Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Road To Hell Is Paved...

Most definitely.
And they'll be waiting for him.
Delighted to see him.
Last year, when I decided that family crises had abated to the point where I could justify - without guilt and remorse - spending time like a promiscious profligate, with dissipated and licentious abandon on my own interests, I told my husband NOT to tell anyone I was writing a book.
No, no, non, ne pas dire, ne pas pronouncer un mot, absolutamente no, 'oxi, nyet. Et cetera.
At this point, some of you may raise your eyebrows and think that - since I have not been writing continuously through all the latest traumas - I'm not a REAL writer. You may be right, but that's a different topic.
In fact, what I said was clear and blunt I thought.
"Keep your mouth shut," I said.
To no avail.
No sooner was the first, and exceedingly rough, draft completed than he confidentially informed everyone of his acquaintance that I had written a book. I wouldn't be surprised if he button-holed complete strangers with this fascinating intelligence.
You know the rest.
You'll be standing in the aisle of the drugstore trying to figure out if this "new, thicker, longer" product will do the same job as your old mascara when the clerk will ask you, "When is your book coming out?"
Or by the cash dispenser, trying to remember your code.
Or while extracting dog squat from someone's lawn.
While trying to read the laundry instructions on a skimpy top in the local boutique.
I don't go over town - or "up street" as it's called in the local patois - much anymore.
Perhaps I shouldn't have called the ambulance that day....

On a more cheerful note, Dennie has just sold her third book, The Inn Crowd, (neat title, Dennie) to Samhain Publishing.


archer said...

This whole your-family-and-your-writing thing is problematic. I think Carolyn See has the best take on it.

Ric said...

Tis a tough one, yes it is.

And most folks don't realize that writing the book is a whole hell of a lot different than seeing it in B&N.

"What do you mean it's not coming out for a year?"

Why don't you just send it to Doubleday?

I agree with Bernita - you really can't tell anyone or they keep asking about it - everywhere, all the time - and things move so slowly in this biz that frustration gets worse and worse.

Bernita said...

Thank you for the link, Archer.Very nice.
Another facet - someone else always does it better.
No need to rub our noses in it.
However, unless you lie through your teeth, there is no way one can hide a WIP from immediate family.

So much else moves with speed in this world, Ric, that people seem to assume a few months is enough, or else you're making it all up to sound interesting.
One of the attraction of e-pubbing, I imagine. They don't take forever to decide and publish.

kmfrontain said...

This is so true; friends and family just will go on about when the publishers are going to get back to you on a manuscript, and they all have that samed puzzled, sort of blank disbelieving look (that I'd like to smack off their faces) when you say that some publishers won't answer for up to a year. That always annoyed me. Worst of it is, they don't take your word for it, then don't check to see if your word was true, lazy bunch of... And they all have computers and internet access. They all do. And end of small rant. I feel better now. Really. I'll be able to tough another blank, incomprehending smack of non-verbal disbelief again.

Jane N. said...

Oh Bernita, I can so relate. Only my immediate family (and my agent) knows I write, and MUM is the word. What loyalists they are!

But now that both of the kids are in college, it's getting more difficuilt to answer questions like: "What do you do all day? Isn't it about time you went back to work?"

If I don't have something to shout about by the end of the 2006, maybe I will go back to work. But for now, there's nothing sweeter than living in the world of words that I've created.

Dennie McDonald said...

But he is so proud of you, that is so great. I know several writers whose spouses are not supportive - AT ALL... so you should be proud he takes such pride in your accomplishment (and pusblished or not it is a tremendous accomplishemnt)!

And if nothing else ... all the "When's your book coming out?" can spur you on ... I know it did me and viola ... third book so see....

Bernita said...

You've nailed it, KM.
"That blank, noncomprehending smack of nonverbal disbelief...."

Oh, those other-people's business -minders.
May I suggest this, Jane?
Tell them who manage to infer you're a lazy lay-about that you do freelance research - all hush-hush and confidential.
I've found the word "research" very effective.
And lucky you that you have a family who can keep their mouths shut. I married motor-mouth it seems.
To me, there is nothing to tell until one has a contract.

Bernita said...

I know what you're saying, Dennie, and in general, I agree.Those whose families do not support have a much more difficult time.
I apologize for a private rant that is minor and petty in comparison.
But my point is, to merely have finished a book is not a great accomplishment for me - those two in the attic, remember?
To have finished a GOOD book is something not yet determined.
I just wish he had respected my wishes in this regard.

December Quinn said...

Oh, no, I totally agree. I didn't want anyone to know, either-hell, I don't want them to know until they see my book in a store.

Dennie McDonald said...

I hear ya... mine didn't say much - I don't think. If he did, it never got back to me. But once my book came out he wished he hadn't mentioned it as the guys at his work ribbed him about the "warning" label on the book -hehe - just because it has explicit ... everything ... they find it tremendously funny!

Stacy Dawn said...

Ugh, yes, no-one outside the writing community understands the process...the lengthy process it takes to even get a chance at publication. My hubby would be in the doghouse too.

Bernita said...

I'm not quite that reticent, December, but writing is little more than a private divertissement until a book has been bought.

Dennie, I bet they're stinkin' envious of him.

Thank you, Stacy. It never registers, even if known, the years it may take.

S. W. Vaughn said...


Smack him, Bernita. :-)

You're so right about the questioners. Better that no one know what you're doing in the first place. Sometimes I wonder why writing a book has to be regarded as such a secret act, almost like we should be ashamed for doing it because it's not "real work."

Then I remember: we hide it because even after we explain how publishing works, and why all those books on the shelves in the bookstore didn't drop preformed from the ether--they still don't get it.

Anonymous said...

I understand your secrecy. That's one kind of pressure you don't need.

Congratulations Dennie!

Bernita said...

Was sorely tempted, SW!

And you're right about silence - the secrecy is not out of shame. As Jason says, that pressure is a divided pleasure.

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