Friday, April 29, 2011

Eyes wide open

You thought I wouldn't write about the royal wedding--but how can you pass it up? Side note: I find it *astounding* that people wear crowns for real, not as jokes or birthday celebrations. Who'd want to be responsible for it? I'd probably leave it in the bathroom or something.

To task: Kate Middleton seems pretty dang sensible, and she seems to have her eyes wide open. She's a princess with a good head on her shoulders, if you believe the media. If you're going to become a princess, 29 is a good age to do it. She's known Wills for a long time, and she knows what she's getting into, which is an antiquated, stiff, public, and formal life. But she seems destined to not succumb to the bullshit. She's her own woman, it looks like. Good for you, Kate.

This is not unlike publishing (ha, you didn't think I'd be able to make it writing-related, did you?). Some folks get anointed to be a prince/princess by the marketing machine. Crowns and Book Expo America and New York Times ads, oh my! Some folks don't get chosen, which can hurt, of course. But there's tension for the royalty--what if the next book isn't as good? What if the marketing dollars aren't there next time? What if the royalty hates being in public? The pressure is no fun. I can hear other writers saying it right now: "Whatever, bring it on! It's all about sales!" I don't disagree--I wouldn't say no to that kind of crown.

As writers, we need to keep our eyes open and be realistic. We need to remember that we do this for the joy of it. The marketing crown is definitely nice, but when the crowds go home, we need to be doing it for love. Kate married William because she loves him and wants to be with him. We write because we want to be with our characters, we want to spin tales others will enjoy. The pomp and circumstance is lovely, but what's underneath is better.

Fancy dresses rock, and hats rock harder. But so does unraveling plot points and jumping up from the computer, screaming "Yes! I did it!" (I don't do it often, and only when there's no one around). For me, that's where it's at. Would I say no to being a publishing princess? Of course not! But I've got to do it for the love of it, or it's not worth the tiara.

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