IT’S ALL SO DAMN SUBJECTIVE

dr-seuss-be-who-you-are
“SUBJECTIVE” is the word I hear most when discussing the publishing business, and writing in general. At first I really didn’t get what that meant. I figured if I wrote a great book, everyone would like it. (Stop laughing!) Agents always say, “Write the best book you can. If it’s good, it will find a home.” (What they don’t tell you is that home is usually your own. Which is where it stays. Forever.)

Here are some excerpts from various agent form rejection letters we all know and love:

“In my search for clients I wish to represent only the manuscripts with which I feel a real connection. Ultimately—and for purely SUBJECTIVE reasons—this query did not spark that kind of enthusiasm.” (Which we writers interpret to mean, “Your manuscript sucks.”)

“We mold our client list from the many submissions we receive every month, and the process is both SUBJECTIVE and based on the direction of this agency.” (Which we writers interpret to mean, “Your manuscript sucks.”)

“Please keep in mind that mine is a SUBJECTIVE business, and an idea or story one agent does not respond to may well be met with great enthusiasm by another…” (Which we writers interpret to mean, “Your manuscript sucks.”)

Book reviews are also SUBJECTIVE. The most obvious example being the thousands of reviews for Fifty Shades of Grey. The reviews range from “If Heaven exists, it would surely be wallpapered with the pages of this trilogy, so we can all read this masterpiece for eternity,” to “I wouldn’t wipe my dog’s ass with the pages of this crap.”

SUBJECTIVE. SUBJECTIVE. SUBJECTIVE.

What the hell does this word even mean?

Based on (or related to) attitudes, beliefs, or opinions, instead of on verifiable evidence or phenomenon. Contrasts with objective.—BusinessDictionary.com

Proceeding from or taking place in a person’s mind rather than the external world: a subjective decision.
Particular to a given person; personal: subjective experience.–thefreedictionary.com

Based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes or opinions.—Dictionary.com

Do you see a pattern here? It means what floats one’s boat may not float another’s. What may be one person’s cocaine may be someone else’s bad LSD trip. One person’s kink may be another person’s therapy session.

Personally, I’ve found some of my female friends’ partners revolting. I pretty much think all of my ex-boyfriends’ wives are like, “Ugh.” To each his own, and even more so when it comes to writing.

I bought a book in Target a few months ago by a contemporary romance author I’ve wanted to check out for awhile. She’s been around a long time, has written a gazillion books, has beaucoup fan followers, and is a NYT bestselling author. And yet…

I picked up and put down this book so many times it took me forever to finish it. It wasn’t that this woman wasn’t a good writer; she was. But the heroine bothered me, because she was too adoring of the hero, so she came across (to me) as a sloppy puppy dog. There was too much conversation about feelings and too many internal monologues about feelings, which tend to bore me. I prefer more zingy dialogue. And there just wasn’t enough of a plotline to hold my interest.

But that’s simply my opinion. It wasn’t my cuppa. Hundreds upon hundreds of fans love her books, and loved this one, in particular. Does that mean it sucked because I wasn’t crazy about it? Of course not. It just means it wasn’t my cocaine.

If you were an agent, you’d want to sign someone who wrote a book that was your cocaine. Just like the person you marry should be your cocaine. And your passion should be your cocaine.

The next time you receive a rejection letter or a bad review, or get dumped by your lover, remember that damn word…no, not cocaine…SUBJECTIVE.

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IT’S A GOOD THING MY FAVORITE SUBJECT IS MYSELF

I’ve been tagged by Menopausal Mama, who was tagged by Karen over at www.BakingInATornado.com (who was tagged by www.theadventuresofthefamilypants.com) to answer a list of questions from a game that originally surfaced on Facebook who knows how many years ago. I guess there are 45 questions in this game, but menopausalmama lowered it to 25 to save everyone’s sanity, and also combined various questions from both of the above bloggers.

If you haven’t checked out the site, menopausalmother, you need to, because she is attempting world domination (and succeeding) one blog at a time. She is very funny, has a great list of awesome bloggers, and she’s a very generous blogger, too.

Just when you thought you knew everything there is to know about me, there’s more…mwahaha, there’s ALWAYS more!

WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Pittsburgh, PA—which is why I have a nonsensical loyalty to the Steelers. But because I moved to Brooklyn when I was one, I consider myself an abrupt, sarcastic New Yorker through and through.

T-shirt

WERE YOU NAMED AFTER SOMEONE?
My mother named me Tiffany, because she said I looked like such a jewel when I was born (awwww)—after all the blood and afterbirth was cleaned off me, I’m sure.

IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, HOW MANY DO YOU HAVE?
One boy, but he has the energy equivalent of three boys. Lucky me! My house is the preteen party house, so two of my son’s friends are daily permanent fixtures. I’ve started growth charts on my wall for them. Sometimes the neighbor’s girls come over too, so it’s like The Brady Bunch at my house—if The Brady Bunch were Mexican, living in the ghetto, and headed by a single mother.

HOW MANY PETS DO YOU HAVE?
One Chihuahua too many! Thankfully, I’m down to three cats from seven, because they were eating me out of house and home. I have two parakeets that I thought would be chirping melodies from The Sound of Music, but in reality sound like heavy metal from Hellraiser 2. And of course, the diva Chihuahua, who never met a carpet she didn’t like to pee on.

dog

YOUR WORST INJURY?
A stitch in the chin when I was nine from being thrown onto a wooden table while wrestling with my Mom. Sadly, she refused to wrestle with me ever again after that. Other than the stitch, I’ve never broken a bone or been in the hospital, which is why childbirth was such a rude, obnoxious awakening.

DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
Sadly, no. I really wish I could wolf whistle or tie a cherry stem with my tongue.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING TO BAKE?
I probably shouldn’t admit this, because then I’ll NEVER find a husband, but I have never baked cookies from scratch, or a cake in my life. Whenever I feel the need to prove my domesticity, I bake already-made cookies so I can fill my house with the aroma and temporarily feel like Donna Reed. Other than that, I’d say my favorite thing to bake is a frozen pizza that only takes 9-11 minutes to cook, which comes in handy whenever we need to quickly get our asses to soccer practice.

FAVORITE FAST FOOD?
Hands down, In-N-Out, because they don’t use frozen fries, they put thousand island dressing on their burgers, and use real ice-cream in their shakes. Plus, the teenagers who work there hustle like nobody’s business. I also just learned today that there are subtle biblical citations on their cups and burger wrappers. Who knew? I love In-N-Out so much I referred to them a couple times in The Accidental Cougar. Sorry, but they are only in SoCal.

IN-N-OUT

photo by BrownGuacamole

WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
Twenty years ago, yes, but now I fear death and leaving my child an orphan. I used to ride on the back of motorcycles at 120 mph without a helmet on, take the NY subways at 2am, and travel Southern Italy alone. But now…? The biggest risk I take now is buying a scratch-off ticket.

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Whether they’re full of shit or not. I can spot a non-genuine person a mile away.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
A few days ago, I teared up during an episode of Futurama—a silly CARTOON, mind you! And all because it showed a loyal dog waiting outside for years for his master to come back. His master was frozen in time, so he never did come back, and eventually the dog lay down and died. Seeing how loyal animals are to humans gets me every time, but still…it was a cartoon, for God’s sake! That’s like crying over a Hallmark commercial.

NEEDS

ANY CURRENT WORRIES?
None. Hahahahahahahaha! Just kidding. I inherited worry from my Polish Nana who lived through the Depression. I worry about my son turning into a drug-addicted hoodlum, or worse, living with me until he’s thirty-five; I worry about how I’m going to pay my over-priced space rent every month and how long before I’ll need a new water heater; I worry about turkey neck, crow’s feet, bat arms, and ostrich ass. I worry that menopause will be the death of me (or someone else will die as a result), GMOs will give us all cancer, and the world will be destroyed with one asteroid just like the one that destroyed the dinosaurs. I worry that I worry too much.

NAME 3 DRINKS THAT YOU DRINK REGULARLY
Coffee, coffee, and coffee. Maybe some water every once in a while.

happy=coffee

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BOOK?
The Accidental Cougar! Hah! That’s my book, yessiree! Okay, okay, I wish I could say The Kama Sutra to sound interesting, but I’d have to say Wuthering Heights.

