I first heard the phrase 20 years ago. I was taking a grad school course in which we were to read 3000 pages of Irish Literature and the professor referred often to "The Glorious Was," the propensity of certain characters to see the past through rose-colored glasses, seeing it as so much better when compared to the present. "Things were so much better when..."
Take any group of writers, put them together for an extended period of time, and you'll hear lots of examples of The Glorious Was.
"It's so much harder to get an agent now."
"It's so much harder to get published now."
"Editors don't edit like they used to."
Sure, these conversations can be their own brand of fun, particularly the more wine-soaked ones. But engage in this sort of thing too often, and what does it get you?
Yes, Margaret Mitchell walked into a publisher's office with her handwritten manuscript, but that sort of thing didin't happen every day. Yes, Maxwell Perkins was a legendarily great editor, but he wasn't editing everybody. Really, show me the time in history when it was easier.
The truth is, it's always been hard to be a writer, always hard to get published; it was, it is and always will be. (Yes, I know you can self-publish easily these days, and I have done that with a few titles myself, but we're talking about traditional publishing at the moment.)
And even if everything - or at least some things; or even one thing - was better in the past, so what? By lamenting the loss of The Glorious Was, writers get in their own way and reduce their chances of embracing The Glorious Is.
And what is The Glorious Is?
It's your opportunity, today, to do the very best writing you can. That's all any writer has ever had or will have. The rest is just sound and fury. And we all know what that signifies, don't we?
So, how about you? What do you think?
Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of over 30 books for adults, teens and children, including The Twin's Daughter, recently rereleased in paperback. Visit her at www.laurenbaratzlogsted.com or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBaratzL where she frequently discusses "General Hospital" and sports, which, since it's winter, means the Knicks.