Last night, Janice and I attended the SUNY Brockport Writer’s Forum featuring a reading and conversations with acclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning author Nathan Englander. Truth be told, with the launch of The King of Kreskin Avenue at the Genesee Valley Club coming up in a few days, I went to see how a pro participates in an event and how he engages with the audience.
Truth be told part 2: I pitched The King to him, and he seemed interested and said he would take a look. How cool would it be to get a review and guidance from an award-winning author!
I learned more than just format and process for doing a book event.
Nathan talked about the art of writing and the “sweet spot” when an author gets so absorbed and involved in writing that time seems to stand still and ideas and words flow effortlessly. His take was that outside of this sweet spot, an author is basically writing to fill pages, but within, the author is delivering on the promise of the piece in its purest form.
I walked away thinking a lot about this comment, and how reflected on how I brought the King to life.
It was in those sweet spots that Englander talks about – those hours where I was in a comfortable, impenetrable cocoon, writing without regard for the time I was spending or the place where I was writing – that The King found its rhythm and voice. I entered that space with an idea of what I needed to do in order to make the story go where it needed to go, but without any preconditions about how to get there.
There were times when I exited this sweet spot, read what I had written, and thought to myself, “Yow! What a piece of crap!”
Other times I felt that I had nailed it, and with the help of my editor, was able to bring it to a publishable state.
This new writing gig is challenging and so, so different from the type of business writing that funded my retirement. I have no illusions that I’m anywhere near being an accomplished novelist, but I’m pleased with my first effort and looking forward with great enthusiasm to what I’ll be learning as I sail though these last chapters of my life.
I can’t wait to find those next sweet spots!