No Pulp for Me
J. R. Handley posted a blog about writing pulp fiction, which he defined in terms of the number of words written in a year (a lot) and the number of books published (a lot.) I admire those who can write and publish so prolifically in the same way I admire pro golfers: I cannot do what they do but am awfully glad that someone does. I have met people who admire math teachers for the same reason.
(Note to self: Download latest AP questions from the College Board.)
The reason I mention pulp fiction is because it is another step in my writing journey. In this case, it is a look down a path that is not for me. Looking at non-models and non-exemplars is just as important as the models and examples. I spent time considering whether or not I should try my hand at pulp fiction; I decided for now to leave it.
For one thing, pulp fiction demands writing thousands of words a day. That does not work for me because I am all about Rhino, and my Rhino does not charge–he meanders. He is like Ferdinand the bull, stopping and smelling the flowers. When Rhino and I get together to write something, it is an exercise in patience and perseverance.
In the first place, Rhino is always late. No matter when I schedule a writing session, Rhino is never on time. Often he simply fails to show up at all. This is annoying because whatever I write on my own has to be redone when Rhino finally arrives. Just once I would like to settle down to write and have Rhino right there with me, without having to stop and grab a Kleenex, get a jacket, check email, or get a drink of water.
Second, Rhino doesn’t stick with an idea long enough to write thousands of words about it. His path diverges into the woods, onto the beach, and up the mountains. He grabs my pencil and runs away with it. And what can I do but follow him?
(Note to self: You really do enjoy Rhino’s sidetracks.)
Finally, pulp fiction writers publish their books–their many words are put into print for public consumption. I am still working on getting my first book published. The thing is, I don’t mind the wait. I am not in a hurry. I am enjoying the journey.
(Note to self: Write in all sorts of emotional states; it’s a good aerobic exercise. But be careful about what you publish. Just because it’s written doesn’t mean it’s meant for the public to read.)
So I am glad that people like J. R. Handley write pulp fiction and that they write about writing any sort of fiction. It makes for interesting books. And I’m glad that Rhino meanders and sometimes stops along the way–it gives me time to visit a point of interest and read the signpost.