Today I’d like to do some Sit Down. It’s like Stand Up, but lazier.
Today is International Women’s Day. Or as the women who are born on March 8th like to call it, Happy Steal My Thunder Day. It’s not like Pancake Day, when everybody can tell those women, “We Love Pancakes, but We Love You More.” There’s nothing we can do about having our birthday whisked away by this international force of celebration. Even if, best case scenario, I sell lots of books someday and my name is known, I still cannot ever top International Women’s Day.
Speaking of my books, today is also release day for my newest book baby, Opalescent Immersion. It’s the fourth book of my Endeavor Series, and it totally rocks. I think. It’s got mermaids in it, so it must rock, right? For those of you who don’t know about me, I decided in the haze of having four children and utterly losing my mind, that I would write books. Because I didn’t have enough to do already.
I’ve always been a writer, but I never imagined doing it with kids. Being a writer is crazy enough, but doing it with kids is another, deeper level of crazy. Sometimes I forget who I’m yelling at, a character or a kid. I haven’t called my kids by a character yet, but there’s always time for that later.
So cue the brand new writer. I’d written lots before, and even tried a book in high school, but I was still in new territory as a writer. So what intelligent thing did I do? Yeah, I decide to write a series. A long series, like 12 books long. (I was 9 for a bit, in my defense). Writing 12 books is like stepping into marriage before dating. I probably should have dated a few books first. Grown as a writer. Tried new things and experimented before I got into a serious relationship.
But I didn’t, so I’m doing what every good Oklahoman has been taught to do since conception. Suck it up and push through it. That’s actually how some of us were conceived, but we don’t talk about that. Sometimes we argue about it, though.
Native Oklahomans are the unholy union of Scottish, Irish, and German ancestors. We’ve got red dirt in our veins, ya’ll. No, seriously, we’ve all eaten it in childhood. It’s there. We are all also Indians, no matter how small the drop of Indian blood. And by Indian blood I mean Native American blood. I’m a carded Indian. I can say that.
Even if it’s the LAST drop of Indian blood, we celebrate it like we should. But heaven help you if you bring up the fact that an Irish ancestor might have had a night in the bed of a Scottish ancestor and produced a child. We don’t talk about that drop of blood. I have no idea why. I should Google it, but my Google searches are already a bit scandalous.
So speaking of the bedroom, I write fantasy. Untangle your panties. Not that kind of fantasy. (Well, not until book 3, anyway.) Not only was I crazy enough to write 12 books, but I got the idea to write in the Tolkien/Lewis style. Except I’m much edgier and a woman. So basically, my books have the potential to piss everybody off.
Okay, so I should probably get to the point of this whole post, right? I want to talk honestly about the life of an artist. I think it’s important to be honest about the process. I’m very much a realist, which also bothers people. I don’t get it. Like, if something sucks, don’t you want to know before you get in? I can be far more positive about the experience if we keep it real.
People like to do the I Love You But I Don’t Like Your Art thing with artists. And they think it’s perfectly acceptable and loving to do this. It’s like, do you people go up to women on the street and say, “I love you, but I don’t love your kids.”
My books are my kids. But I’m a writer. So I have to make sure to like other people’s ugly babies on Facebook at the same time accepting that other people do not have to like my ugly book babies. And that’s perfectly acceptable. It’s like, “Gee, I wish Amy would shut up about her books and art and creativity.” *uploads the bazillionth picture of smiling family*
I love you but. Ugh. I live in central USA, where we do lots of the I Love You But. The I Love You But Craze is interesting, because basically we are all saying what we hate about each other, but we are trying to cover up our hate by adding on the love part. Because, you know, that’s what a good realtionship is about. Lying and passive aggressive attacks on your character.
I Love You But I Don’t Love Your Books. I Love You But.
I think life would be so much better if we would be more like I Love Your Butt instead of doing the I Love You But. Like, why are we better at complementing good posteriors? We should be like, “Girl, good job on the squats!” when we pass each other on the street. Life is hard, people! We should be as supportive as we can of each other, and that includes admiring a nice, rounded slab of muscle and fat.
