Monday, July 4, 2011

My own attempt at pride and independence....

Happy Independence Day! I hope it's wonderful and fun for you and yours (and safe). I had a bit of my own independence day yesterday. I finally busted free of trying to hide myself entirely from family. I sort of shucked the idea of shunning who I am and what I do and what I write. A family member I haven't seen in a while leaned in and asked me about my books and what I was writing. A lot of folks know sort-of-kind-of what I write, but I refuse to give my pen name or any of that.

I'm not sure if I'm protecting them or me.

This is entirely my doing, by the way. If I listened to the man, I'd be writing under my own name and anyone who didn't like it be damned. However, when I started the kids were wee and I was very much protecting them, which to me is my number one job between birth and well...forever, when it comes to my kids.

But I gave her my card and told her who I was and how things were doing. For real. I was honest.

I made myself a promise a few weeks ago when I was at the bank and the banker made a comment on my deposit. (We've known each other a while) I said, "They're royalties" and he said, "Oh, what do you write?"

I then horrified and shamed myself by saying "Romance" and doing air quotes. I entirely disappointed myself in that moment because what I do and how hard I work to do it deserves more than air quotes.

So, like I said, I gave her my card. Then I came home and had a conniption. Had I ever used her name? Anyone's name she knew? Last names of folks? Whose names, places, coloring, storylines etc? If you are a writer you know that your life shines through in your work. Sometimes barely at all, sometimes a lot. It depends. But if I wrote stories with characters named ONLY after folks I'd never known in my life, everyone would be named Mabel and Bryce and Hubert.

So, then I calmed the fuck down and decided that that this year I'll be 40. In about five short months. It's time to go ahead and be proud of what I do. And if you don't like what I do, then don't look. And if you like me but decide to treat me differently because of what I do then...shame on you. Not me.

Like I said, I had my own mini independence day yesterday. I'm giving myself the freedom to be me--all of me. It's the kick off to not trying to hide myself. Good stuff.

Now, we are going to eat some good food and probably veg out since we had our party yesterday.

I hope your day is full of awesomeness, fun and fireworks in whatever form you choose to experience them. (I prefer orgasms to actual fire in the sky)



  1. I keep saying I'm going to be upfront and proud about what I write. But then I chicken out or do the air quotes thing, just like you described. I hate how we delegitimize our own work by refusing to be proud of it. Hoping your resolution to not hide youself sticks, and feeling inspired to try to be better about that kind of thing myself.

    Thanks for a great, thought-provoking post.

  2. Wow. I'm pretty sure anyone who writes what we write under a pen name can identify. Especially anyone who has kids and writes what we write.

    Bravo to you. I'm not sure I can see myself doing the same anytime soon.

  3. Thx, Jo and good luck, Jeannette!

    CJ, I don't think the goal is to run about with a tee on that says I WRITE SMUT! ASK ME ABOUT MY SMUT! LOL. I think that goal is in those moments when I do choose to tell folks what I write and/or who I am, I do so without belittling myself and all the hard work I put in.

    A lot of mystery writers write scads and scads and scads of hardcore, violent, blow by blow murder, death and torture. And yet, rarely have I met one who hides who they are. But sex is a no-no. Odd, to me.

    I guess I'm subscribing to the whole people only treat you as well or as poorly as you allow them to. You show people how to treat you. So, if I choose to tell someone the truth and they change how they treat me, then I guess I really wasn't as important to them as I thought.

    I've been doing this FT for over six years now. I'd like a shred of credit for all my work, even if it's when I cherry pick who I tell. :)

    Hope that made some kind of sense. Everyone is different and some folks are 100% pleased to never tell anyone and more power to them! I get that. And I support it.

    This is just how *I personally* feel after about half a dozen years of putting in mad hours and tons of love into my writing. :)


  4. That makes perfect sense, and I definitely get where you're coming from. How public to be about smutwriting is such a personal decision, with a whole heap of factors that go into it. Far be it from me to question where someone else chooses to come down on it.

    Although that would be a cool tee to have, even if the only place it got worn was at writerly gatherings. ;-)

  5. I totally get it. I was just clarifying because I'm not advocating anyone who's not where I am emotionally about their writing force themselves to speak up about chosen genre. It's very much a case by case basis. I've known people who write under their real names (some with kids and some without) and always have. Cynical Woman is a huge hero of mine for that very reason. ;)


  6. I haven't published a lot. But I'm always proud of what I write. My family knows. My friends know. Of course, I don't have wee ones to protect from the judgemental eyes of the PTA or teachers, and I'm sure that if I did, that would change in a heartbeat.

    But good on ya lass for coming forward a bit at a time. And NEVER give yourself air quotes again. You, and what you write, are WAY too special for such things.

    Be loud, be proud. And I hope you had a wonderful July 4th.


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