Saturday, January 07, 2006

January 26, 2006: THERE IS, INDEED, KARMA!

Before I begin, I have to apologize, yet again, for my unduly lengthy absence. I wasn't dead, obviously -- just sick as a DAWG with cold viruses that must've been engineered in someone's lab. Again, I'm ready to give Winter the gas face.

Speaking of the gas face, like everyone else, I'm commenting on the James Frey/Oprah smackdown that happened today. I was pissed, because the selective memoirist got not one, but two bites at the Oprah apple. Some writers I know or know of -- Jonathan Frantzen excluded -- would give their left nut to be on Oprah. I, too, am guilty as charged. But I was even more pissed when I read about the January 11 Larry King appearance, when Oprah defended old boy's actions in her phone call. I was like, "Say it ain't so, Ope." And now she has.

For folks like me who try like hell, and leverage their futures, and cripple their finances to get the exposure they need, the question of selling out raises its ugly head. Frey had initially tried to sell his book as fiction, and publishing had given him the gas face. I ask myself, does one have to lie to oneself by being someone she's not or lie to potential book buyers in order to have success at this game?

I love writing. It's cathartic, and it's a challenge that I'm always ready to accept. When I'd written Back to Life, I'd done so on my own schedule and for my own enrichment. Then I signed that contract and realized that this a business too. Polonius, the fool in Hamlet, told his son Laertes, "To thine own self be true." But I have to wonder. Do I and my own true self write what I want to and toil in obscurity, or do I write to a market so that I can leave my dreaded day gig and make a grip of money? On most days, I remain conflicted. On more days that I want to admit lately, though, this is a no-brainer...

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