Black Bear Lake author Leslie Liautaud writes a guest post for Drunk On Pop!
Put on Your Pajama Pants and Dress For Success!
Success has been on my mind a bit lately. Namely, the definition of success. My husband is founder and owner of a large restaurant chain. I don’t think anyone would disagree that he is successful. He works like a cra
zed lunatic, has grown the company from operating out of a garage into a billion dollar franchise and he loves every minute of it. LOVES IT. So what is his true success? The money? The satisfaction of growing a business, of creating it from scratch? Or from doing something he truly loves?
As a writer, I feel extremely blessed that I don’t have to be the one responsible for putting the food on my family’s table. Because with what I make as a writer, we would be eating ramen noodles every meal, 24/7. Here is how I compare to my hubby: I make very little money. I create people and settings and plots and stories out of thin air. I truly love what I do.
So who is more successful? I can honestly say we both are because of what we have in common. We both work incredibly hard and we love of what we do.
So often I hear writers (or musicians or artists) answer, when asked what they do, shrug their shoulders and mumble, “I kind of write…I mean, it’s not really…it’s nothing.” And why do writers (and musicians and artists) do this? Is it because of our own insecurities with our talents? Do we feel like anyone who wanted to write could do it? Anyone who picked up a guitar could suddenly play “Free Bird”? That any dummy who had a brush stuck into their hand could whip up something similar to Monet’s Water Lilies? That what we do isn’t really “work”?
Or is it because it’s so darn hard to make a living, let alone make a LOT of money being a writer (or musician or artist)? We live in a world that is hyper focused on what we have materially and how much money we make measures our worth and our work’s worth. So, if we aren’t making money, we’re not worth very much. And our art is worth even less.
Plainly put, this sucks. Because it simply isn’t true.
I, for one, believe that artists, writers, musicians…anyone who works in the creative arts…are bringing something VITAL to our world. We are bringing beauty, we are bringing thought, we are bringing escape, joy, pleasure. We are creating ways for the audience to release pain, to feel anger, to experience euphoria. We touch the senses. And frankly, I’m not sure you CAN put a price tag on that.
This idea that I have is not knocking becoming a monetary success, either. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m against awesome pay for awesome work. I do believe in working hard. I believe in trying to grow and create and prosper. If that means you are able to make a great living, then I say, “Well done and super congratulations!” There is nothing wrong with creating your own empire.
Whether the world, in general, believes art is valuable in a monetary sense or not will probably always be debatable, but I will tell you one thing…every artist I know that gets up in the morning and pulls on her or his pair of pajama pants and works hard creating with joy and love, a new piece of music, writing, choreography or painting is wildly successful. And that kind of success is worth its weight in gold.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Adam Craig, a forty year-old stock trader in Chicago, finds his marriage teetering on the rocks and his life at a standstill. Desperate and on the edge of personal collapse, Adam takes the advice of a therapist and travels to his childhood family compound on Black Bear Lake with hopes of making peace with his past. Stepping onto the northern Wisconsin property, he relives the painful memories of the summer of 1983, his last summer at the lake.
In August 1983, a self-conscious fifteen year-old Adam carries a world of worry on his shoulders as he arrives at Black Bear Lake for a month long family reunion. Between anger and fear of mother’s declining health as she quietly battles a quickly spreading cancer and his cherished cousin’s depression over her parents’ bitter divorce, Adam is swept up in smothering familial love among the multiple generations and heartbreaking misunderstanding and betrayal. The arrival of a sensual but troublesome babysitter throws the delicate balance of his family into a tailspin. Blinded by his attraction to the newcomer, Adam fails to see his cousin’s desperate cries for help and the charged electrical current running through his family’s hierarchy. Crushed in the middle of it all, Adam is forced to learn that there’s a fine line between self-preservation and the strength of family blood, all the while unaware of the impending tragedy that will ultimately change his life forever.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leslie Liautaud is the author of Midnight Waltzes (2006), He Is Us (2008), The Wreck (2009), SALIGIA (2011), The Mansion (2012) and Summer Nights and Dreams (2012). She is also the author of the coming-of-age novel, Black Bear Lake (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2014).
Leslie is originally from Kansas City, MO where she worked in the performing arts. Currently, she divides her time between between Key Largo, FL and Champaign, IL with her husband, three teenage children and three rambunctious dogs.