Sunday, June 25, 2006

Man Without a Country

I visited a bookstore yesterday and found it simultaneously inspiring and depressing.

There were so many books; people everywhere, it seems, are publishing books, so it must be possible, there must be a way to achieve this seemingly impossible dream as people do it every day.

There are so many books; many of them good books that I want to read, but they keep coming out faster than I can buy them let along read them. Will you people stop it for crying out loud, and let me catch up?

I suffer from the additional burden of being an American living in England. Many of the great books I want to read are by American authors and I have to buy them on-line. But then there are dozens of books by British authors that I want to read as well. If I was anchored in just one country, I wouldn't have that problem.

And my writing has the same difficulties; is it for an American audience, or a British audience? Where should I try to market it? My Postcards.. book I'm sending to American agents, but the novel, I think, might have a better chance in England. And my articles don't seem to have a market at all. Who wants to read about an American talking about what it's like to live in Britain? The Americans don't care, and the British already know. Even the Bill Bryson-type slant and humor I inject into the pieces doesn't seem to help: he was a long-time resident and had worked on many British newspapers; I'm simply an interloper without the credentials for commenting on the British way of life.

I've tried to overcome the national ambiguity problem in my novel by having it set in Britain with an American heroine. Maybe it wall work, or maybe I'll be trying again with another novel set totally in one country or another.

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