Saturday, May 5, 2012


Blogger's new format can suck my ovaries.

Have not been having a good time of things lately. Several attempts to find work that pays better have ended in bait-and-switch interviews, where the job that's advertised, the job I'm told they want me for, is not the one they interview me for. Do you know how hard it is to maintain a professional demeanor in the middle of an interview when they tell you you're actually here to interview for something minimum-wage? When they tell you you shorted your already limited sleep by several hours for nothing?

On top of that, querying is not going as well as I'd hoped it would. I've looked into some small presses and have been compiling a list of ones that seem worth submitting to. I like that small presses take more risks and publish more art rather than just more of what we've already seen before. I have great respect for small presses and their forward-thinking authors. what I don't like is that small presses don't have capital, so I can expect nothing as an advance, and I can also expect a wait of up to two years before the book is published and before royalties start to come in. Two years is a distressingly bleak span of time to face when you already can't keep your head above water. I'm not foolish enough to think I could have expected anything major for this book from a Big Six publisher, but a simple advance of maybe $10,000 seemed like a reasonable hope. Even $5,000 in the bank would have kept us from panicking, would keep us from losing our home and our minds for another year or more. The money situation is so dire. We're both stretched so thin. And I see shit like Twilight fanfiction getting big money, while I will count myself lucky if I see a few hundred bucks from two years' worth of work...two years from now.

Everybody tells me not to get discouraged, to just start on the next book. Why? It will be just as impossible to sell as the others. It will bring me more years of torment and nothing in the bank. What's the point?

I've got to go to a friend's birthday party. He's one of those friends who always tells me what a great writer I am, yet he's never read anything I've written. I hate being treated that way by the people I love. I know they mean well so I never call them out on it, but I hate to hear those words from them. They're just patting me on the head, just smiling and nodding at this little hobby of mine. Libbie likes to write books; isn't that cute.

Dad used to hate it when he'd set up his French easel and paint en plein air, and hikers and tourists would come up to him and say, "Hey, my aunt paints!" He hated it when people told him that, hated it. Because they couldn't see the difference between the awful crap their amateur aunts painted and the beautiful, nuanced, skilled things he made. It made him feel like it was pointless. Why keep painting at all, if every painting was the equivalent of aunt-painting?

So these people who love me, they mean well and they want to support me, but I'm just playing to them. I'm just a hobbyist with no real potential beyond that. Shit, they're not even interested enough in my "hobby" to READ what I write. They tell me it's good and think I won't notice that they've never even tried to find out whether it is.  It doesn't occur to them that maybe I'm doing something worth more than Twilight fanfiction, so they pat me on my head and say, "You're a good writer, Libbie. Don't worry. You'll get published."

My aunt paints.

This friend -- he just got his acceptance letter to the university he wants to attend. I'm so happy for him. He's worked so hard, and he and his wife have both sacrificed so much so that he can achieve this goal. And I love them both like crazy. They're the best people. But now I've got to pull my shit together and go celebrate with them. His life is coming together. Mine is stagnant. I am thirty-two. When I was younger I thought of my thirties as that decade when I'd have my life on its track, when I'd be writing full-time and maybe not making great money at it, but getting by.

So I guess now the conventional wisdom is that I start the next book. For whatever good that may do me. I can't muster any enthusiasm for it. I don't see the point in trying to make something good and real when that doesn't matter to publishers anymore.

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