Literary Bootcamp: “What’s your pen-name, soldier!?”
So I leave for Writer’s Bootcamp in two days and I am having quite a mixed response to it.
I’ve been reading Orson Scott Card’s books for a couple of years now, and while I have not read all of them (I’ve only read the first Ender book, but all of the Alvin Maker series thus far) I’ve enjoyed them quite a bit. Still, I am not approaching this Bootcamp, which Mr. Card is hosting, with anything like hero worship. If it was Stephen King hosting it, that would be different. I’ve been reading his works since I was a teenager and have devoured all of them, even (and especially) the Gunslinger series. I’d hate for Mr. Card to know it, but Mr. King is actually sort of my literary forefather. If he were hosting this event, I would be as nervous as the proverbial scho0l girl.
For that reason, I am sort of glad that it will be Mr. Card and not Mr. King standing behind the desk. I can approach Mr. Card with respect, rather than avoid him out of unworthy awe. Make sense? Anyway.
I spent a good chunk of change on this trip. How ironic that it actually happens at a time when I have just lost my job and am worried about money. If I could go back in time and save the money instead, I’d do it. And yet, I can’t help wondering (romantic that I am) if this is how it was meant to be. I don’t want to think that, because it leads me to have hopes about this event that I am equally sure will eventually be disillusioned, but I think it anyway. I (just like many of you) am very adept at setting up the trap of disappointment and then stepping right into it. Whee!
But I haven’t stepped into this one yet, thus I am still entertaining the tantalizing possibility that this trip will be worth it– that something amazing will happen, something validating (in the least) and potentially life-changing (at the most).
I am an artist, which means that I have too good of an imagination for my own good. When I was a kid, I kept myself awake at night imagining vivid horrors lurking in the dark. As an adult, I keep myself awake at night imagining plausible breakthroughs that could happen during trips like the one I am about to take.
Shall I admit them and thereby show them for the foolishness that they likely are?
What if Mr. Card reads some of my writing and thinks it actually is good? What if he thinks it’s good enough to introduce me to a good literary agent? Or a publisher? What if he gives me a quote I can use to market my stories myself? (“Riveting and Engaging! A Must Read!” — Orson Scott Card) What if in the next few months I don’t need to find another digital art job because by then, thanks to this event, I will be (gasp!) Writing For A Living??
Ridiculous, of course. But not impossible, right? That’s the terrible thing about it.
So I temper those thoughts with ones like these:
Most likely, I will never have a private interaction with Mr. Card. Most likely, he will barely register any of my own writing, and if he does, it will not be brilliant enough to catch his attention. Most likely, this will be an instructional, handy-helpful adventure in how to become, eventually and with practice, a better writer. Most likely, the rest of the writers attending the event will be as good and better than me. Most likely this will be just one more milestone on a long road of milestones toward some unknown destination that might not, in fact, include ever getting “for real” published.
That’s far more likely, isn’t it? Tell me it is. I need to know that, so I won’t be too disappointed when the time comes.
If I am allowed, and if I have time, I will probably blog here about the Bootcamp as it is happening. It will be all next week. Wish me luck. Fingers crossed.