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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Article: The Literary Food Chain

by Sharon Horton

In the world of acting, the food chain is well defined. Theater actors look down upon movie actors…movie actors look down upon television actors…television actors look down upon commercial actors…and I suppose commercial actors look down upon infomercial actors. Everyone has an opinion as to what is legitimate within the thespian world.

It is the same within the literary world.

How often I have encountered the curious and intrigued expression when I announce I’m a writer. And how often I have encountered the “looked down upon” expression when it’s discovered I am an unpublished writer.

The first question, after they learn I write, is always, “Are you published?” They don’t care if I’ve written a charming tale about an artichoke that talks and teaches the meaning of life to children, or if I’ve written a complete manual on how to split atoms over a campfire. All they care about is whether they can enter a bookstore and see my name in print.

Will seeing my name in print validate my craft? Maybe. Will it ensure I am a writer? No. I am a writer pure and simple, and struggling with the best of them. The dream of creating our stories and characters is what makes us strive to perfect ourselves. The dream of being published keeps us striving. And yet, we are all still writers.

As the well-read person may have seen in print by another writer, "All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players." Those who are actors, act. We, who are writers, write. If the reading world views the unpublished me as being at the bottom of the literary food chain then I shall accept it proudly, for I am in good company.

About the Author: Born and raised in Northern California, Sharon now lives on the East Coast where her husband, son, dog, cats and goldfish have learned to overlook her endless quest to blend the hearts and spirits of people who don't exist - until she creates them with words. Visit her at her website.

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