“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ― Toni Morrison
If so, I should never stop writing or eat again. For the writer, the whole world is to be written about. But how do you pay for your passion? A book, like an invention, must have a market. There must be others who want to read what you write. Some say writing should be your lifeblood, not necessarily your livelihood. Which is true. But only to a point. Unlike Van Gogh, not all of us have a brother to subsidize us. Or a grant.
Here’s a short list of books, essays, and articles I would like to write but which are stillborn, doomed to financial failure. I can’t write about them in my spare time; they must be given less priority than my paid work, that, while perhaps less interesting, pays the bills.
1- How city layout is dictated by codes, regulations, and restrictions. You can’t build a European village in America unless it’s in Disneyland. Today, there must be a certain amount of space for emergency services to operate, particularly for the fire brigades. Streets must be navigable to huge trucks, with certain turning radius required, and they must have sidewalks of a specified width. Gutter heights are dictated as well as requirements for storm drains. In most large California cities a certain amount of trees are required for parking lots, and even their varieties are spelled out, picked for their shade and health characteristics. A book would look at the how the law designs layout.
2- In a similar vein, a book on car design restrictions might be interesting. You can’t have a sleek and stylish steering wheel anymore. An airbag is almost always present, required by law. Instead of something svelte, your wheel has to be fat and chunky. Do you know what an “A” pillar is? They’re on either side of the windshield. They used to be unobtrusive but today’s requirements demand these structural elements greatly strengthen the car frame. More fat and chunky. A book would look at how Federal requirements have altered present automobile design.
3- I’ve written how I’d like to write an anthology of Stanton Delaplane’s work. (internal link). My proposals have been rejected but I’ve only sent out queries to three publishers. I should probably put more effort into my search for a press.
4- I’ve also written quite a lot about writing a book on Nevada agriculture, past and present. I’ve even devoted an entire website to a book proposal on it. (external link) Unfortunately, Nevada doesn’t have the population to sustain a profit making book. Failing that opportunity, I’d like to write on Nevada’s mining industry. I could do a good job on both.
5- An article on prospecting for rare earth minerals. I’m fascinated by the search for these minerals, now in demand by high-tech, but I’d have to do a tremendous amount of research before I started writing. All of which would work against performing my paid work.
I never want to wallow in what might be, instead, I’ll add to this list at another time. Right now, I should prepare for tomorrow’s online course that will never earn me a dime: a poetry and fiction workshop. But it’s tradecraft. I always want to be a better writer. As Candide would say, after listening to today’s lament, “All that is very well, but let us cultivate our garden.”
I’d be very interested in what your dream writing would be. E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org or post a reply to this blog post.