Oh, we all look. I have proof. There was this one time this older lady I was working out with kept giving me weird looks in a conversation. Finally, she walked behind me and came back around, her face all lit up. “Oh, I know you now!” She said chirpily. She knew my ass. Workout people have to do that to recognize each other. Like, “Could you please squat and then leap up into the air so I can place you?”
I Love Your Butt.
If you are going to be a writer, then you are going to have to get used to hearing excuses for people not reading your books. For example, the most common excuse is, “I don’t read.” I always have to calm myself when people say that. Like, the mom part of me starts singing, “A B C D…” in my head when people say this, and I have to stop myself from saying, “Do you want me to teach you, honey?”
I say honey a lot. And sweetheart. And sugar. Sorry, not sorry. No, I’m even not sorry for saying sweetheart to the young guy at the fast food restaurant that one time. It’s how some southerners speak. People get all whiney when you say stuff like that to others, and I’m all like, “Please untwist your panties and calm yourself. I do not want your husband. I repeat, I do not want your husband. Anyway, I’m sure he’s plenty happy with a paranoid, control freak, so no worries, love. Also, I say love, but I don’t want you. For the reasons I just stated.”
Being a nice person is hard. You have to remind people that you are just nice, and there’s nothing sinister behind it. Okay, seriously, why are nice people not on the endangered list? I mean, it’s crazy. Everybody is so rude these days that you cannot even take your neighbors trash can back to their house without them freaking out that you want something or have a motive. Yeah, I’m totally going to show up at your house at a random moment and be like, “I took your trash can back. It was 60 seconds of my life. Now be my slave!”
So as you can see, I’m nice, but not really. Like, I could never be Mother Theresa. Maybe, if I stretch, I could be her evilish twin. I like the idea of evilish twins.
So back to excuses. My next favorite excuse is “Oh, I don’t read that genre.” Now, this excuse is much more frequent in the writing community. It’s how you say, “Thanks for reading my book, but I don’t want to do the same for you. Because I’m obviously better than you. So thanks for supporting me!”
Look, if you can read, than you can read any genre. You may not be fond of a genre, but you can read it. So stop with the excuses. I saw this lady doing this to another writer a while back. She was completely convinced that she was awesome. Look, while I’m being truthful today, it is perfectly possible for more than one human being to be awesome. I promise you. This doesn’t just apply to writers. It’s completely human.
I Love Ya But.
Ever notice that there are two groups of writers? All writers are artists, right? All writers are writers. But then there are the writers who come to school on the short bus. We are the crazy, colorful kind. We are the rule breakers of writing, and we drive the other sort crazy. That is probably the first lesson anybody should learn about being writer.
Writers don’t agree about anything, and it goes back to the fundamental Rule Keepers VS the Rule Breakers. Some of us like boundaries and plans and lists and terms of agreement. We write at a certain time of day and we document each step to make sure that the great KING of writing approves, thank you very much.
And then there are the other kids on the playground. The ones who say, “You can take your comma and shove it.”
Have you ever been made fun of as a writer by other writers? It’s standard. We all, both sides, get caught up in how we function and we like to celebrate that.
I Love You, but I Don’t Like How You Write.
It takes all kinds people, so go to your corners until you both chill out. We can, actually, all write successful books, even with opposing techniques. People have been doing it since they started storytelling. “I wish Hamish would stop using different voices for his monologues. It’s a monologue!”
Anyway, today is my birthday. Happy 35th to me! It’s quite scandalous that I celebrate myself by publishing books on my birthday. You see, it’s back to country mannerisms. You are not supposed to toot your own horn. You will go to hell if you do. Instead, you have to wait around for somebody else to celebrate you. Sometimes this happens when they bury you. Other times you get lucky and find a friend to brag for you. That’s how successful southerners do it. They have their friend post their accomplishments, and then they post theirs. That way they both get to go to heaven.
You ever notice that when a man puts himself out there, he is networking? If a woman does it, she’s a Fill In The Blank With Whatever Derogatory Word You’d Like To Partake of Today.
I love 35. Why? I don’t care what people think. Why? People can be mean. So take care of the ones in your life who love you, and by love, I do not mean I Love You But. I mean I Love You. Yes, the thirties are awesome people, but that’s a Sit Down for another day.
I want to thank you all for dropping in today. I had a blast. I hope you did, too. There’s more of this to come in the future.
Laugh Until You Pee