Monday, November 4, 2013

Author Guest Post: Mike DiCerto

Please welcome author, Mike DiCerto to the blog!
Smile When You Write That
By Mike DiCerto
There is an old writers cliché that has always annoyed me. It goes something like this. “I hate to write but I am glad to have written.” This was apparently a quote of Dorothy Parker­–bright and witty woman (and founding member of the famed Algonquin Round Table) but not exactly the poster child for giddy backflips across fields of daisies. She had serious alcohol issues and attempted suicide a couple of times. So whether it was her wise-cracking, cynical self or this was truly how she felt about putting pen to paper we can give her a pass at not enjoying one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Another cliché is “I do not write because I want to. I write because I have to.” Once again, whoever is the originator of this quote is employing the great passive aggressive martyred artist tact.
Here is my theory: writers write because we are egomaniacs who truly feel our every clever turn of phrase is destined for the permanency of a stone tablet. Every thought we have, every character we develop and every plot twisted has been beamed into our souls directly from the great cosmic linguistic candy factory. We know that we have been chosen by the spirits of our ancient elders who sat around campfires, their fading memories victims of stone age senility, hoping and praying that a writing implement would soon be invented.
Ok. Now that is more like it. Honesty at last! I can live with that as long as we all admit one thing: writing is fun. I love to write. I am glad I have written, am writing and will write. I both want to and need to do it. And yes, I think my words should be quoted by presidents, future philosophers of in the very least fortune cookies. It’s not a crime to suffer delusions of grandeur if it keeps the pencil stroking or the keyboard clicking. Why else would I get up early and write for a couple of hours before heading off to my full time day job? Because it is such a miserable experience? Because I am some sick and twisted masochistic wordsmith who secretly desires to be whipped by torn and braided pages of a Webster? No. I love it. I revel in it and I get a sort of high doing it. It is ok to smile when you re-read your own words. It is ok to drop the cynical artist mask and take utter joy from the practice. Joseph Campbell said to “follow your bliss”. When I follow my bliss I often find my self on paths winding through forests of prose. If I wanted to be miserable and bored I would have taken up accounting or producing reality TV.
There were times in grade school that I was bored with the subject at hand. I wrote tons of stories in grammar school, my notebook hidden under my math or history book. Why? Because if was fun. (Come on fellow writers say it with me! “WRITING IS FUN!”) My mind would drift from the notes scribbled on the blackboard–the teacher's voice morphing into nonsensical dribble like an adult in a Charlie Brown cartoon. On one mid-winter day, as I sat hunched over my notebook deep in whatever pre-teen fantasy I was creating I looked up to find dozens of eyes on me–two of them my teachers. He lifted the history book I was using to cover my stealthy, literary attempts. What unfolded was right out of a Pink Floyd song.
"So, Michael is writing the Great American novel!"
The class erupted in laughter. Red faced I glanced around the room. The jerks of the class were laughing. I tried to babble an excuse but really had nothing to say. The genius went on: So Michael will be the next great American novelist! Hey everybody! We have a future celebrity in our class!
I could only sit there and take it. For a couple of days I was called "The Great American author" by some of the future brain surgeons of the class. I began to wear it like a badge of honor. Hey–I was having fun while everyone else was battling heavy eyelids from this twit’s dull dissertation on fractions or whatever he was going on about.
That incident empowered me. I realized then and there I would always write and one day, perhaps, I would write the great American novel. My first published novel was Milky Way Marmalade (Zumaya Publications). A hilarious space romp where rock & roll saves the Universe. It was an utter joy to write and, people tell me, to read. The folks who reviewed it loved it and it won the Dream Realm Award for Best Science Fiction. (Not the Hugo but hey, it was my first win!)
I then decided my next book would be for a younger audience. It had to be fun. It had to be heartfelt and it had to say something non-cynical about existence. I wrote THE DOOR TO FAR-MYST (Zumaya Thresholds) the first of my new series: The Adventures of Rupert Starbright. As I look at its gorgeous cover done by eight-time Hugo winner Brad Foster I am reminded how much fun it was to write. And when flip through it or read excerpts on my Kindle I smile. I am now excited that the third book of the Rupert Starbright series is coming out! It is called THE GHOST OF WINTER JOY and yes, it makes me smile.
Why do I smile?
Because it is fun reading and I had fun writing it. I enjoyed every moment I sat staring at the screen struggling for the next word. Fun. Writing. Imagine that!
So my fellow writers I implore you- do not get caught up in some cynical need to be cool by downplaying joy. Joy is what makes life worth living. And it is contagious. We, as novelists, hold the power to spread joy. If there is one thing the world needs it is a giant, humongous epidemic of happiness.
Thanks for stopping by, Mike!
Visit Mike's website to learn more about him and his books!


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