A little bit of Punk Rock
Back in High School, I fell in love with the punk rock scene. The music dragged me in. From the first track of my first Social Distortion CD I was hooked. I filled my CD case with little regard to the opinions of anyone else. The Ramones, Gob, NUFAN, Rancid and NOFX, I loved them all.
I loved the style, and not just of the music. Heavy eyeliner, patches on jeans, backpacks and purses, buttons, bright colors and, of course, Converse All-Stars. All of that was great, but what I loved more than anything was the way the kids supported the local bands. Looking back, it was kind of amazing. They handed out fliers, bought CDs and t-shirts, carried equipment, and managed the merchandise tables while the bands were on stage. And then, when the show was over, and the guitars, drumsets and amps were packed away for another day, these same kids stayed after to pick up the trash, sweep the floors and even wipe down a table or two.
In the end, one might wonder why all this fuss over a handful of garage bands, many of who never performed in anything larger than a gym or recreation center. It's simple really. They were our heroes. They had a dream and they pursued it with everything they had. They paid little mind to the statistics of the music world or their chance of having any real success in it. They just slung their guitar straps over their shoulders, grabbed drumsticks and microphones and gave it everything they had. It was the music that mattered most; that and the dream of sharing it.
What does this have to do with writing? Everything, really. As writers, we chase the near-impossible dream of seeing our novels on bookstore shelves. We know that in reality our novels may never see past the slush pile on our favorite editors' desks, but that does not stop us from writing them.
Sure, we sometimes fantasize about six figure checks and best seller lists, but when it really comes down to it, our stories are the real dream. We love our characters like the garage bands loved their songs. we created them, spent long hours crafting scenery and dialogue and developed the skills to make them as real as we possibly could. And then we write, day in and day out, creating the novel that will make it all happen. The big story that will make our characters matter. Like the garage bands, we chase our dreams regardless of the very real possibility of failure.
We may not always feel like rock stars, even the local garage band kind, especially when our outlines are full of plot holes and our characters won't do what we tell them to. And maybe we don't have a gym full of kids to cheer us on when we've written a great scene, but even the greatest musicians sometimes struggle to make their lyrics fit and those bad ass guitar riffs don't write themselves. We're not without support either. We have friends, boyfriends, husbands, wives, teachers and co-workers cheering us on. We have each other. And I don't know about you, but when my friends show up in the middle of the night to help me with a difficult plot twist or my constant search for plot holes or offer to read, edit, or simply listen to my drafts, I sometimes feel a little like a rock star, local or otherwise. Besides, who needs screaming teenagers anyway?