May 08 Written by 

Get Real

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At this point, after the fourth rejection of my "Interviews with St. Louis Writers" book manuscript, I could cultivate the familiar writerly psychological problems: "I did my best, it wasn't good enough," "Why try," and "I could have predicted this," & so forth. Against those I repeat 50 times: "Writing is an art, publishing is a business." But there's new spot in the Petri dish -- maybe because this is a new kind of manuscript for me -- and it communicates thus:

"You're so arrogant, thinking you can publish a book as-is and get a smidgen of glory. Get real. Remember you are a servant. You serve the publisher and readership. The publisher suggested you compile full bibliographies of all 11 authors. In certain cases, such as Gerald Early's or Don Finkel's, this would take years and you'd come out, as in grad school, with a face like a sneaker sole. But you should do it as a service. Learn to think not like an author, but like a servant."

To this I said (to myself): "That violates my boundary. I think it does. Yes. It does. I perform a service. But I am not a servant.

"H-ll no!"

Catherine Rankovic

Writer, with 30+ years' writing and publishing experience, 20+ years' teaching experience. Last book read: Mrs. Lincoln by Catherine Clinton.