Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Writer's Dream

My life changed in one summer. I had just signed a two book deal with Bantam after years of struggling in total obscurity and actually been  paid good money after making nothing for years and now was on my way to the Big Apple to ink the deal and have dinner with my new editor and agent. A  year before my manuscripts had been sitting in the basement in a box where I put all those books and stories that never see the light of day, but events had flipped on their head as they tend to do in the careers of writers and acrobats and now I was headed for a victory tour of sorts.

The dinner was on the lower East side in a French restaurant with Conan O'Brien at the next table and you sort of leave the table and float down the street in the warm summer night because finally finally you have broken through to the other side. I didnt' know exactly what the other side would bring, but the biggest change is you have to adjust the way you think about yourself. Failure had been the shadow following me for years and I really wasn't used to that new ghost called success, but here she was. And so I sat and made small talk with the two people who could potentially launch my stalled literary career and then it was over and I was waking up the next morning.

I went for a run and then walked down through Manhattan still hung over and buzzing on adrenalin. I was due to meet my agent again that evening, but for now I was free and I drifted into an old bookstore and bought two very old editions of Fitzgerald Short Stories( Tales of the Jazz Age and Flappers and Philosophers)  They were the original Scribner binding with the cut pages and the slightly smaller than trade size. Second editions that I picked up for a hundred bucks, but I was making money now. And then I started walking down Fifth Avenue and that's when it hit me.

It was summer in Manhattan and one of those hot blowy days where everyone has left. I walked with my two books and knew then something had ended. I had struggled for ten years to get published and now I had and whatever happened next would be consumed with business and sales and publisher agent shenanigans. And so I walked and walked and walked those empty streets with my two copies of Fitzgerald on that hot summer day in Manhattan. I walked that whole island.

Rocket Man will be out in January

Books by William Hazelgrove