COVER- 30KB

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE A PIRATE?
Absolutely! But only if I had access to a shower. And a dentist. And condoms.

PIRATES

photo by Mike Johnson-TheBusyBrain

FAVORITE SMELLS?
Sautéed onions and garlic, light cologne on a man, Elmer’s glue, markers, gasoline, jasmine and honeysuckle, pages of a brand-new book

WHY DO YOU BLOG?
Blogging once a week forces me to discipline myself and focus, which I have a tough time with. When my life is falling apart around me and I can’t seem to get anything productive done, I can say, “Well at least I got a blog post done.” Feeling a sense of accomplishment, however small, is very important to me.

WHAT SONG DO YOU WANT PLAYED AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Yeesh. I want to be cremated, but I suppose if folks want to view my dead body beforehand, I’d prefer to have the blues played—Billie Holiday, Buddy Guy, B.B. King.

WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
My CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) Without CFS I’d be able to be an over-achieving, perfectionist Super-Mom with clean floors and no toilet bowl stains just like everyone else; depression (which may or may not be caused by my CFS) Without depression, I’d be, gasp, happy—although it would probably suck to be happy all the time; and my wicked, explosive, not pretty temper, which no doubt, all my exes remember, thank you very much.

FAVORITE HOBBY?
Is writing considered a hobby if I can’t retire off it yet? You know when those non-well-meaning family members call writing books “your little hobby,” and ask whether you’ve gotten it out of your system yet so you can go find a “real job that pays real money?”

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A FRIEND?
You can be a heroin-addicted, schizophrenic transvestite hooker and I’ll still be your friend. But the second you judge me with a self-righteous, condescending attitude without walking a mile in my shoes, you’re dead to me.

NAME SOMETHING YOU’VE DONE THAT YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU’D DO
Attempt natural childbirth. What a fucking mistake that was. Because hospitals give me panic attacks, I went to a birthing center. They don’t do drugs; they do tubs. Whoever said going through labor in a warm tub is the equivalent of morphine should have their toenails pulled off one-by-one. Seventeen hours of back labor later, I ended up having to be transported in an ambulance to the very hospital I didn’t want to go to in the first place. I got an epidural and all was well. So well in fact that the anesthesiologist is in my will.

FAVORITE FUN THINGS TO DO
Play foosball with my son, or watch silly cartoons with him, go shopping at Marshalls (more orgasmic than fun), and Google time-sucking topics like: “Why won’t my husband have sex with me,” or “Ways in which kids ruin your life”

ANY PET PEEVES?
Grammatical and spelling errors in speech and writing. For the love of God, if you’re going to make a comment after reading an article online, spell check the damn thing, so you don’t sound like a complete moron, please. It’s “lose a war,” not “loose.” It’s “they’re,” not “their.” Learn the difference between “effect” and “affect.” Don’t say “I didn’t want nothing from him.” It’s “anything.” Arrrrgghhh, my blood pressure goes up just thinking about it.

WHAT’S THE LAST THING THAT MADE YOU LAUGH?
I saw these words on Facebook and it was like getting hit on the head with an anvil, but in a good way:stupid decisions

Hallelujah and Amen! I believe everything happens for a reason, but then again, there are a list of things that have happened in my life where I can bang my head against the wall until I’m seventy and I still won’t know the reason why they had to happen. The words “You’re stupid and u make bad decisions” is reason enough for me.

Menopausal Mama tagged like twenty other bloggers for this, but she is way more blogtastic than me. I am tagging three other bloggers, because I want to find out more about them without seeming like a creepy stalker. I hope they’re up to the challenge:

For some scary insight into what your restaurant server is really thinking, visit:

restaurantbastards.wordpress.com

For everything you wanted to know about sex, women, dating, and then some…

narcissistsblog.wordpress.com

For musings on writing, reading, film, and chocolate…

zenscribbles.wordpress.com

I’LL TRY MY HARDEST NOT TO LET YOU DOWN 2013

Usually I don’t bother making New Year’s resolutions, because I already know where I stand on any changes I need to make. I suppose if I made my resolutions more realistic, I wouldn’t fail miserably at them. For example: Drink more coffee; Exercise less; stress more. I would definitely feel a sense of accomplishment over achieving these.

