Matthew Wright

in the clouds

Characters

I would make a lousy character in one of my stories. It’s why this blog seems so foolish. I found my voice, in fiction at least, only after I kept myself out of it. The people in my stories draw from my experience. What else is there? Even complete fantasy has to come from somewhere. The exploration of those fictional lives still shapes my view of the world. I can’t figure all you people out, but the composites of what I like most and least, watching those people grow, forms a basis for my understanding of the world. So, I guess, everyone but me is a character in one of my stories. Pieces of everyone anyway.

I’m always discouraged to hear from the few published authors I know how little money they make from their writing. Once everyone who can get your book out there takes their cut there’s not much left over. It’s like you bust your ass to make Thanksgiving dinner, serve a dozen people, and when you finally sit down the stuffing is gone and only a little dark meat remains. You take one bite and look up to 12 faces asking, “what’s for dessert?”

When I was younger and unpublished I wanted to walk into a book store and see my work. I still want that, but it’s not front and center anymore. I’m too old for that part of my still-beating dream. In terms of the life of an artist I let fear or disorganization relegate me to hobbyist. It doesn’t matter what I could’ve been. I wasn’t. Or, healthier to say, I’m something else, maybe even someone else.

I build custom WordPress themes now. Not this one. This is the standard 2022 Theme. I don’t have the time (or budget) to build myself the kind of designs I make for clients. I still write novels. I still don’t submit them. I’m probably too young to think about how little time I have left, but the part of me that loves my fake little people doesn’t want to trade them for the shop window and a royalty check that covers a nice dinner out (but probably not the tip). How much would I love my manuscripts after editors, agents, publishers and marketers make me change most of what delights me, right before they take most of the money? Artistic servitude and still can’t quit your day job? Fuck that.

I have other plans. Stay tuned, no one in particular.

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