One aspect of the writing life that I haven’t seen mentioned before is what I call the Silent Telegraph. It may be odd to think of silence as a method of communication, but where writers are concerned, it is one of the basic facts of life.
By the Silent Telegraph I mean a disruption in the usual cadence, if that’s the right word, that a writer has with an editor, an agent, a publisher, someone in the movie business, or anyone else that a writer deals with on a more or less constant basis. The Telegraph comes on slowly, and for awhile you aren’t even aware that it is running, or sending its message. A first, when the phone stops ringing, or more recently, when the in box of your email program becomes conspicuous by what is not there, you begin to feel the first sensation: it isn’t that you are worried, not yet, just mildly aware that for some reason or other you aren’t hearing anything.
And, of course, this is more prominent when some particular negotiation is in progress, a new book deal, for instance, or maybe a movie option, or an assignment for a magazine. Still, as time goes by, and the silence grows, you begin to break the lack of noise into the varieties of silence. Or, maybe it is better to say that you begin to wonder just how serious the silence is, or what it means.