Not that there’s anything wrong with garage bands or garage band singers. In fact, some of the greatest acts in musical history started out with two or three guys and gals playing drums and guitar in mom and pop’s house on weekends.
There are artists who now rank among the greatest creative spirits in music, film, painting, sculpture, and of course, writing of all genres, who started their lives homeless, waiting tables, working retail, playing dive bars and street corners, or other domains in obscurity. They had gifts and passions, and were willing to fight for them and follow them.
I love watching movies and reading stories about famous bands that were just playing original material in one questionable joint after another until one day, some big record producer drops in on their show and everything changes.
It makes me smile to read about a group of teenagers or twentysomething kids having their MySpace pages discovered by a radio station director or talent agent. What begins as a simple desire to share one’s inspiration and maybe the faint hope of future glory ends in the realization of a higher reality that’s almost too awesome to accept.
The pursuit of such passion and the present but inessential hope against odds that the chase will yield success – and, sure, an ability to sing on key – are what now connects me to those garage band singers.
My novel Convergence is now available as an ebook, with paper copies to follow. I’m going the indie route because in many ways, the publishing world now resembles the music industry. Lulu and Nook are my nightclubs and street corners, though they get far more pedestrian traffic.
Yes, I’m playing a tune for coins – $1.99, to be precise – but the money making for now is secondary to the idea that I have a story to tell, and I want people to read it. And it could be someone in the industry – a lit agent, an editor, a publisher looking for new talent – comes and finds me, but again, those odds are against me, and I have to be okay with that.
It may not be Convergence or even my next book in progress, Overlife, that gets me me fame. It may not be any of them. But there is that hope against odds, and it’s not going anywhere.
I’m not quite ready for the road bumps ahead, but no one ever is, with any project. The most we can ever be is watchful, and so I’m watching out for them.
Until then, my first novel is out there in more ways than one.
A friend of mine is leaving for Europe for a year for a grad school program. We are pretty close, she and I, and though she’s not broadcasting where she’s going and I’m respecting her wishes for anonymity on social media, I wanted to report that she carries with her the first print copy of Convergence.
Years ago, I’d written my true first book, a self-help about the quarter-life crisis that’s no longer available, self-pubbed about 50 copies, but she’d never seen it. She would bug me for a signed copy, and I kept forgetting to deliver.
But, meeting for coffee one last time yesterday before her flight on Monday, I gave her the signed prototype of Convergence, which is as of this writing, the only printed copy in existence, and will be for the next few weeks. My friend was happy to receive it, and said she would read it on her plane ride.
Giving a farewell present to one of my closest friends was really my main intention, with, of course, a little bit of promotion a secondary consideration.
It only really hit me later that same day that, in a few days’ time, someone will be reading a story that I wrote on an airplane flying over the Atlantic, headed to a foreign land far away.
In a few days, someone will be reading my story on an airplane.
I’ve never felt this way before. I hope it doesn’t go away.
(And yeah, you can download the Convergence epub here.)