Thursday, February 10, 2011

Paperback Writer

I am listening to The Beatles LOVE CD and I do love it! When I was a pre-teen the Beatles were the boy band that stole my heart and I have a special place in my heart for all of their wonderful music. There are so many of their songs that are associated with some memorable time in my life, but the one song I’d like to talk about is “Paperback Writer” (which is actually not found on the LOVE CD). The pure longing and desire to become a novelist comes across loud and clear in that song. It just amazes me that those twenty-something year old musicians were able to capture what so many of us are now experiencing in our quest to become published or republished.

The lyrics say it all…

“Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It's based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.”

Then the lyrics turn to something akin to desperation. Who among us hasn’t felt this at one time or another? Like we would do anything they want to our manuscript, if they would just accept our work?

“It's a thousand pages, give or take a few,
I'll be writing more in a week or two.
I can make it longer if you like the style,
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

If you really like it you can have the rights,
It could make a million for you overnight.
If you must return it, you can send it here
But I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.”

So, was I influenced by the song at the tender age of 12? At the time I liked the song, but didn’t think much about it. But now it pops into my head with frequency…particularly when I’m drafting a query letter to an agent or editor. The yearning expressed in the song to become a Paperback Writer is not just a bunch of empty words, it is a true heartfelt wish that we authors put in the hands of others with a wing and a prayer. We hope with all our hearts they don’t stomp on our heart’s desire.

~Diane Wylie


Catriana S. said...

Although I wasn't born when the Beatles were the in thing (I'm an 80's baby), I absolutely love their music. Unfortunately, that is one song I haven't heard, as I don't buy CD's often (I have one Beatles CD and honestly, considering my collection that's saying a lot). I think I shall go find it now.

Random Tidbit: My favorite song by them is Strawberry Fields.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I was a bit older than you when I fell in love with the "Fab Four" and Paperback Writer spoke to be loud and clear back then because I already had the burning desire to become a writer. I was in high school at the time.
I have every album they ever made both in the original album, CD and now my MP3 player. Their music means as much to me today as it did back then. My favorite was George Harrison--the quiet Beatle. My favorite song is Hey Jude because it's so full of hope. I need to shut up or my comment will be longer than your blog. Beautiful blog, Diane. You are an amazing and talented author and I am so happy you are one of our regular blog authors.

Tina Donahue said...

I'm more of an Eagles fan than the Beatles -sorry- but I do like their songs from the Sgt. Pepper's Band album. :)

Delaney Diamond said...

I'm not familiar with the song, but I am with the sentiment expressed in it.

I had a blog post once where I said all authors must be a little masochistic. We work hard on our craft, only to have it torn apart by critique partners and editors. And after all that, we start again on the next project.

Doesn't that prove we love abuse? Lol.

Redameter said...

Not a Beatles fan. They came out and Elvis was big and to me it was being a traitor to Elvis, besides, I wasn't in to the long hair thing, even though Elvis grew his side burns and later had longer hair.

I probably appreciate them more now, but never was one of the die hard fans. But music is music and is to be appreciated. So I'm sure they can do without my adoration. They had millions of fans. And millions will always remember them. They seemed to bring the long hair to America. They will always be remembered and revered by millions though.

Never heard this song, but nice that they called attention to the lowly writer. Back then there were some really good writers.

Carol L. said...

I actually grew to love their songs later on. Elvis was the man for me then. :) My favorite was Hey Jude. :)
Carol L

Rawiya said...

I have never heard it but I will take a listen. I like a lot of the Beatles songs but I'm not a diehard, plus I am also an eighties child.

I do appreciate what they contributed to music though...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Even being a child born in the 60's, I've never been much of a Beatles fan. However, I do know that song and, until now, never gave it a bit of thought. Thanks for opening my eyes.

Kathy Otten said...

As soon as you mentioned the song in your article, the song started playing in my head. Don't know if it had any influence over my own dream to become a writer, but I do love Peanuts, and Snoopy's struggle to become published used to resonate with me.

Anonymous said...

Ive always loved that song, too! Now that its in my head ---it wont go away. This is all your fault! LOL!

Hugs, Kari Thomas, www.authorkari.com

Paris said...

I started hearing the melody when I read the lyrics. I loved the Beatles and I think my husband has all their records, yup, we're talking vinyl. That song was always one of my favorites:)

Fiona McGier said...

Loved the Beatles in their time...saw Hard Day's Night at a drive-in with my parents because I was a kid. Was always amused their rep was so "clean" when they weren't! Such is fame. The sentiment in the song is universal for writers: we all want to be read!

Diane M. Wylie said...

Thanks for all of the wonderful comments, ladies. I am so glad you came out today.

In the words of the Beatles, "Shine on until tomorrow." (From "Let it Be."

Willa Edwards said...

I love this song and I agree, everytime I heard it I can completely relate to what their talking about. I've felt that desperation and need as well. Great post Diane.