Aug 14, 2006


My reading last night at Red Eyes went wonderfully. Friends came out to show some love, I made a few new friends, sold some books, signed some books and had a wonderfully funny introduction by Leah Jones, who gave a better account of the introduction than I can even begin to on her blog this morning. I was glad to read it, and to read that it made her itchy to get back into stand-up comedy again.

The guy working at Red Eyes had not been told by the manager that there was a reading last night, so I caught him off guard. He skeptically asked many questions of me, told me he was a writer himself, looked a little sad/frustrated, then picked up a copy of Three Fallen Women and looked it over before saying his agent has manuscripts for both of his novels and has not sold them. Ah, source of sadness/frustration discovered. He still seemed pissed to have a reading on what he was probably counting on to be a quiet night, so I tried to smooth things over by asking about his novels, then complimented his really gorgeous forearm tattoo, but didn't seem to get very far. He drilled me again about selling/publishing and implied plenty by suggesting I am published because I'm "more marketable" than a "middle-class white man" like him.

Look, I don't want to make any bad blood here, I'm just a little uncomfortable because I've seen a lot of this. Nevermind that I worked and wrote and climbed the walls and was poor and bored and overqualified for crappy mindless jobs and felt unchallenged for a long time before getting my freelance writing mojo working. Nevermind that I worked my ass off to stay freelance for a long time before Three Fallen Women was pulished. Nevermind that I lived and breathed that novel until it was something I was proud of. Nevermind that I carried it around for a few years before anything ever happened. Nevermind that I read and wrote every free moment I could. Nevermind that I could be accused of plenty in this world, but I can never be accused of not being a hard worker.

So, to imply that maybe none of that mattered was laughable. We all know that a man would never have been doubted. I hate to play the sexism card, but I'm going to have to. A man would never have been questioned. Everyone would assume he sold his novel on merit and hard work and nobody would ever wonder if maybe T&A or good cheekbones counted in the lit world.

I got over it. It's just that thing I always run into. Constructive versus destructive. I'm pretty straightforward and I want everyone to do well and I don't think there is a limited supply of happiness in the world. It doesn't kill anyone to be supportive of someone else. That's all. Optimism isn't cool and maybe it never will be, but it's simpler, more direct and makes a lot more sense to me than negativity does.

A moment later, a friendly face that I see in this place all the time and always chat with arrived for the reading. I smiled and thanked him for coming and we talked about my last couple of blog posts. He said, "You know, I catch all the references on your blog, but there was one the other day I didn't. Felch? What is that?"

Pause. I had said "felch" on my blog! Just the other day, I saw a "Felch Street" while driving to a reading. The twelve-year-old in me thought it was hilarious, so I blogged about it.

I was caught so off guard, all I could do was laugh. I asked if he really wanted me to tell him, but then couldn't compose myself and had to get the guy working there to explain. He did an excellent job, keeping his description very clinical and professional, but man, oh man, there were a few moments of stunned silence among the small group who was starting to gather. Last question I expected, to say the least.

Anyway, the reading went really well, the guy working there sat with his back to the stage the entire time (I don't know if by accident or on purpose, but I noticed it) the Q&A went really well, and I realize now, looking at the pics, that I really need a haircut and I really need to stop being photographed in this green t-shirt. People are going to think it's the only one I own. What self-respecting clean freak would let people believe she wears the same shirt all the time? Well, okay, I would.

And, naturally, Albert Einstein was there.

My kitty is purring on the center of my yoga mat, patiently awaiting me. He, for whatever reason, is drawn to my yoga mat, even curling up on the corner or under my feet while I'm using it. Yoga beckons.


leah said...

Or... it needs to be your signature shirt.

That is just his scarcity thinking. As if your publishing has ANYTHING to do with his publishing.


If nothing else, we brought some damn good publishing energy in that last night and he should have soaked it up.

James said...

Huh. Well, if it's any consolation, nobody at SNM knew what you looked like when you submitted TFW.