A few years ago my editor at Candlewick called me up and chided me about not writing the break-through novel. Mild interrogation didn't reveal exactly what that was, but she would know it when I submitted it. Somehow I needed to be elevated from the mid-list. I needed to break through; I'd gotten about as far as I could go with the novels I'd been writing. She didn't use the word "art" but I could feel it hovering there like an alien spacecraft, its probes greased and at the ready.
After the conversation I thought, "Oh, dear." Or some other word with four letters.
I could just feel the doggedness closing in. Many doggednesses. A pack of them. My editor was being so serious, and I am not a serious person. And art has always sounded serious to me even though I know better and even said in a lecture that the membrane between craft and art is very permeable, and God knows I'm a craftsman.
Basically I couldn't think much about the so called break-through novel. It was the famous wet blanket. Or wet diaper. I'd rather just bumble along and write what I wanted. I'd rather, in a word, be entertaining. Screw art and the unicorn it rode in on.
Advice nobody really asked for: take it easy on yourselves. Be light of heart. Good things often happen effortlessly.