Monday, January 4, 2010

The Little Pond For me

A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked if I was ready to start the next chapter in my writing career. My response to that question surprised me. It wasn’t the same one I would have given a year ago. Then I was constantly pondering what I was going to do next and how. But now, in the present, I don’t know if I need or even want that next step. I am pretty happy with where I am.

When I wrote my first book and got it published by Abique Books, a small publishing company out of Texas, I thought I was going to die from all the excitement. As soon as I absorbed the fact I had had a book published I was already thinking about the next one. That “next one” mentality has stayed with me through books two, three, four and five. Each time I finished one I panicked as to whether there would be a next one.

With book number six I have had a contract for over a year now. The manuscript is due to Mercer University Press in June and the book will be published in 2011. After that, I honestly don’t know. I don’t know if I have another book in me and I don’t know if I want to commit to the writing of it if it is there.

I will always write. I know that. I will probably still be doing movie and book reviews until they carry me out. I enjoy them immensely. It isn’t that I think my opinion is so weighty; it is just that I enjoy the sharing of my thoughts. I was amazed to get an e-mail from a reader of one of my movie reviews the other day in which he said I should be careful with my opinions as they carry so much weight. I don’t think so.

If my opinions carried that much weight then George Clooney’s career would be over, “Nine” would be a major success, and 3-D movies would cease production. Also Patti Callahan Henry would be at the top of the best seller lists along with Dale Cramer, Steve Berry and numerous other favorite writers.

What I enjoy more than the writing of my books is the chance to socialize with people whose writing talent leaves me in awe. Dorothea Benton Frank knows my name as do Jeffery Deaver and Nicholas Sparks. That amazes me. Pat Conroy doesn’t know me from Adam but I got a chance to review SOUTH OF BROAD as one of the first pieces I wrote for The Huffington Post and I heard he read it. That kind of thing brings me great satisfaction.

During the past year I have had some “feelers” from a big book company, but I honestly think that if I was ever signed by a major publisher like Simon and Schuster or Random House it would scare me to death. I am more of a big fish, little pond person than a little fish, big pond one. I am comfortable here swimming in the South and knowing who I am and where I belong.

There is nothing wrong with ambition but not all of us have to aspire to the highest levels of recognition. Setting your limited goals and achieving them is okay too. I always thought the spotlight made Bailey White uncomfortable and that she would probably just rather keep a low profile. Maybe that’s not the case at all but it is what I surmise.

The great thing about life is you can always change your mind. Next year, after this new book comes out, I might start itching for another one and at a higher level of exposure. Life is funny that way. What you are feeling one day could change one hundred and eighty degrees tomorrow. But for now it’s the little pond for me.


Jackie K Cooper is the author of five books. He also writes conservative reviews for the liberal leaning Huffington Post. He has been told they like the balance.


Nicole Seitz said...

I love this post. It's so honest, one of your great qualities!
We never arrive, we just enjoy getting there.

God bless,

Jackie K Cooper said...

I have always thought the anticipation of success is sometimes much better than the success.

Susan Cushman said...

Great post, BUT... Mississippi is anything BUT a "little pond" when it comes to literature!