Appealing To Others
2003-11-07, 5:57 p.m.
On Wednesday night, I got a crying, begging phone call from Mom. She has to work at some kind of auction Saturday night until eleven, and she is suddenly phobic about leaving Dad home alone for all that time. (Which I don't really get since she leaves him alone every day to go to work, but whatever.) I guess he fell down again at some point in the toilet and now she's terrified to leave him alone. And of course, Mom doesn't really have any friends (fifty billion friendly acquaintances, but no friends) she can call to babysit, the only one is my PITA aunt and uncle. And she does not want my aunt in the house. I asked her which was worse, leaving him alone or having Auntie Dolores in the house and she said they were equally bad. So she begged me to come home and babysit him Saturday night. She bribed me with a ride home instead of the train, getting Chinese food, kind of whatever I want within reason. She even offered to drive me to Modesto to see Dave for a few hours on Sunday before I'd have to go back to work. (Though of course, that's not a good idea- between where he lives and meeting his parents, there's no way on earth I want her over there snooping around.) She was having a breakdown- she actually admitted she doesn't like to hug him either. Amazing.
On the one hand, Dave's birthday. Which is usually crap because his parents' likelihood of remembering or doing anything for it is slim, and ditto his friends (see below). On the other hand, leaving a handicapped person to fall down in the bathroom alone. Big fucking guilt either choice. I agreed to go, even though I said if he falls down in the bathroom (ew) there's no way I can pick him up. She said I could at least call an ambulance then. Dave was understanding, given the situation- said his birthday was going to suck anyway, so why not that too.
Ironically, we have Tuesday off from work. We never have Veterans' Day off, and it's just too weird that we have to show up for work on Monday. And sadly, I cannot take Monday off because of the new girl at work. She needs someone around to babysit here, there's only two of us, and the other one called dibs on the day off first because I didn't know we had one off until I read it in the newspaper. Wah. And I asked Dave if he could come here for a few weekdays, but no, his mother (who is in all kinds of bitch mode lately, it sounds like) will flip if he's not there to job hunt. Not that that is doing any good either.
Like everyone else, I read Pamie, and this time she wrote about something that has always spooked the bejesus out of me.
"I've been asked to figure out what kind of career I'd like to have over the next five years. I have to determine what kind of a writer I want to be, and who's career would I most like to pattern my own after. I should mention here that this is currently only in regards to my novel-writing stuff, but soon I'll have a meeting with my other agents and I'll have to figure out the "Business of Pamela Ribon." Agents love to say that: the "business" of "client's name," as in "They want to get into the Pamela Ribon business." It does have a nice ring to it.
I've always avoided making a five-year plan. It comes from having to lie to potential employers at job interviews.
I learned that keeping myself from having a plan meant I didn't shy away from opportunities when they arose....If I had planned out my life just then, I wouldn't have included being a writer, living in Los Angeles, writing novels and screenplays and television pilots...they wouldn't have even entered the possibilities.
I always thought it was a bad idea, and now I need to do it. I have to come up with some serious five year decisions and determine what kind of career I want to have. This is because my new novel isn't "Chick Lit," and therefore it's important for me to let someone know the kind of stories I plan on writing in the future, and what kind of author I should be marketed as.
To be honest, I've never tried to plan past six months. With the way my life has always gone, things change so dramatically in that time that all plans are tossed out the window."
I keep having Stuff Come Up in one way or another, and suffice it to say that what I thought I'd be doing now has changed drastically with each curve ball. It seems incredibly impractical of me to claim that I want to go in a particular direction when something may come along to completely throw me out of that realm. It's not realistic. Plus, as Pamie pointed out, you may end up doing something more interesting than you'd thought if you weren't following A Path.
And yet I can see what they mean, writing-books-wise. All that stuff about how people are so stupid and confused so easily if a writer *gasp!* tries something that isn't in their genre. Such as this- "I write more than one kind of fiction. Two of my novels sold within a few months of each other, and one of the publishers was worried about "confounding reader expectation".- and this- "If an author writes romance and builds up a readership in that genre, then he/she must change their name in order to write a mystery novel. Why? Because those readers who only want to read romances could accidentally pick up the mystery novel based on their love of the author's writing and then be upset or disappointed when the story reveals something other than romantic fiction."
I don't know about that. I mean, man, I wouldn't want to write "chick lit" forever and ever, amen, but there really isn't a genre out there for not-chick-lit, not-literary-highbrow. And what if I wanted to try sci-fi again? I couldn't. Pigeonholing sucks wang.
Anna called last night, and we were going on about various stuff, and I mentioned to her (she has apparently seen the blog lately) about the craft fair. I had just been kind of puzzled because a few people had gone off to me about how great my stuff was, how they like to look at it, etc., but, well, not all that much is selling. Which makes me feel kinda dumb after all the time and money I've blown on this. I think I priced way too high because professionals told me to, but I also think there's a problem besides that. Anna said, "They like to look at it, but they'd never wear it." Kind of reminds me of the girl who can't get her friends to buy her cow merchandise. If it's that good, why isn't it wanted?
Aaaaaand...that's the crux of the matter, isn't it? People that aren't me probably wouldn't wear my stuff to work or to a business meeting or to anything practical. It's too froo-froo fancy. It's not plain, it's not classic. And that's what people want. There's a few freaks out there who like weird, but that's the minority. And yet, in this world, butt paintings sell for $300. Kill me now.
This sort of ties into the whole "to attempt to publish or not" thing that I keep wondering about.
Jim goes by the moniker Longshot in a number of online locales. He came by this name in the early 1990's when he decided he would become a published author. Usually only 3 in 1000 who make such an attempt actually manage to become published; of those, only 1 in 10 make enough money to call it a living. Though Jim has only gotten over the first hurdle, he has the second in sight."
The longshot is well, what I think I'm not. As you know. And the screwy thing is, reading authors' blogs and whatnot lately (I have been doing a lot of this), it doesn't sound like getting published is well, all that much fun. Sounds more like a whole lot of stresses piled on top of you, not to mention the joys of promotion. And ugh, selling myself is NOT my thing. It's not in writing, and it's not in the arts.
Really, aren't I just better off and happier keeping things to myself? Making jewelry for myself as wild as I want to, without having to attempt to figure out how other people think and make it appeal to them? Stop stressing out trying to please? Writing what I want to without trying to figure out how to fit how others do it? Screw the appealing to others and just float around in my happy little orbit out in Pluto?
I'm thinking so.
This train of thought led me to remembering a thread over on Utopia with Cheese, which started out about micropayments and then went into is it worth anything at all to write without trying to get published? That if you aren't published in print, you don't count and it isn't real. And if you are a good writer, you'll either find a way to get published no matter what the costs or you'll just give up on writing altogether.
"Every good writer is going to reach the point where they realize that being a good writer in a vacuum is not sufficient. (If a good writer composes alone in the forest, does anyone know he's good?)" -Columbine.
Which is the part that makes me wonder.
I'm not very fame-seeky on the Internet. I put up links to my sites from time to time on places, but that's about it. I don't really want to get popular- that just costs me plenty and may lead to stalkers and shit. Could be great flattering fun, but there's a price. And really, the price of fame doesn't sound all that hot to me. (And come on, someone who refuses to wear a name tag because she wants to be anonymous and unidentified in the crowd isn't gonna like being recognized much.)
But I do wonder if at some point I would want or crave more recognition, and if it is a waste to not bother looking for it.