On the journey of trying to get my novel Pushed published the most disappointing aspect has been how few of my friends have read it.
I didn’t expect everyone I sent it to to read it but I expected more than 2 people to read the whole shebang.
My husband, Mark, has read it many times because he is the most awesome husband in the world. My writing friend Silvia read it all the way through in February and gave me great feedback which I used to revise and tighten the story.
Mark’s and Silvia’s insight have been invaluable. They also have been my core support. I wouldn’t have finished it without their encouragement and tough love criticism.
My writing group read 30 page chunks of it sporadically but they quickly started to make it clear that they didn’t want to read any more.
A good writer/musician friend of mine only read the first chapter. At lunch with him the other day, he said it was so much tighter than portions he’d read years before. But sadly he didn’t seem interested in reading more.
So I start to worry that I’m completely delusional that anyone will want to read Pushed. But then I think maybe it’s not about what I’ve written but that quite a few of my friends also are struggling with their creative endeavors and they can’t reach outside of themselves. Maybe they’re suffering from a creative depression or paralysis?
For example, this one super talented in-demand musician I knew (knew because I don’t really know him now, facebook doesn’t count) burned out and actually stopped listening to music. Well, I’ll just put all the cards on the table because why not – he was our first bass player. We recorded our first album with him. He was an amazing bass player and pretty much could play anything and was always in demand. When we finally finished our first album (it was 18 songs and we had no label yet, just multiplying credit card debt), he had moved to California. I sent 99 Cent Dreams to him. He never said a word.
A few months later he visited and wanted to have lunch. It was such a weird lunch. I told him everything we were doing to get our music out there (because I am an obsessive promotional machine but someone has to do it) and I asked if he’d listened to the album.
He said, “I don’t listen to music anymore.” Then he went onto say how he tries not to strive just to be and he was part of this Buddhist group that honestly sounded cult-like to me. That lunch frightened me because the friend I knew was no longer sitting across from me. I’m not sure I’ve conveyed how creepy it was.
I relayed all this to Mark and Mark thought that the change in our former bass player made sense because he really was being diminished by music somehow, he was in more than six bands at the time he was in MAKAR. But he loved music so this revelation from him broke my heart.
And it’s weird to never listen to something you were a part of.
But that was years ago and perhaps he is doing music again. I like to think of him playing even if he isn’t.
Do you think that sometimes friends don’t listen to your music or read your writing or your other creative endeavors because they can’t let themselves put stock in your pipe dreams because somehow it will make them vulnerable too?
Mark is surprised because he said if someone he knew spent 10 years writing a novel and finally finished it, he would at least be curious to read it.
But it is 600 pages and people are busy.
So far, this lack of interest from friends has been the most hurtful. Any other rejection stings but I don’t know those people so I feel removed from their casual deflection.