At my library, professional journals circulate among the staff. For the selectors, this includes Locus,* Romantic Times, Publisher’s Weekly, etc.
The time limit for keeping each issue is supposed to be three days, but librarians don’t actually get to sit around and read all day—another cherished myth shot, and no one’s sorrier than we are, believe me—so there’s always a bit of a delay.
So I didn’t get to read the June 21 PW until yesterday. I’m not complaining—it was this year’s June.
I read PW backwards because I like to start out with the viewpoint essays before I hit the reviews—dessert first and all that. This issue’s essay was by Kathryn Schultz, whose book, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error was released June 8.
Called “On Being Wrong: From an expert in making mistakes,” this article is wry and completely quotable:
. . . I now believe that wrongness might be the world’s most appropriate subject for a first book, because writing your first book is, at least in my experience, one long lesson in being constantly, stupendously wrong.
I find that comforting, somehow. This next one, not so much:
The first error is practical: you think you have the tools you need, but you don’t . . . writing your first book isn’t hard because you have to build the house. It is hard because you have to build the hammer.
But this one is exactly what I need right now:
When I realized my mistake—that I didn’t know what I was doing, that it wasn’t going to be dreamy—I nearly panicked: I wasn’t up to this, I would never be able to write the book I had envisioned. In the end, though, and to my enduring surprise, I was wrong about that, too.
The rest of it is worth more than a look. And so, I’m assuming, is Ms. Schultz’s book—I haven’t read it yet (caveat, disclaimer, ymmv), but judging from this essay, I’m pretty sure I’m not wrong.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s my day off from librarianship and I have to go
invent a left-handed spanner mop up that fight scene.
* I really only read Locus for the paranormal romance reviews. It’s tough hunting for those among the author interviews, industry news, and conference write-ups—but I’m dedicated.