But I’m feeling a little more optimistic this year, what with my first book having been published, thus proving that 2012 wasn’t a completely craptastic year for me, so I figured, why the hell not? I could stand some improvement.

I hate to be a cliché, but yes, I need to exercise more. Let me tell you why. A month ago something happened to my back that rivaled the pain of my 18 hours of back labor—one minute I was fine, the next I was in excruciating pain for days. It gave me a premonition of what it’ll probably be like when I’m old and decrepit, and it wasn’t fun. If I had been in better shape physically, I’m convinced my back would have never made me privy to what it feels like to be shot in the spine. The truth is I sit on my ass in front of a computer all day. This does not bode well for the body, as opposed to, say, farming or being a crossing guard, so I need to do SOMETHING more than I’m already doing (which is absolutely nothing).

I’ve also been trying for months to embrace my fatness, and I’m sorry to say it just ain’t gonna happen. I can try to admire this type of body:

rubens

I can even superimpose my head on her body and then stare at it every day with the hope of achieving a kinder, gentler body image. I can curse social media and the fashion industry for setting unrealistic standards for women. I can choose to actually believe the men who claim they don’t like stick women, but in the end, this is what I find sexy and attractive:

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I’m sure it stems from my unhealthy obsession with wanting to be a model when I was young, my various eating “disorders,” and a general shitty sense of self-esteem, but I don’t like being heavier than a size 6-8. I feel gross, unsexy, and like I swallowed 2 of my 3 cats, so…

Resolution #1    Exercise more!

It’s also time to get another tattoo. I think long and hard about tattoos. I look at my body in the mirror, and all I see is skin…a blank canvas needing art. I studied art history in college. Look Dad, I’m finally using my major! People always say: Imagine how your tattoos will look when you’re old. I say: Imagine how ALL of me is gonna look when I’m old! Saggy, wrinkled skin vs. saggy wrinkled skin with tattoos…both look like crap, in my opinion, and besides, I won’t be prancing around in a bikini when I’m 70. I. Just. Won’t. At the rate I’m going, the only one who will see my pruny tattoos will be my cats…and the diva Chihuahua, who will, I’m convinced, outlive me. Replace the Yorkie with a Chihuahua, and this will be me in 10 years.

TATTOOS

photo by stevegatto2

Resolution #2    Get another tattoo!

This leads me to matters of the heart…My heart is presently like this:

BROKEN HEART

photo by CarbonNYC

I need to start working on forgiving my son-of-a-bitch ex-boyfriends for all the pain and torment they’ve caused me, so my heart can heal and become whole again, like this:

PIZZA HEART

photo by woodleywonderworks

I need to visualize this lovely romantic scenario:

WOMAN WITH SWORD

photo by delam

instead of envisioning taking that sword and plunging it into any one of my exes’ hearts. Ahem. Okay, so a lot of work needs to be done in the forgiveness department. I used to have this poster on my wall in my 20s:

MERMAID

photo by deflam

That was how I imagined love to be. Here’s the thing: I love men; I worship men; I appreciate men—I just hate my exes, who have soured me on men in general; not to mention every man I meet nowadays seems to be a prototype of one of my exes, just with different eye color. Still, I don’t want to die a bitter old woman, so it might be nice to live happily ever after with a mate, especially when I’m a senior, if only so he’ll be able to dial 911 when I fall and can’t get up.

Resolution #3    Heal bitter heart!

I’m always striving to become a better mother. Case in point: my son wants to go to church, so I force myself to go to church. It certainly can’t hurt. I’m the first to admit needing more of this in my life:

PRAYING STATUE

photo by Guillaume Paumier

God knows, I resemble this way too closely:

DEVIL WOMAN

photo by DementdPrncess

So more of an effort needs to be made on my part for my own spiritual development. I also need to remember that going to church can be a bonding experience for my son and I, as can playing card games together. So instead of feeling this way when my son asks me to play the game, War, while I’m trying to write a sultry sex scene:

EMOTION

photo by Clearly Ambiguous

my mind needs to focus on the importance of nurturing our relationship, instead:

MOTHER AND SON

photo by linek

Resolution # 4   More quality time with son!

