Sunday, May 1, 2016

It's the Joy, Stupid

Ernest Cline speaks at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC, 4/20/2016

I'm a writer who isn't writing. For the last several weeks I've been in a rut, possibly due to the umpteen rejections I've been receiving, perhaps due to mental fatigue, perhaps due to a lack of motivation. This period follows an intensely productive period where I started and finished half a dozen stories, took a class, and attended a workshop.

Then, kablooey.

I hit the proverbial wall. My motivation dried up. My creativity went dormant. 

Last night I may have gone and gotten myself all reinvigorated. I listened to Ernest Cline speak at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC. If you're not familiar with him, you should know he's the author of Ready Player One, a fantastic book that is essentially Charlie and the Chocolate Factory except it involves virtual reality instead of a chocolate factory and the contestants must know all kinds of stuff about the 80's.

Cline told his "origin story". He grew up on a farm in the 80's in the same pop culture I did. He wrote a sequel to Buckaroo Banzai for fun. He wrote a movie entitled Fanboys about being a huge Star Wars nerd...and it got made! He wrote RPO, then sold the rights for both the novel AND the film within a 48-hour period! He set up a brilliant scavenger hunt contest with clues in his book but didn't tell anyone until the eve of its paperback release. The grand prize was a DeLorean. Stephen Spirlberg's directing the RPO movie. His second book, Armada, is a bestseller right now.

As I listened to him speak, I started to get a little annoyed about how much he was talking about himself. It then dawned on me that of course he was talking about himself because that's why the people came to see him speak (some drove as many as 5 hours). It then dawned on me that the reason I was getting annoyed was because I was straight up jealous! Ernest Cline is living my frickin' dream.

His talk was full of absolute joy, with the primary theme being, "Can you believe all this awesome stuff is actually happening to a schlub like me?"

At one point he stopped to say that he isn't able to write for some imaginary audience. He writes things that, as a reader, HE would find awesome and exciting and cool. 

By golly, that's why I do it. That's what I'd forgotten. That's what I'm going to do again.

It's the joy, stupid.

Written April 20, 2016, but posted later due to life and reasons.

1 comment:

  1. I am often surprised by my reactions - especially those like you had where you felt one way at first and then it morphed into the complete opposite. Thanks for sharing.