them happy, what more can I want for them that isn’t actually what I think will make me happy?

  • Josephine says:

    i want whatever they want for themselves; and for them to feel loved.

    for myself, i want the ability to understand fully and wholeheartedly without one breath of doubt that my way to the stars may not be what i had envisioned and that it’s about sticking with what feels right vs. what i thought was going to be the right path.

    maybe this book isn’t the one meant for the coveted Target book endcap…maybe it’s the one that gets her in the door so that when it’s time for the endcap the right people are listening and know what she’s capable of. maybe that small publisher knows someone who knows someone who produces indie films and that book is meant for other things than an endcap. who knows. life’s a funny bitch and walking our paths without room to waver isn’t always the best plan.

    are we still talking about dreams? my son just woke me up and i couldn’t sleep and now it’s 1:27 a.m. and i have no idea if i’m dreaming or the lightening outside is real.

    i have an unrelenting craving for chocolate milk though. so i must be awake.

  • Teri says:

    I want their work to find its audience. I want them to get the level of respect they deserve from the industry and their peers. I want all of their friends and family to go all out in support of their book, whether they like the book or not. I want someone to throw them a launch party with a caterer. I want their favorite writers, their idols, to send them emails and handwritten letters telling them how much they love their book, and to offer help if ever help is needed. I want them to go to bed every night knowing that someone out there is reading their words and is thankful for them.

    That’s my dream.

  • Averil says:

    I am more ambitious for my friends than I am for myself. Tetman in particular has sent me some work that absolutely blew me away—I mean blew. me. away. And it makes me insane with frustration that he doesn’t get the attention he deserves.

    I want the world for him, for all my friends. Sometimes I daydream about finding some success for myself in order to demand it for those who deserve it more.

  • Catherine says:

    I think this dream represents the mixed bag that is publishing. True belief and smaller circulation, or big dollars, big pressure and different horizons. Surely your dreams would delight your friend, but would she be the same person afterwards? It’s so hard to say. Of course everyone wants success but the exposure involved seems quite disarming. Look at JK Rowling and her paparazzi problems. It’s hellish reading what she has become and what her main fears are in life. To a writer friend I would wish comfort – both financial and intellectual – but with freedom to move and good health!

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