12.13.2011

ON BEING A REAL WRITER

every other day i would look at this blog and think.. gahh, i really need to post something. i should do that. i need to do that. i should probably say something, especially now that my book is out. now that my book is out i should really, really probably maybe say something.

but i didn't know what to say.

this has been one hell of a ride, all of this. it's been scary and terrifying and really scary and very terrifying and it's been more fun than i've ever had in my life. i have so many FEELINGS about things now, but, even though technically i call myself a writer, i seem to have lost all the words needed to write them down.

i feel a little different now. like if i were a tin can and you shook me you'd hear some stray piece rattling around inside of me, clanging and making it known to the world that a part of me has come loose. because it's true. a part of me has come loose. a part of me is now printed on 338 pieces of paper and has been placed on a shelf for all to see. so i feel kind of funny about that.

i forget, all the time, for example, that people can just walk into a bookstore and buy my book. i get calls and texts and emails and messages from old friends, distant family members, that one lady i met at a dinner party 3 years ago who somehow has my phone number. they say wonderful, wonderful things like "omg i just bought your book!!!! congratulations!!! this must be so exciting for you!!!!!" and unfortunately, my immediate reaction is generally something like "OHHHH, RIGHT, THAT, HEYYY, YEAHHH LOLOL, MAYBE, LISTEN, YOU DON'T HAVE TO LIKE IT OR ANYTHING, WE CAN STILL BE FRIENDS IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT OR ANYTHING OKAY GTG TTYL" and then i stick my phone in the freezer.

i meet people and they say things like "omg i just googled you!" 
i say goodbye to people and they say things like "omg i'm going to google you!" 

i'm not exactly sure what people hope to impart when they say these things to me; no doubt they think they're complimenting me in some way, and so i try to be cool about it and manage to nod and smile and before pulling a paper bag over my head. because in truth, these exclamations make me want to go home and hide all my google-bits and build a blanket-fort under my desk and live there for the next 10 years.

but then (!) 

just as i've put the finishing touches on my hermit-nest (!) 

i'll get a really wonderful email from a reader that makes me so happy that for a moment, i don't even mind that my google is showing. i'll put pants on that day and actually leave my house and maybe squint in the face of natural light for a little while, and then i'll pay too much money for a cup of coffee and haul myself to a bookstore. there, i will inevitably find myself in front of the Young Adult section, standing there in my unbearably self-conscious skin, wild-eyed and crazed, suddenly acutely aware of just how much my google is showing and convinced that at any moment, someone is going to pop out of the aisles and accuse me of vanity. seriously. i can't even make eye contact with my own book. i see it and dart in the other direction because i'm afraid someone will catch me admiring it, and oh, god, how terrible that would be, and i really hope that never happens, because that would be so embarrassing i think i would just die a little bit, right there on the spot.

so yeah. this is what i've been doing. trying to learn how to be gracious about these kinds of things. i'm trying to learn how to stop laughing when people compliment my book (apparently this does little in the way of advancing sales); i'm trying to learn how to roll myself in bubble-wrap every day before waddling over to the internet where i carefully avoid all sites save shoe stores, tumblr, and netflix; i'm trying to learn how to eat solid food on a regular basis (apparently a diet of coffee and chocolate will kill me prematurely); and i'm trying to learn how to blog again. i swear, you'd think i've just told you i've been in a serious car accident and i'm going through physical therapy. ugh, melodramatic much.

the doctor has full faith that one day i will blog again, friends.

but really, of all of the things i've experienced, the strangest thing thus far has been this... this, i don't know, this stamp-of-approval that people find on my forehead. and even though i check the mirror every day and still haven't found it yet, people keep insisting that it's there.

overnight, i went from being "a writer" to A Writer. 

i tell people i write books and they look at me like i've said something remotely amusing, like i've said something in another language that, roughly translated, actually means "i couldn't get a real job." it's only when they realize that i have an actual book in an actual bookstore that they suddenly look at me like "oh, god, i totally thought for a second that you were one of those loser 'writers' who hasn't actually published anything, lolol, my bad, my bad, you're cool, carry on." and oh, it's so gross, guys. i hate it so much. i hate the implication that you can't be a real artist without having sold something. i hate that we don't appreciate struggling artists until they've "made it," i hate that writers aren't appreciated until they're "published," i hate that musicians are pitied until they "get that record deal." because there's no such thing as a stamp-of-approval. and i hope you guys know that.

i hope you know that if you write? if you write with heart and soul and passion, you will always be a writer. you will always be an artist. and i hope you'll never let those disapproving, disappointed looks affect you. i hope you know that no one can tell you what it means to be a "real writer," especially not some random guy who knows nothing about who you are and all you've struggled to achieve.

anyway. i just wanted to say it's good to be among friends. my writer and reader-friends. you're all awesome. if you read books, please keep on reading them. and if you write books, please keep on writing them. because i can't wait to buy them.

i hope you're all doing so well. i've missed talking to you.

<3

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