Writers, as far as I can tell, are people with too many stories stuffed in their heads. In order to stay sane, we have to get the stories out. It’s a good system; it ensures that only fictional people get murdered and that more every day girls get to marry princes. Writers are also, by and large, readers. So you’d think that we’d have an understanding of our own readers. But most of us are somewhat mystified as to why we have readers. The idea that someone would actually want to read any of my books is still surprising. I just make up stories and then… people actually read them. That’s crazy!
Don’t get me wrong; I think my stories are awesome. I think everyone should read them. But “everyone” is a rather abstract concept, with safety built into it’s very generality. On the other hand, a singular reader is frighteningly specific and frighteningly judgmental. Think of your day, and your telling this really funny story to your co-worker about your college roommate who once got so drunk that she projectile vomited into someone’s hair. Now picture your grandmother standing there listening. It kind of puts a crimp on you miming how your roommate popped out of her tube top, doesn’t it? That’s the power that a singular reader has to stymie a writer. The harsh judgment of a reader can make the creative wellspring dry up in a flash. Which is why every time a reader seeks me out to tell me that they enjoyed my book, I sincerely appreciate it. Each compliment is a bolster against the times when someone tells you they found a typo in your book or they don’t understand why you didn’t just make the main character a man. Thoughtful, lovely readers make all the difference to a writer. I may not always know they’ve given their time and money to reading one of my stories, but I will always try to give my readers a story worthy of their expenditure.
I was talking to a librarian the other day and she laughed when I said I thought librarians were like drug dealers. But they really are! They even target the little kids! Get them hooked on the picture books, next thing you know the kids are applying for library cards and mainlining Harry Potter, Divergent and TheTesting. Give it a few years and YA just won’t give the same buzz and the kids have to move on to bigger and bigger fiction. And that’s when the librarians start pushing the hardcore stuff – Faulkner, Atwood, Joyce. If you’re not careful your kid could end up reading the entire Lord of the Rings even though there’s a perfectly good director’s extended cut blue ray back home.
And just like pushers, librarians are extremely open-minded. They don’t care where you’ve come from. Rich, poor, or in between – all library cards are the same to them. (Unless it’s an out of state card, in which case you will have to pay the buck and get a local card.) They don’t even judge when all you want to read is Romance novels; they just point you toward the romance section and recommend new authors who also write in the kilt and dragon milieu. It’s a slippery slope, my friends. You go into the library for the videos and the free internet access and the next thing you know you’re reading and using words like “milieu.”
So, if that kind of blatant pushing of mind-expanding education is acceptable to you, then you should probably hug the next librarian you see. Just remember that the VIG on those late library books is due next week…
The Navy SEALs must pass through something called Hell Week in order to become an actual SEAL. If they can’t take Hell Week they can always ring the bell that signals that they are opting out and then they get coffee and donuts. For five and a half days the SEAL candidates are expected to operate on four hours of sleep while being cold, wet, and presumably yelled at (since no one seems to do anything in the military without being yelled at). To this I say… What pansies.
OK, the cold and wet does sound miserable. But try operating for three months on four hours of sleep while being constantly yelled at and then having someone puke in your pants. And in your hair. And on just about everything else. Then we’ll talk. OK, OK, so you can snap a man’s neck with your bare hands. I can shoot milk out my boob. What else you got?
All kidding aside, one of the unfortunate side effects of becoming a mother (or probably a Navy SEAL) is that sleep is immediately curtailed. Which makes lots of things, for instance, writing novels and running a business, more difficult.
Side effects of prolonged sleep deprivation include:
- Weight Gain
- Loss of Sex Drive
- Impaired Alertness, Concentration, and Problem Solving
- Aging Skin
- Memory Loss
- Greater chances of death due to accidents
- Greater chances of other health problems
It’s not that being a mom is so difficult; it’s that being anything else, while being a mom just increased in difficulty due to our adorable little time sucking children and the constant sleep deprivation. Which makes every word I type a minor triumph. I will not be ringing the bell today.
PS Please forgive any typos I may make. I blame them on my daughter.