And speaking of spirituality, I really need to strive to be more like this in terms of my writing and my career:

MEDITATION

photo by HaPe_Gera

After The Accidental Cougar was released, I experienced post-partum publication blues.

BEAUTY AND PAIN

photo by rocketjim54

Instead of feeling proud of myself for all I had accomplished, I only looked at how far I still had to go, and how much further others were ahead of me. It’s tough to look at an author you admire—an author who already has an established career, having published 9, 15, 20 or more novels—and not compare yourself to them and feel like a failure. It’s also tough not to fall into a deep spiraling depression over this and consider chucking everything to move to Tahiti to make puka shell necklaces to sell on the beach. No doubt the life of a writer is tough, with many ups and downs. But if it’s the life I choose, then I need to suck it up and deal…in the most zen-like way possible, or risk having to write my next book from within the walls of an institution.

SCREAM

photo by llya Boyandin

Resolution # 5   It’s okay not to be Nora Roberts.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

LOOK AT THE MUG ON THAT PUG!

First off, let me say congratulations to IGNEOUSIDOL for winning a copy of THE ACCIDENTAL COUGAR! I’ll contact you via email for your address.

And now for a silly post, because it’s dark and dreary today in Southern California, and my head feels like it’s filled with cotton and mothballs. Today I’m celebrating the PUG, because there’s a pug in The Accidental Cougar named Pez. For those of you who don’t know what a pug looks like, or even what a pug is (No, it’s not something to keep the water from draining out of your sink), it’s a dog with a face only a mother (or father) could love.

pugs_23[1]

Pez belongs to my heroine’s boss, Eric, or vice versa. Eric likes to dress Pez up in silly T-shirts with various sayings on them, like Talk to the paw and Shed Happens—brush it off!

Since Pez is brought to the office every day, his scrunched-up little pug face reminds everyone to keep a sense of humor.

pugs_06[1]

Why did I choose a pug to be in my novel? They’ve always fascinated and terrified me. In my neighborhood growing up, there was a tiny corner market called Dom’s, owned by an old Puerto Rican man, ironically named Dom. Dom brought his dog to the store every day. It was the ugliest/freakishly cute dog I had ever seen. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Yes, it was a pug—a pug who hated kids. This pug barked at me every time I stepped in that store, and would not stop barking at me until I left the store. Then he’d chase me down the street, eyes bulging out of its head, tongue wagging.

pugs_11[1]

What kid wouldn’t be terrified of this coming at her?

That dog stuck in my head for the next thirty years, so when I chose a dog to be in my book, I knew it had to be a pug. (It sure as hell wasn’t going to be a diva Chihuahua like the dog I’m stuck with now for the next 22 years.)

Think about coming home every evening from work and being greeted by this face:

pugs_14[1]

“How was your day? I missed you. You are God to me.”

Sure, there are other dogs more dignified, or handsome—a Lab or a Husky, for example. But to me, a pug is like having a child with a cowlick that can’t be tamed, or a lisp, or a learning disability—imperfectly perfect.

pugs_15[1]

What’s your favorite dog?

All photos courtesy of funpic.hu

4 NOT-SO-PRETTY THINGS I LEARNED LAST WEEK

photo by The Wandering Angel

1. My son has off from school the exact same week my debut novel is being released (this Friday).

Wow, is that piss-poor timing, or what? Not only am I expected to bombard anyone who’ll listen with shameless promotional banter on every social media platform that will have me, but I had high hopes of finishing my WIP as well. With only about forty more pages to go, I’m at the point where I’m sick of it and just want it to be over and done with—much like I felt in the ninth month of pregnancy.

But these ginormous tasks require focus, concentration, peace and quiet—all of which take a nosedive right out the window when kids are afoot. And while I much prefer the Wii soccer game the boys are into now, as opposed to the war games, this new one has cool songs in it which stick in my head all day—so now I get to listen to the boys cheering (or saying the occasional bad words as the case may be), the sounds of the game itself, AND music—all while unsuccessfully trying to get work done.

