Bound & Gagged

When I was in 7th grade, my friend Ryan Fivecoat told me, “Never write anything you’d want the whole world to read.”

That was a heavy load to drop on a 7th grade skull, but I kept it close to me, because it resonated with me. I wasn’t like the other kids. I wouldn’t write notes that I worried about the teacher finding. I wouldn’t commit my serious thoughts to paper, because God only knew who might find my writing and judge me.

Honestly, given the judgmental nature of the city I grew up in, and how quickly people were to pounce when they caught a whiff of weakness… it was probably the best advice anyone could have given me.

Fast forward 20+ years. I live in a different state, with different values. I’m a grown woman, have a child and a husband, and a slew of petty past infractions such as imperfect ex-boyfriends and wonky career paths. I should be beyond that feeling that I need to protect everything I have to say, to sanitize my words for others comfort. I should be comfortable in my own skin, revealing these truths that are self-evident.

I don’t though. To this day, the words of my friend still rattle around in my skull. “Never write anything you’d want the whole world to read.”

Except, who am I to determine what that is? Who am I to know how you’re going to take these words?

I had a hell of a summer. I was torn free from my anchors and dropped down on the shore, left to find new points of stability. It wasn’t one large pull from a storm wave, but instead the gentle, insistent tug of the tide.

I had to watch my kid all summer long. I wasn’t prepared for his proximity, he’s been in daycare since he was 3 months old. I love my kid but anyone who’s had an uncouth roommate can tell you that even if you care about the person, there are habits that will drive you to biting the heads off of nails. I lost faith in myself at some point, I wasn’t sure I could do it. Fortunately I pulled myself free of that defeatist notion, and kept on going.

I had to confront my trust issues. Certainly a girl whose mantra is laced in paranoia couldn’t have trust issues, but I am a poster child for it. Obviously there are those whom I do trust, who have spent years whittling away at my armor to get inside the shell. They are few, they are far between, and up until now I didn’t even recognize my problem.

So, I did a little renovation over the course of the last few months. I’ve started to peel away some of the layers that don’t suit me. I’ve started to confront those demons that we all collect on a long enough timeline. I don’t know how to verbalize some of what I’ve accomplished… but even saying what I’ve said is a considerable amount of putting myself out there that I don’t do.

Hopefully this work will continue, and I can tell you more of my story soon.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Hi everyone.

Let me preface this blog post by saying that Summer jumped me like a mugger in an alleyway, and I kept trying to get away but my cries went unheeded and eventually everything went black.

I wish I could be less visceral with the comparison, but nothing has hit me as hard as this summer. I was full time Mom, part time writer (which became no-time towards the end.) I juggled swim lessons, laundry and the budget. I looked for work and signed up for class and tried to get my shit together.

I did manage to publish a book and have a reading for it. I need to work on my marketing. Thus far I’m relying on word of mouth, and barely anyone knows me. I’m trying different things, marketing-wise, but I’m an author, not a spin doctor, and everything I try feels awkward.

Sadly, the truth is that marketing is for extroverts. People who can look you in the eye and feel every ounce of their self-worth, in the face of rejection. I’m an introvert. The only thing worse than rejection is attention.

Admittedly, I may be in the wrong industry.

However, this is an industry where I can shamelessly write a story about a vampire dealing with ancient gods and have a lot of fun doing it. Where I can sit down with a group of my friends for a round of “I’ve been there’s.” An industry where writing a letter of appeal to Amazon, whether it does any good or not, is a worthwhile task, as opposed to just a customer complaint.

I have a life outside my writing. It consists of my son, and my husband, and my tiny condo, and my neighbor’s dog. I go to backyard barbecues, catch blockbusters in the theater, and indulge in one too many glasses of wine. It’s a lot less interesting than my imagination, which has a mind of its own.

Recently I had a chance to read to my fans at a local comic book shop. It jazzed me up. Being in a room full of people who have read, or wanted to read, my book. People who had questions about my world, who wanted to know more about what I do. I was terrified but when I noticed there were no pitchforks or torches, I fell into a groove of listening and sharing, and it was a marvelous thing.

I want more of it, and it’s not coming fast enough. I think if I can keep ahead of the self-doubt and the rigid terror, I think I could possibly make a living doing this. I wrote a short story in one day, the first time I’ve ever written that much word count in one sitting.

Ah, and here’s the other thing. That group of friends.. they rely on me for the same thing. They want my opinion on stories and query letters. They want a trustworthy source to tell them their stories are on track, or off the rails, or in-between. I need that just as much as I need to succeed for myself.

It’s going to be an interesting Autumn.