Friday, June 21, 2013

I wrote a book.



I have written the ending to my book. Or, rather, I have written it again. I have now revised each chapter 20-40 times, until the language, sentiment and plot of as interesting to me as watching Koyaanisqatsi without the aid of any hallucinogenic drugs. It is too long. Far too long. And I wonder what parts of my life I will ultimately deem "unnecessary to the plot." This is the story of my life so far—a memoir—because certainly what the world needs most is more memoirs, you will agree. I can do nothing but give the world what it needs. I am called to serve.

I have passed through the predictable stages of writer's schizophrenia which have first caused me to suffer from the belief that what I have here is a work of shocking genius ready to be set on the shelf next to my favorites: Lamott, Sedaris, and Melton; to take its place in the canon of literature which, in a bold, new way, illumines the human soul. "A victory," the review will say. Next, I have realized that what I have here is the carcass of a toad: stinking, in a state of ego-fueled, narcissistic decomposition, an embarrassment to everyone around. Then, I have thought: "Meh."

But—here's the thing: I have finished something. Until my eldest child reaches the age at which he can be, at least legally, said to be adult enough to leave my home, I have otherwise finished nothing of length or import. I have dropped out, left early and quit everything without fulfilling on what some especially kind people have called "my potential." Now, you see, I have finished a book. Out of respect for those of you with more sensitive natures than mine, I will be polite and refrain from calling it what I truthfully meant to call it, which was a mo$#erf&&king book.

I finished a book!

Sort of.

It is, as I have said, too long. And I want to run it by what they call BETA readers, which are the people who will read my manuscript and tell me exactly and specifically in which way they think it sucks. I did this once and was promised a copy of the book when published. As a volunteer gig, it was kind of fun; like eating pizza and saying "Push!" at someone else's birth.

After the BETA reading bit, I have to try and convince someone at a publishing house, who has sold his soul to Satan in exchange for a red pen, that this is something someone would want to buy. I am not, to say the least, looking forward to this. My relationship to promoting myself is similar to Ted Kaczynski's. I like to deliver my words in plain-looking packages and separate letters explaining what I am about. I hope these will have an impact on the world, but I like to maintain my privacy. The thought of a book proposal makes me physically ill.

Besides, I'm not sure anyone would want to buy it. Why would they, when they could spend their money on thneeds?

Privacy is a concern. It is all good and well when you are sitting at home writing your innermost thoughts onto Microsoft Word, but it is not so well when you imagine several thousand someones reading them. And the criticism! "The author cannot seem to make up her mind about who she is," I imagine that they'll say. "Profoundly full of herself." "Pretending to be wise." I can only imagine that I will have to plead guilty as charged.

Of course, more likely, I will simply receive a form letter: "Game Over. Thank You For Playing."

At any rate, like all achievements, the book was more fun when it wasn't done than it is now.

That said, I am doing this anyway. Because—

I wrote a mo$#erf&&king book.


24 comments:

  1. You go!!!!!! Follow your dreams!

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    1. I will, even into the face of extreme paralyzing fear. But you people have to promise to take care of me if I do.

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  2. And why the eff did you have a video of a rocket crashing and burning, hmmm?

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    1. It's the finale of the movie, Kotaanasqatsi, which constitutes 45 minutes of my life I am still hoping to get back.

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  3. That's amazing Tara - congratulations!!!

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    1. Thanks. I am still wondering who it was that achieved this amazing feat.

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  4. Yay! Actually finishing a book really does feel good! I know because I have a tendency to write and write and never get to the end. When I finished The Termite Queen, I was thrilled! It was too long, but it actually had a beginning, middle, and end - it was complete! Btw, would you mind sharing the word length of your book? If it's under 120,000, I would say it wasn't too long. Anything longer than that gets to be too bulky for a single paperback - that's why Termite Queen turned into a 2v. novel.
    If you go the traditional route, be prepared to get tons of rejection slips, each one preceded by an interminable wait. When a person is young, they can put up with that, but at my age I concluded self-publishing was the only way to go. It's been about a year and a half and I'm still not selling well, although I am beginning to garner some recognition and respect. So hang in there, Tara! I think you are a talented writer!

