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A Maelstrom of Unpopular Opinion and Doubt

23 January 2018

The next morning, of course, brought doubt. How? a million possible answers to this came up.


There are a few things, and I don't know what is right. The older I get and the more things I do (or try to do), the less I am able to just go with inspiration. I mean, gut feeling is always there, but so is the feeling of desire, of wish... of vision. That's the rub: when an image comes in. It often does, and it's luminous against the large sheet of darkness. What's more, it seems unignorably important. That, for me, is the difficulty in the moment.


But your visions are malleable and altogether less permanent than they would like to seem, whether you like it or not. You'll know once you have enough of them....


No, it has to be well thought out, well considered, and I hate to say it but the sensible choice is usually, well, the sensible choice. I don't say this to not follow your dreams. But I do say to pick apart your dreams and see what they actually hold. The image they take on is the hook, and if you don't believe that quod me nutrit, me destriut , consider how effective hooks are. 


Perhaps there is danger in only having a single dream. Perhaps having many competing ones is good in that it lets you stand in the empty space between them. One - it will take up your whole view.


I write all this nonsense to explain - or try to understand - the whole idea of starting a publishing business, which was spark and poison. Spark, then poison. Initially, I thought to use this site and call it 'new to the public', because 

  1. it was me
  2. it seemed like the outward culmination of years of private, internal work - so how could it be any other way, except to put a shelter over my pile of stuff and stick a sign out in front of it?

  But this vein of thought bothered me for several reasons:

  1. I would use this site, which would mean once again tearing down and rebuilding what I have spent so long building up
  2. it would mean I turn myself into a business
  3. it was me... and only me. That felt, somewhow... not like what I should be going for.


This may undoubtedly be an unpopular position to take since an overwhelming amount of advice for authors points to creating your own publishing company to treat your writing like a business. In theory, this is a great idea that I may have overthought to death. One thing I do understand about publishing is that the longest uphill climb is to do what everybody else has done or is doing. You are starting out competing with the world. You are positioning yourself little better, really, than if you were to simply release your books under your own name because by now everyone knows this trick. Don't take my opinion seriously, however; I am, after all, an unpublished author and only one opinion. It would make much more sense to listen to the opinion of someone who has been published and treated themselves like a business.


But do I want to be published? No, I want to be heard. I want the things that have come out from a place in myself I cannot reach at will to be caught and recognized and have an impact on somebody else. And yes, publishing is the logical vehicle for that for somebody who writes stories or books. I don't want to be published in just any way - because that doesn't necessarily mean I will be heard. So you may get the nominal accolade and feel none of the effect you'd hoped, because it did not have the effect you envisioned it having. That may be the essence of why to create a publishing house for your work alone isn't the best solution (or maybe it is and I'm overthinking??).


What about the writing group? That came into my head and pushed against this initial notion of calling it 'new to the public'. I already have something called the Writing Hour and it puts out publications... why not build on that? I did not like this for one main reason:

  1. Writing Hour is already associated with an organization, not a publisher


But some research on other publishers, like catapult, revealed a publishing company who also does a bunch of other stuff. Long story short, I went with Writing Hour.


What garners more interest? A publishing house that revolves around the interests and vision of one person, or a publisher that is open to the visions and contributions of many people?


Who knows, maybe one day it'll have an imprint (or seven... probably seven or more...) that puts out things that are personal to me. And another that puts out things that are personal to other people in the group. And... and... the possibilities are endless. Back to the maelstrom we go.


TL;DR: keeping funds for my group officially separate from myself and making it a 'thing'.


I've thought recently about buying a boat. Today I drove 3.5 hours one way (just so you know what I'm capable of and stop taking my advice on any matters) to look at a Seafarer 22, to be talked out of it by my good friend who has a boat and drive 3.5 hours back. There's a running list of potential boat names I've been keeping and, like the rest of the questions, this one swirls around, too. All the names I've come up with are something very personal to me, and very serious and meaningful. It all seemed very circular and weighed, oh, a thousand pounds. Until the thought hit me to name it after the family's amazon parrot, Stepan, whom I hope to one day ferry to his Promised Land. The weight of the world came off.


(Promised Land may not be the worst boat name...)