Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pretending to be Famous

I think the January hibernation impulse is starting to kick in. I barely dragged myself out of bed, and I could easily go right back and take a nap now. I'm in trouble for Friday and Saturday (particularly Friday, when I'll have to face rush hour) when I have to be across town and in a workshop session at about the same time that I usually get out of bed. This will all be a good reminder of why I need to keep the writing thing working for me because I never again want to go back to doing the get up, drive across town, spend a day on someone else's schedule, then drive back across town thing on a daily basis. At least this one will be fun and involve lots of singing.

I'm not going to talk about a specific book with identifying details this week because I can't really recommend the book I read last week. It did bring up something interesting that made me think, though. It was a case of either the title/description being misleading or me misinterpreting the description so I thought it was something else, but it turned out to fit the "New Adult" formula -- damaged female college student/grad student with a bookish/literary bent gets all her material needs suddenly taken care of and meets a wealthy, powerful, older (but still young) guy. I guess that makes sense as a fantasy. When you're in school, I'd imagine that the heavens opening up and showering you with grants, a cute apartment you'd never be able to afford, a computer and a bonus hot guy who can afford to take you to all the fanciest restaurants in town sounds like a wonderful thing. Maybe I just have jealousy issues, but the fact that I had a more normal college existence of living in the dorm and feeling like Olive Garden was a fancy dining-out splurge makes me resent the fictional characters rather than living vicariously through them.

In this book, the way we managed to have a wealthy man who was still young enough to be hot to a grad student was that he was a successful novelist, and that really was a through the rabbit hole/looking glass experience for me to read. Granted, I'm not as mega-successful as he was supposed to be, since his books were being made into movies. That automatically ups the income and the name recognition. But it was funny to read about someone with my job being a kind of fantasy figure. To me, it's just normal life, and I'm just me, the same person I've always been. I suppose to some people I might count as a celebrity, which always feels weird. I have had a few minor freakouts from people who learned who I was after talking to me for a while. I guess you don't expect the person sitting next to you at a city-wide choir rehearsal to be an author whose books you've read. And I have had a few people who were visibly shaking when they approached me at booksignings (it's funny, I do that when I meet favorite authors, but I don't expect people to do it for me).

However, I can't get an impossible restaurant reservation on the strength of my name. I'm actually a little creeped out by people who develop crushes on me because of my books and think that means they really know me. I would be extremely cautious about getting into a relationship with someone who started as a fan (I do have fans who have become friends, but that was more from hanging out together at conventions. I'm probably not going to start dating someone I meet because he shows up at my booksigning). On the other hand, I don't think it's a wild and crazy, subversive prank to sign the copies of my books that are on the shelf in a bookstore (when I read that scene, I immediately flipped to the author bio to verify my assumption that this was the author's first book. Yep. Once you've had one published, you know that this isn't that wild and crazy but rather something you're expected to do).

I suppose much of the world has a view of writing as a rather glamorous career, and it does have its moments. I do get to meet interesting people and be in the public eye at times. I spend way more time wearing sweatpants and refusing to leave the house. I sometimes say that I have two modes in my career. When I'm being an "author," I dress up, put on makeup and go pretend to be famous. When I'm being a "writer," I'm a slob at home churning out the words. The writer part is about 90 percent or more, depending on my publication and event schedule. You have to do the hard part before you get to do the glamorous part.

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