This is my essay on the pros and cons of being a pubished writer (prose and cons?). It ran in the Sunday Oregonian with a picture of me peering mysteriously from over the top of Shock Point, as well as a huge illustration of a woman writing (clip art, and, as my mom observed, "so you're a lefty now?"). I felt kind of guilty because they ran it in the book review section. I thought it was going to run in the general living section. I looked at all the space it took up and thought, "They could have used that space for four reviews." But then I'm good at feeling guilty.
I used to imagine what my life would be like when I was finally a published writer. I envisioned fancy book parties. Standing-room-only crowds at my signings. Seeing piles of my books at Costco. But I didn't really understand the true pros and cons.
Pro: Everything is material
Writing a book opens you up to the world. In search of information about characters and plot possibilities, you'll read books you wouldn't have read in a million years (like the diary of a World War II Wac). Talk to people who might normally frighten you (like the Hells Angel with an inch-long silver stud speared through the bridge of his nose). Find yourself taking mental notes when something bad happens to you (so this is what your house looks like after it's been burglarized).