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Learn more about my first book, Six Pack: Emergence.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Spare Us The Cutter

When I was in my 30s, I rediscovered new wave music from the 1980s and ran across multiple songs that I had heard many times before and found held up well, and other songs that I had never heard before but was glad I discovered.

Among the groups I discovered was Echo and the Bunnymen. One of their songs I enjoy is "The Cutter." I didn't think much about the meaning of the words, though, until I did one of those searches for the lyrics and ran across discussions about what the lyrics meant.

One of the best interpretations I saw is in the comments here. Scroll down and you'll see the comment that, to sum up, says the song is about how the band is trying to make an impresion in the music industry, but that all depends on those who decide to give big breaks, when those in charge may have little patience for the band's ideas.

Sounds a lot like a writer trying to break into the publishing industry, doesn't it?

First you write something, but you need others to read it and those people might not agree with your ideas and concepts. After you spend time editing, you have to find either an agent or a small publisher willing to take a chance on you, and both types can be tough to please. If you do get an agent, the agent has to find a publisher for your work and the large publishers might have their own ideas about what does and doesn't work. Even if you go the self-publishing route, you might not find enough readers who are willing to take a chance on your imagination.

Of course, had Echo and the Bunnymen not taken their chances and pushed forward, they never would have landed a recording contract. And even if Echo and the Bunnymen didn't reach the heights of, say, The Beatles or Led Zeppelin, the fact they did break through and found an audience when they did made them a success. That they stuck it out with their goals to make it in music is a testament to them, and when they were "spared the cutter," they got their chance and it paid off.

It can be frustrating for us writers to roll out material and not find anyone willing to take a chance, but we must remember to stick to our goals in writing and, when we are "spared the cutter," we get a chance to find that audience, wherever it may be. And when we do find that audience, we are a success, even if we don't reach the heights of the most popular books written.

I'll leave you with The Cutter. Maybe it will rekindle your interest in new wave music.

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