2. Puppies don’t solve everything.

I came up with the brilliant idea of giving my friend (the one whose daughter is dying of cancer) a puppy. I figured a puppy would take his mind off his grief by busying him with the many details of owning a puppy: cleaning up numerous accidents from the carpet, the continuous action of throwing a chew toy, applying Neosporin to affected scratches and bites from puppy-sharp teeth. He was all for it, claiming he was in the market for one anyway, and my neighbor, who has the nurturing instinct of a hamster was more than willing to let go of the puppy she had.

After half a day my poor friend called me, overwhelmed, and said, “I can’t handle the puppy right now.”

Fair enough. I understood. I’ve often said the very same thing about my son. So back went the puppy to the neglected environment from which she came, with the hope that my neighbor might turn into someone who cares.

3. A two-income household sure makes a difference in your diggs.

Lately I’ve been in some two-parent homes where even when they have four kids, three dogs, and a bunny hopping around, it’s STILL nicer than mine. My guess is it’s because they’re able to afford regular carpet cleaning, enough drawers to cram clutter into, and real leather couches where spilled liquids and food slide right off.

This one particular home had no dirty kid prints on the wall, zero toys to trip over, AND the mom even worked full-time as a nurse. I remarked that their carpet, which was the same color mine used to be when I first moved in my place, was so clean, and the mom told me she considered it filthy and that it desperately needed to be steam-cleaned right away. I made a mental note to never invite her over to my casa, and if she ever did have to come over, say, to pick up her son, to not let her inside. Now granted, she has a live-in mother, which I suppose makes all the difference in the world. All I want to know is: Where can I get one of those?

4. Never give a guy your number out of politeness if you truly don’t want him to call you.

Sigh. This one. No matter how many years of experience I have with the opposite sex, I’m still a complete dolt when it comes to them. I was having this perfectly nice conversation with a 20-year-old who lives in my complex. We were chatting about random stuff; never once did the talk turn sexual in nature. When it was time to part, he asked for my number. EVERY time this happens to me I never assume the guy is interested in me. Either that or I freeze, have no response ready—like the sensible one: “Sorry, but I don’t give my number out, and end up giving him the damn thing.

Less than 3 minutes after leaving me, the kid texts me, asking me out. I told him he was nuts, he’s 20, and I wasn’t sure that was even legal. He then sends me a photo of his erect penis. Back in my day, men used to give out their business cards; now they send you pictures of their manhood in all its glory. In all fairness, the kid was a big boy…I mean like “You belong in porn huge…or the circus. I’m guessing he wanted a reaction from me somewhere along the lines of “Ooh-aah,” but all I kept thinking was “Ow” and “Gag.” I suppose I should have been flattered? But it was simply one more tiresome thing to deal with in my already overwhelmed life.

That was my week in review. How was yours?

WHEREVER THERE’S ONE KID THERE’S ALWAYS TWO MORE

Photo by kelsey e.

I gave birth to only one son, but he has two friends who are permanent fixtures in our house, so it’s like I have three sons. One of the boys is our next-door neighbor (I’ll call him Butthead), and he seems to never want to go home. Ever. And since his mom is a bit lax in the supervision department, there are times I literally have to kick him out—like at almost ten on a school night.

Either my house has a laxative effect or this kid has a bowel problem, because he comes over directly from his house and goes into my bathroom. And stays in there for like an hour. I’m not kidding. Usually, he has a video game he’s playing at the time, but still. Since there’s ten people living in his home, a cat, a puppy, some noisy parakeets, and a parrot that curses in Spanish, my guess is he comes over to my bathroom for some peace and quiet.

My son’s other friend (I’ll call him Beavis) may have a small crush on me. He never used to talk to me; whenever I would ask him questions, he’d stare at his feet and give me one-word answers. Now he’s like Chatty Cathy having coffee with me. Sometimes Beavis comes over and hangs out with me more than my son. He’s almost twelve, so I imagine hormones are starting to kick in. I need to watch what I wear to bed now though. No more prancing around in tight tanks or flimsy tops that gap at the neckline. God knows, I have no desire to be a MILF.

