|Sylvia Beach Hotel|
I'm sitting now, at the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Oregon. I came here 23 years ago with my then boyfriend who proposed to me in the library of this "writers" bed and breakfast. Each room is themed - the Hemingway room, the Agatha Christie, the Amy Tan, and so on. I was so enchanted with the hotel back then - I wasn't yet a published author, I was barely a writer. Now, here I am again, with my husband (yes, the guy that proposed to me in the library) celebrating our 22nd anniversary and my MFA, and I'm wondering what does it take to be a great writer.
It doesn't take an MFA - though it gives writers opportunities to experiment and learn what to do and not do. It doesn't take vacations to writer's hotels, though it's definitely inspiring and relaxing and provides lots of time to think. I sometimes wonder if being dead is the magic that transform an okay writer to a great writer. Or just stupid luck. Really, I don't know.
The university world doesn't believe any commercial writer is great or even good. All the authors on the best seller lists are lousy and their millions of readers are a bunch of people with poor taste according to them. And all those lovers of commercial fiction and their editors and publishing houses don't seem to think much of the great literary writers coming from the university MFA programs, because those books are rarely published and when they are, they barely sell.