Stuff

That's right, stuff. TVs and stereos and new cars and condos in the country. Stuff. The stuff you see advertised on TV. Toyotas and BMWs, stuff like that.

So when I sit in the library surrounded by books and look out on the hubbub I think, What is it that I'm in pursuit of? Art. I'm trying to write a damn good novel. One that is moving, dramatic, and says something important about the human condition. If in the pursuit of this I make a little money, so much the better. But if I don't? Well, I can do without the stuff. And I feel a little sorry for all those poor slobs down there pursuing stuff that just wears out and rusts and needs repainting.

Writing a damn good novel and getting it published gives me far more lasting pleasure than owning a Porsche turbo Carrera. A few good reviews, a few people saying, "I read your novel and was gripped beginning to end." That is more rewarding to me than a fistful of stock options.

Writing about writing has its rewards as well. Strangers come up to me and say they read How to Write a Damn Good Novel and they found it extremely helpful. Think of it, maybe long after I'm dead some kid in Nebraska will find a dusty copy of this book and it will help him, perhaps, to see that it is possible for him or her to become another Peter Benchley or Stephen King; a Jane Austen or Margaret Mitchell; a Stephen Crane or Fyodor Dostoevksy. Maybe even a Franz Kafka.

If I do become wildly successful down the line somewhere, you'll still be able to find me in the same college library surrounded by a stack of books, occasionally gazing out the window at the hubbub below, feeling sorry for those poor slobs pursuing their stuff.

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