Friday, August 25, 2017

The Good Life, The Bad Life and the Writing Life

(Besides getting rich) how has the writing life changed you as a person?

by Paul D. Marks

Rich is the only way I’ve changed from the writing life. The Porsche. The yacht. The jet. The castle next to George Clooney’s on Lake Como. Am I leaving anything out? Oh wait, I jest.

My castle is right next door to George Clooney's house 😉

For me the question is more like what I would have been like if I hadn’t embarked on the writing life. In a word, Crazy! Though some may think that’s the case anyway. What I do know is that when I’ve had to have a “day job” of the 9-5 variety I’ve hated it. So luckily I’ve had to do that very little and not in a long time. Got into arguments with the boss. And once, when I had a day job I got proposed to – or should I say someone laid a proposal on me. To marry a friend of theirs from Lebanon so she could become a citizen. They offered money and no strings attached. I turned them down but maybe that would have made me rich. Nah. In fact, it probably would have landed me in jail and then I could have written a best-selling memoir about my life of crime.

One of my many Porsches 😉
And luckily most of my “day jobs” have been at writing/script doctoring. Though even there I got into arguments with the boss, producers, directors, whoever. One even threatened to send his friends in the Mossad after me, as I may have mentioned previously. But I guess it was a better day job than some.

If I hadn’t been a writer I’m not sure what I would have done. Lawyer maybe. A different gig in the film biz. Go to work in the family biz. And maybe it all would have given me stuff to write about but I’ve had plenty of adventures to write about anyway.

I’m really not sure how much I’ve changed as a person since becoming a writer since I’ve always been a writer to one degree or another. Amy, the wife, says maybe I’ve become more empathetic, but I think I’ve always been that way and she never knew me as not a writer. She also says, if I’d become incredibly wealthy by going into the lucrative sticky note business like I’d planned, I’d be a spoiled, out of touch asshole. Having to sacrifice for art builds character. And maybe when I was young/younger I was somewhat of an asshole, but an empathetic one. I’ve mellowed, but that could be age as much as being a writer. And I’m still not all that mellow, ask said wife.

The Egg and I, where Bouchercon was held in Albany, NY

One thing the writing life has changed is that I travel to places I might not have gone to. When there’s a convention, like Bouchercon, in a city we wouldn’t necessarily have gone to, like Albany or Raleigh, it gives us a chance to see those places. And what we generally do is book 2-3 extra days after the convention so we can see the city. When I was nominated for the Shamus and found out the awards ceremony, which is usually held in conjunction with Bouchercon, was in Albany I turned to said wife and said, “Albany!?” Because it’s not a place I ever thought I would go…or want to go. But go we did, attending Bouchercon and the Shamus ceremony. And then taking a little time to explore the area, which we ended up liking. It’s sort of like a quaint New England town, even though it’s the capital of the state with the busiest city in the world – or one of them.

Quaint neighborhood in Albany, NY
And, as Cathy mentioned, there’s less time for pleasure reading. In fact, I get asked to blurb so much that I have next to no time to read for pleasure. And to that end, I’ve put up on Café Noir, my personal blog page (http://pauldmarks.blogspot.com/), and have been telling people that I’m instituting a (long) moratorium on blurbing. I’m also putting a moratorium on judging awards. I enjoy it, but it’s really time consuming, especially because I try to read every word of every story.

So, as they say, the more things (me) change, the more they stay the same. And the bottom line is it hasn’t helped my hair grow back. What about you – how has the writing life changed you as a person?

***

And now for the usual BSP.

I’m happy to say that my short story “Bunker Hill Blues” is in the current Sept./Oct. issue of Ellery Queen that hit newsstands Tuesday of this week. It’s the sequel to the 2016 Ellery Queen Readers Poll winner and current Macavity Award nominee “Ghosts of Bunker Hill”. And I’m surprised and thrilled to say that I made the cover of the issue – my first time as a 'cover boy'! Hope you’ll want to check it out. Available at all the usual places.




My story “Blood Moon” appears in “Day of the Dark, Stories of the Eclipse” from Wildside Press, edited by Kaye George. Stories about the eclipse – just in time for the real eclipse on August 21st. Twenty-four stories in all. Available on Amazon.



15 comments:

RM Greenaway said...

Castles, sports cars, Albany, and empathy are all good changes, even if some are imaginary! I knew you'd struggle with this question as you've been a writer forever. Congratulations on the Ellery Queen publication!

JP Bloch said...

Pretty much sums it all up.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Congratulations on the Ellery Queen story – and can I borrow the Porsche this weekend?

GBPool said...

Man, I would kill for that car. I nearly swooned off my chair when I saw it. And the castle. But then I live in Beverly Hills. I have to, because my former neighbor, a Hollywood starlet wanna-be, stated in her bio back when she lived next door that she lived in Beverly Hills, so I guess I do, too. Now they rent the place and still say it's a stone's throw to Beverly Hills. Yeah, right. But your background, Paul, as well as your imagination, have you living that dream because it shows up in your work. I'm waiting for a story from you set in Albany or at least about somebody who escapes from the Albany County Correctional facility...

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Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, RM. And we’re writers, we’re allowed imaginary Porsches, aren’t we? And the empathy I buy by the case at Costco, it’s cheaper that way. :-)

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, JP.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Dieter. And you can borrow the Porsche, just make sure to fill the tank before you return it.

Paul D. Marks said...

Thanks, Gayle. That’s hilarious about her saying she lived in Beverly Hills. I guess you can now say you’re Beverly Hills adjacent. And one of these days I might set something in Albany. I really did like it there. And then I’ll say that story is Beverly Hills adjacent too.

RJ Harlick said...

I agree with you, Paul, about the opportunities conferences give you to travel to places you normally wouldn't go to. I often chose a conference because of its locale and will, like you, tack additional days on to make it into a holiday. And the best part is you get to write off part of it. By the way can I borrow the Porsche next weekend?

Paul D. Marks said...

You can certainly borrow the Porsche, Robin, but Dieter has it next weekend. So maybe the weekend after ;-) . As for the locales of conferences, I don't choose to go them because of the locales, but usually for other reasons. Then, once we know we're going we do like to stay some extra days. And we've always enjoyed the locales, even when we thought we wouldn't.

Kaye George said...

I would be crazy too, if I'm not right now, without writing. I just missed Power Ball last time, but when it hits, I'll get me a Porsche or two, I think. And a coupla castles. Maybe you can help me with staff since you have experience.

Paul D. Marks said...

I'd be happy to dish out some advice on staff for the castles, Kaye. You really have to be careful these days :-)

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

When hubby and I were still flying (too old and decrepit now, can't run when they decide to change where the plane is and you have 5 minutes to get there), but like you, we loved visiting new places where Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime were being held--also smaller conferences in some great places. Went to Alaska twice and made friends there. Was asked to be a leader at the Maui Writers Workshop and that was great! Now I still speak at libraries and for writers groups, but those that we can drive to. Have loved every minute of being a writer, even though I'm not famous or rich. (I love the writing process too.)

Paul D. Marks said...

Sounds like a great writing life, Marilyn, even if it didn't get you famous or rich :-)