In Which I Now Reveal a Secret
In e-mail, a request:
Share something with us that you’ve never shared here before.
Well, see. Typically if I’m not sharing something, it’s because I have a reason for not sharing it, like: I signed an NDA. Or: It’s none of your business. Or: I’m not ready to tell you yet. Or: It’s something so boring that you would fall asleep as I told you. And in all those cases I’m perfectly fine not telling you those things. I think you’d appreciate my restraint.
But, fine. I racked my brain for something I haven’t talked about here before, and I think I’ve come up with it. Here’s today’s secret:
I am a secret best-selling poet.
Shut up, I totally am. The secret best-selling work of poetry in question? This:
True fact: The Sagan Diary was composed entirely in free verse. Then, when I was done writing the whole thing, I went back and formatted it into traditionally formed sentences and paragraphs, so as not to scare away the sort of reader who freaks out when presented with poetry not in the form of song lyrics. Be that as it may, The Sagan Diary is a poem, and when you read it knowing that, this fact becomes fairly obvious.
Since TSD came out, about four years ago now, it’s sold about 8,000 copies. This a very healthy amount for a 12,000-word novelette in hardcover format, but it’s also a fairly impressive amount for a modern book of original poetry aimed at adults. Or would be, had I claimed it as poetry before this moment, which I have not (well, I’ve mentioned it to people before, but haven’t written about it). So, big “secret” reveal aside, I don’t make any real claim to being a best-selling poet.
And to be clear, even if I had claimed it as poetry, this would not be dispositive regarding the quality of TSD as poetry. When one remembers that one of the most successful modern books of poetry, sales-wise, erupted forth from Jewel, one remembers that sales do not directly equate with quality. I think TSD works perfectly well as a piece of writing, myself, and writing it in that format got me into an “internal monologue” mindset, which is what the story needed to have. Does it work as poetry? It’s an interesting question and I’ll let other people answer it.
So that’s today’s big secret.