There's No Shangri-La
Those were the last words my father spoke to my son Daniel before Dan ventured off to a raw foodie commune on the big island of Hawaii this summer. At the time I sort of rolled my eyes, "Please Dad, give the kid a break," but it turned out my father was right. For a while Dan had a good time working the farm - milking goats, harvesting coconuts, hacking his way through the jungle - but even paradise has its price. Like disease. Poor Dan got really sick and wound up in the hospital. And since worrying seems to be what I'm good at, that's what I did. But he's home now and doing much better. Now my job is to fatten him up.
Anyway, I was thinking that the writing world is no Shangri-La either. Believe me. Oh sure, I love what I do and wouldn't choose anything else, but you do pay a price. Like I recently got a nasty review on Dylan Fontaine from PW (why are these people so mean? all I did was write a book); a not-so-nice blog comment - one I didn't post - accusing me of plagiarizing two books that I have not read; and a scolding from my mom because there are some "inappropriate" parts in Dylan. Like I said, no Shangri-La.
But on the flip side, Dylan got a really nice review from The Bulletin. Here's a quote:
"Calling to mind Hinton's classic That was Then, This is Now, this story of a guy in danger of losing his hero brother to drugs is updated in just about every way: Dylan is a well-off, hip guy from Brooklyn who knows his way around Greenwich Village, has a thing for vintage LPs, and plays a mean classical guitar ... Readers may well be inspired by Dylan to take some risks and discover their own latent powers."