These boys were in my house the entire weekend. Usually, when they spend almost 24/7 together, they start getting physical with one another, somebody gets hurt, and then they need time away. This weekend the three of them were stuck together like Velcro. They went to each other’s soccer match, they played with Legos, the Wii, and my personal favorite: pelting one another with small objects so Mom can step on them later with bare feet.

I’ve trained myself to write through all these distractions. It’s a Catch-22. If my son’s not playing with anyone, he’s in my face asking, “What can I do? I’m bored.” When he is playing with his friends, I have to force myself to work through the realistic sounds of war (Thank you “Call of Duty-Modern Warfare”) and the pet names they have for one another, like “Dick” and “Ass.”

Part of me wants them here so I know what they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with. The other part wants to be at Club Med. Even when I get a break I don’t get a break. My son went to sleep over Butthead’s house Saturday night, but he didn’t decide to do that until 9:30 p.m. My twenty-six-year old neighbor hits the clubs once her kids are asleep. Me? I walked the diva and went to bed.

7:30 the next morning I awoke to pounding on the door. I staggered over and open it, my eyes still half-closed. In march Butthead and son. I stumble back into bed. Seconds later, Butthead’s puppy gets plopped on my head. I kick them all out of my bedroom and try to go back to sleep. Beavis arrives, and soon they’re all yelling and carrying on like a bunch of drunken frat boys. Sleep ain’t happening, because son ends up bursting in, jumping on me, and demanding to be fed.

Of course I have to cook for all three of them; they get to my house so damn early, neither of them has eaten yet. Once they have energy they start jumping all over each other, which causes the diva to bark, which causes the parakeets to screech. Right about that time is when I banish them to the outdoors.

But kids are like ants; even when you think you’ve taken care of the problem, they find a way back into the house. Before I had kids, I used to dread Mondays. Now I welcome them with a margarita in one hand, bleach wipes in the other.

THE WORLD DOESN’T NEED TO KNOW HOW BORING MY LIFE IS

statue

Photo by L’Orso Sul Monociclo

This novel writing thing is really getting in the way of my social media time. I recently joined Twitter. Wow, talk about a time suck mind f*ck. I could spend days and days searching for people to follow, and then following up on recommendations of people I should follow, and this isn’t including time spent actually reading tweets. Almost every tweeter recommends an article or a post written by themselves or someone else, and before I know it, it’s midnight and I haven’t even gotten to Facebook yet.

All this social media makes my head spin, and I have to wonder if part of all the hype is simply just that—hype. Writers have it beaten into them every day: “You must make your social presence known,” or “Who’s going to buy the book you worked so hard on if no one knows about your book?” As if writers aren’t neurotic enough.

It’s hard to write a book, and now we have to promote it, too?

There’s a delicate balance to achieve between beating someone over the head with a thousand “Buy my book” tweets a day, and providing useful information which interests people—all while assuming a clever online persona that doesn’t annoy followers. It’s not all about the project anymore; it’s about you as a person, a “brand.” Which really sucks for me because my life isn’t all that exciting.

I have ONE lonely novel to promote. I have no backlist to talk up, no ms’s to drag out from under the dusty bed to self-publish. I don’t go to conferences or do book signings. I go to soccer practices, walk the diva, procrastinate over my current WIP, and complain about writer’s ass. What am I supposed to post about on Facebook and tweet on Twitter?

I don’t want to turn into the people I complain about on Facebook, for example—you know, the ones who make the want to stick a fork in your eye comments like, “Am having a bad day,” or “I love my husband,”—just to force the masses to be aware of my social presence. The majority of writers are introverts and don’t want to be bothered by all this manipulative media crap. We just want to write our books and be able to quit our day jobs. We don’t want to have to worry about how many Likes we have on Facebook or Amazon, how many Followers we have on Twitter or our blog, or Connections on LinkedIn.

Whether I like it or not, social media is here to stay. And until my life gets more interesting, I’m going to continue to bitch and moan about slowed metabolism after forty and how I feel like a complete idiot when I have to retype those two CAPTCHA words to prove I’m not a robot.

Of course, I’ll throw in a “Buy my book” every now and then, too.

Am I the only one overwhelmed by social media?

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