When I stop to think about it, I realize how odd blog-writing is....
These last several months of posting haven't been that strange for me. I've had years of practice writing a weekly humor column in the local paper. For nearly a decade I've told stories, given bad advice, and generally tried to make people laugh.
This blog is kind of like those columns.
Also, when I was growing up, I always loved it when the books had author's notes in the back. Not just a little one-paragraph blurb. But a real message from the author to the reader. I thought that was the coolest thing, getting a little glimpse into their lives.
I like to think that this blog is kind of like those notes, too.
The blog is other things too: It's a way for me to spread book-related news to those of you who give a care. It's an easy, if rather unscientific, way to gather information. It also allows me to give some writing advice to people who are interested, though I'll admit, I haven't had much time for an "ask the author" blog lately. I should do one of those soon.
But recently, I've been wondering about the blog. What troubles me is this:
Though I am a liar by profession, I like to think of myself as a fundamentally honest person. Painfully honest, some people have said. But recently I've come to realize that the picture I've painted here is a somewhat dishonest portrayal of myself and my life.
It started months ago when I had a bad day and I thought about writing about it in the blog. Then I thought to myself, "Pat, people don't come to your blog to listen to you bitch and moan about your sad life."
"But I tell them about other stuff," I protested. "Why shouldn't I mention this?"
"Because they come here for news or for laughs, not so you can get all weepy on them."
I realized I had a pretty good point, so I decided to keep quiet. Once I made that decision, it was fairly easy to abide by it. And lord knows there's certainly been enough cool news lately
so that I haven't been scraping for stuff to post.
But over the last several weeks I've come to realize the other side of this. Sure I'm keeping it light and entertaining. But by only posting when I have cool news or a joke to make, it looks like my life is some sort of happily-ever-after, candy mountain place constructed entirely of rainbows and orgasmic bliss.
But this just isn't the case. Things are not all sunshine and roses in Patland. I have bad days too.
Don't get me wrong, life is pretty good. Hell, after all these years, my book is in print and people like it. That's the top of the mountain, things don't get any better than that.
But shit still happens. Today I bounced a check for the first time in ten years. Cost me fifty bucks and make me feel like an idiot incapable of performing simple math. Instead of leaving my credit union with money in my pocket, I left knowing my account balance was -2.56 even after depositing the whole check I'd gone in to cash. I didn't even have enough to bring my balance up to zero.
Later on, I went to the coffee place and after I've ordered, I see the sign that says they don't take credit cards. And of course I don't have any money. So I have to explain that I can't actually pay....
Then I come home and I see that on Amazon someone posted a one-star review of NOTW. That means my average dropped just enough for me to lose my perfect 5-star status, which I was unreasonably proud of. Then I feel like a dink for even caring about something like that. But I go on being irritated even though I know it's silly, and that makes me even more
That's the reality of things. I have money troubles. I make bad choices. I get pissed off for no good reason. It's stupid how a few relatively small things can just wear you down.
It used to be that when I had a day like this I'd call my mom. I'd tell her about the one-star review and she'd be pissed. She'd go online and read it and just seethe about how the person was a total ass, and probably a half wit too. She'd be furious on my behalf, and I'd explain that it wasn't really that big a deal (which it isn't) and it would be off my chest and over with. It was enough to know that she was looking out for me, even if only to protect me from one-star reviewers.
You see, that's the main thing that I've avoided talking about on here for months now. Months and Months. Normally if something big happens to me, I tell stories about it. It's how I'm built. But I've been keeping that particular piece of story under wraps for a while now. Not only has it made me feel dishonest, but it really goes against my nature.
The thing is, my mom died a little while back, just a few weeks before the book came out.
She was great. I wish you all could have met her, and I'm sure most of you would have if she were still around. She'd be on here reading your posts, calling me on my bullshit, and telling stories. She would have gotten such a kick out of all the attention the book has been getting lately. The movie talk. All the foreign deals....
The Quill award. Oh man, she would have been unstoppable with a piece of news like that. She'd be telling strangers on the street. Moms don't have to be modest so she would have been bragging all over the place. I'd be a embarrassed about it, of course, but knowing that she was being excited on my behalf would mean that I'd feel better about just being calm and happy about the news. Sometimes it's not that much fun being excited about your own stuff.
She didn't miss all of it. She got to have some fun with NOTW. She read the galley and saw the printed versions before she went. She was around for some of the initial cool news: the first few foreign sales, some of the movie talk. She was so proud of it even then, before it even hit the shelves, even before it ever had an agent or a publisher. She referred to it as her "grandbook."
I tell you though. I'd set these books on fire if I could have her back healthy and happy for one good week. Fuck. Some days I'd trade it for a good fifteen minutes.
What's my point? Hell. I have no idea. If I had a point when I started writing this, I've long since forgotten it. I certainly didn't sit down tonight with the intention of writing about my mom....
I think I mostly just wanted to let the cat out of the bag. I generally live my life with policy of full disclosure, and it was feeling increasingly weird keeping mentions of such a big part of my life out of these blog posts. I prefer to keep my lies and editing for my books. My life I just like to live and share.
Tell you what though. Let's not have a big sympathy fest in the comments section. I'm not looking for a pity party. Aside from the occasional bad day where I can't seem to do anything but miss her, I'm doing pretty good. I'm doing pretty good right now, actually. I feel better than when I started writing this. Which might be the moral of the story.
You be happy too, okay? As for me, I'm going to go eat a cookie and go to bed.
Maybe two cookies.
Labels: emo bullshit, life, mom