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    1. It's hanging at about 87,000, which I understood was too long for a memoir. I was shooting for 50,000 to 75,000, but every time I revised it got longer and longer.

      I am sure I'll get plenty of rejection slips. The horrifying thing about self-publishing is the idea that I would have to sell the thing myself. I am so bad at that that I have let my blog languish and my readership dwindle significantly while I wrote the book. Self-promotion is clearly not my thing. If I decide I can never sell it, perhaps I'll print a few copies for friends and family and my blog followers to read and leave it at that.

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    2. Personally, I don't think 87,000 is too long, as long as it's an absorbing read.
      With self-publishing, you can do just as much publicizing as you want, depending on your goals. You can always publish it on CreateSpace (it's Print on Demand), print those copies for your friends and family, and then just let it sit there on Amazon and see what happens. You don't have to go the entire ebook route.

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  5. I for one would love to read it! I happen to love memoirs and have toyed with the idea of writing mine as well.
    Beta readers you say? Hmmm.....I'm in.....My sense of the little writing I have seen both here and in the class we just finished is that you have an acute

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  6. I for one would love to read it Tara! I happen to love memoirs. And, I'm in for being a "Beta reader".
    You have a beautiful self awarenes and keen/self deprecating sense of humor and thats a heck of a lot of words!!!!
    xo
    Mary

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    1. I will get back to you about that beta reader position, Mary, when I finish helplessly watching my dad try to format the text of the manuscript. :) I think you'd be exactly perfect for the job.

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  7. Congratulations!! I hope to one day say the same thing!

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    1. I look forward to hearing that from you!

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  8. Congratulations! I hope to one day say the same thing.

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  9. Amazing and impressive! I read voraciously - always have - and yet cannot - CANNOT - conceive of actually writing a novel. How you novelists do it is beyond me. How you make the characters come alive, keep different threads unfolding - it is all a mystery to me.
    I certainly get that sense of accomplishment from finishing something (anything) too. Clearly my best examples of that include finishing up segments of education. I like to think that both of my children are now "finished" - as in complete and responsible adults who are their own people. I remember even when they were in college or shortly afterwards still feeling as if they were 90% there but not quite. Finally, now I am finished with raising them. Not finished being their parent but finished raising them. Big difference.

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    1. Well, to be fair, I cannot imagine writing a novel either. What I have written is creative nonfiction, which is something I do much much better with.

      "Finally, now I am finished with raising them. Not finished being their parent but finished raising them."
      This is very interesting to me. I can only imagine what it will feel like.

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  10. CONGRATULATIONS! :D That is quite inspiring. :D I'd love to read it. Whoot. I'm pumped for you. :)

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  11. You. Wrote. A mo$#erf&&king book!!! And I can't wait to read it. Well done, my friend! :)

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    1. Your continual encouragement means way more to me than you could ever know, Margi.

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  12. I want to Beta Read for you!!! I have done this in the past for other friends (2 are now published, of course this is NONE of my doing, but still!)and loved the experience!!PLEASE consider me to Beta read for you!! :)

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    1. I will get back to you about that, Tamara. I am feeling freaked-out by the real-ness of all of this. I guess I need to go print some copies off and figure out what to ask my readers to look for. And I will be in touch.

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  13. Whee! Congratulations! I'll be buying your book when it's published. It will get published. I've read your blog for a while now and I'm already a fan of your writing. Your words make your stories come to life in my mind in wonderful pictures.

    I would be happy to Beta read for you. I've beta read a few times - I just love reading stories that much - and two of the stories I've beta-read have turned into published books.

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Faith in Ambiguity by Tara Adams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License