Sunday, July 05, 2009

Naivety ain’t such a bad thing.

Today's guest blogger is Sang Pak whose first novel, Wait until Twilight, will be released by Harper Collins next month. It's pretty exciting to see that first book being put on the shelves!

First I want to thank Vicki and her generous compatriots for giving me some face time on their blog. Okay introductions are in order here. My name’s Sang Pak and I’m a writer. Eerily similar to an AA meeting, right? Well one thing I’ve discovered with writing and trying to get published, one has to have the tenacity and obsessive nature of an addict to be a viable writer. That and naivety but I’ll get to that later. Now that my first novel is being published August 4th it’s like I’m about to put on a new pair of shoes. I just don’t know what they’ll look like or how they’ll feel. One thing I do know is I’ll be relieved, excited, concerned and generally beside myself.

My book is Wait Until Twilight. A relatively slight tome but stuffed with mystery, grotesques and southern culture. Think J.D. Salinger meets David Lynch meets Flannery O’Connor. Personally that’s my kind of triumvirate. Technically it’s a coming of age/ southern gothic tale with dream-soaked tinge. (Let me add I am officially qualified to write about the south having been raised in Carrollton Georgia.) It took me a year to write the book and five years to get it published. How naïve I was at the beginning. A babe in the woods. A helpless innocent who had no idea the dark forest I was about to enter. But it is that naivety that not only facilitates that first step but allows the writer to continue through the swamp of rejections and false positives.

I had just quit NYU graduate school. First year psychology and moved in with my brother in Irvine, California. That warm Southern California sun was like butter on my skin after months in Manhattan. I’d take these long walks from my brother’s flat just meandering and wondering what the hell I was going to do. My brother, who was middle-management at Disney, was trying to cajole me into starting up a business. Something related to the English as a Second Language domain, which I was familiar with as a former teacher. I’d been doing the legwork in gathering research for such a venture but I found myself walking around the neighborhood more and more. For hours I’d walk in those lazy residential areas with the perfectly manicured lawns and pricey homes with that incessant sunlight on everything.

I found myself going to a nearby park and sitting in the grass. I started going there everyday. I’d get there early afternoon so it would be empty. The first group of people to show would be a line of little girls carrying their backpacks, the luggage kind with the wheels, across the park. They’d be coming from an elementary school across the way. It was strange seeing these children seemingly without a care in the world and there I was a ship without a rudder, no prospects, no desire to enter the workforce or join the corporate world. Everything looked like soul sapping wastes of life. It was while watching this line of girls pulling their backpacks that I decided to make a go of writing. Hey I thought, I’d write a novel in a couple of months and get published soon after. Sure it’ll be easy! I had no idea why I felt that way at the time. But looking back I think it was those little girls without a care in the world walking home after school, a world of possibilities opened to them. I wanted that same feeling. And that kind of naivety allowed me to start an endeavor I otherwise would have never started. Sometimes naivety ain’t such a bad thing.

Visit Sang Pak at


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Interesting post...I'll have to check your book out. Anything that's Southern gothic is right up my alley!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Fériel said...

Very nice anecdote. And it's very true that naivety can be a motor to start something, or to go somewhere.
Hope you'll succeed in this adventure.

Anonymous said...

I found this blog to be quite inspiring. As a musician I can relate to this. I started songwriting in almost exactly the same way. I was literally sitting in English class around age 13 thinking about music and just decided that I would write something. Unfortunately over the years I've gotten more and more jaded about the whole art vs. commerce thing, but hopefully if I can find some way to recapture that innocence I will achieve my goals. Best of luck on the publication of your novel. I look forward to reading it.

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

It's easy to become cynical, isn't it? Anyone battling his/her way in the arts has to struggle to stay inspired, all in the face of crappy pay and sniping reviewers. It takes work and frequent introspection to preserve that trace of delighted naivete. Congratulations on the new book, Sang.

Anna said...

I wish you the best with your success Sang, and you have my support every step of the way!

Orchid said...

"For hours I’d walk in those lazy residential areas with the perfectly manicured lawns and pricey homes with that incessant sunlight on everything."
-I can almost feel the warm sun and grass from that park. It's this way of colorful writing that transports your readers right into the story. You wield your words like a artist's paintbrush. I can't wait for the book!

Anonymous said...

Hi, sang. Thanks for reminding us how Everyone is naive about something, life is too short to know it all. you are a silver beacon of inspiration ha!!
Congrats on your first but hopefully not last book :) and now
I am eagerly awaiting it! so excited for the book to come out!
and read the novel
Best of luck with the publishing.