The Power of Coffee!

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Part instruction, brainstorming, motivation, & critique, our supportive group meets the second and fourth Saturday of the month and is user-friendly, inspirational, and empowering. Every woman deserves a room of her own.

"As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move...similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle."~Honore de Balzac

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Downside of Up

I want my Saturday mornings! April is a long month without my group fix at Paradise Perks. We have taken this hiatus due to special events - Literary Orange at UCI and the Festival of Books at UCLA. Observing one of the extremely successful author types leading the literary life we can only dream about, I have some thoughts on the downside of being way up there on a pedestal.

Observation #1: A certain keynote speaker has definitely had work done and is as much a work-in-progress as his current writing project. This outstanding, prolific, and well known author now has plenty of hair even though he was bald in earlier days. He claims to have been married forty-four years while appearing from a distance to to be about forty-eight.

I'll forgive him for that since this is Orange County, after all, and we've got to make that youthful look last as long as we can even though it's only a look. That's one downside of being on top of the heap. And he's got the money.

Observation #2: This same popular author has definitely kicked his lifestyle up a notch since he arrives in a lengthy limo with security.

Okay, I forgive him for that, too, since maybe his life's been threatened for some reason due to some aspect in his story-line or because he mentions actual places in OC. Maybe that's another downside of being rich and famous for what you write. Anyway, he's got the money.

Observation #3: This wealthy and very successful author doesn't have anything worth saying in a keynote speech. He stood before us and admitted that when he found out he was speaking for only a half hour he went through his files and had two stories that were thirty minutes long. Then he asked if any of us had been to the Mission Viejo Reader's Festival and when only a few raised their hands, he said, "Good. Then I'll tell that story." For a half hour we listened to how he could never take his wife out for a promised dinner in a really nice restaurant while on book tour because the lines of fans awaiting his signature stretched beyond belief. Sure, we laughed at times as we tried to imagine how upsetting it must be to have so many people clamoring for your autograph that you don't get dinner, but – I can't forgive him for this.

After all, this was a keynote speech. For writers, where was his mentoring advice, invigorating inspiration, and motivation to encourage us to continue past all those obstacles in the difficult journey? For readers, where was the big reveal about how he gets his plot twists, develops characters, and his clever tricks on how he delights and surprises us.

As both a writer and reader, I was disappointed that someone way up on top couldn't offer more. Writers need writers. Do those who succeed beyond anyone's wildest dreams forget where they started from? Readers want more, too, not anecdotes about dining on chips at midnight, but details about a writer at work. A keynote speaker should say something memorable since a lot of us forked over sixty bucks we couldn't afford just to be in this man's presence.

I didn't buy his book and I didn't wait in the line that went down the hall. It wasn't that long really, and I'm sure that stretch limo got him home in plenty of time for dinner.

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