Keith Rosson stopped by as part of the blog tour for his new story collection: Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons and shares what writing means to him. Be sure to enter for a chance to win a $50 gift card at the bottom of this post and check out his new book.
Writing Means… by Keith Rosson
This one’s personal and by no means is meant to be considered a catch-all for everyone’s experiences. This is just where I’m coming from. If you can relate to any of it, a tip of the hat to you. I’m not trying to lay down some absolute law about writing or publishing. Everyone’s route is different. That said,
Writing means publishing your first novel at forty years old. Writing means meeting a deadline and knowing that with another pass or two it could have become a stronger piece. Writing means having a story rejected five, ten, fifty times before it lands a home somewhere. Writing means having a story rejected five times and deciding to shelve it because you understand the necessary spark just isn’t in it after all. Writing means understanding you know very little about it and the more you do it the more – not less – it becomes intrinsic, organic, a thing you simply have faith in. Writing means every time you start a story or a novel, there’s that some rabbit-quick flash of terror inside, that little voice that says There’s not a chance you’re going to be able to do this again. Writing means having that epiphany at 4:36 a.m., pulled from a sleep with that answer to a problem in your book – a plot point, a motivation, a structure – and chanting it internally like a mantra is you drift back to sleep. Writing means reading reviews that you feel woefully mischaracterize your work. Writing means never ever contacting a reviewer who you feel didn’t treat your book with the proper amount of deference – reviews aren’t for you. Writing means you can find yourself in a bad mood if it doesn’t go well for a few days in a row. Writing means taking a placement test as a freshman in college and finding yourself put in a Basics of English because you couldn’t diagram a sentence of name the parts of speech if your life depended on it. Writing means dropping out of college still not knowing these things. Writing means getting emails from readers who just wrote to thank you for your work, to tell you they were moved by it, and when you get those you marvel at what a lucky, incredible live you have been given. Writing means telling the stories of men who are broken in key, vital ways, and hoping to place a salve on some hidden, wounded, animal part of yourself in the process. Writing means agonizing over a title for so long, and only sometimes finding the right one. Writing means you will have four books – three novel and story collection – out in the world by the time you are forty-five. Writing means knowing that you still have so many more books in you, and finding a great comfort in that. Writing means almost always going with what the editor wants to do, as their vision is somehow almost always keener than yours, which shouldn’t make any sense but does. Writing means wondering when you are no longer “up and coming” or “to be watched.” Writing means crafting hundreds of letters and emails over your career – pitches, queries, submissions, job applications, review requests, on and on – and getting nothing back, nothing at all. Writing is seeing your first royalty check. Writing is holding your first ARC in your hands and being like, A book. They made a book out of this thing I did. Writing means that first drafts must, by law, suck, and that subsequent drafts hopefully will – but are not obligated to – get better, until somewhere around the 5th to 10th run-through, the thing’s read to send out, so that it can then get chopped up or dismissed by someone else. Writing means sitting there enveloped in that simple joy – just you, pulling words from the air, crafting a world.
With Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons, award-winning author Keith Rosson delves into notions of family, grief, identity, indebtedness, loss, and hope, with the surefooted merging of literary fiction and magical realism he’s explored in previous novels. In “Dunsmuir,” a newly sober husband buys a hearse to help his wife spread her sister’s ashes, while “The Lesser Horsemen” illustrates what happens when God instructs the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to go on a team-building cruise as a way of boosting their frayed morale. In “Brad Benske and the Hand of Light,” an estranged husband seeks his wife’s whereabouts through a fortuneteller after she absconds with a cult, and in “High Tide,” a grieving man ruminates on his brother’s life as a monster terrorizes their coastal town. With grace, imagination, and a brazen gallows humor, Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons merges the fantastic and the everyday, and includes a number of Rosson’s unpublished stories, as well as award-winning favorites.
GENRE: Collection / Speculative Fiction / Magical Realism / Literary
BOOK PAGE: https://meerkatpress.com/books/folksongs/
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