So what happened was, I wrote a book. And I self-published it, because I didn't want to go through potentially years of rejection. Hello, Fear. I hired smart friends to give me feedback, to copyedit, to give me beautiful photos and a cover design. A Tiny Warrior screaming from some deep ravine inside me, my spleen, maybe? My spleen ravine. Give it a chance! the Little Warrior cried.
But then I didn't tell anyone about the book. Even after I put it on Amazon. All the while I'm thinking, Who in their right mind will ever give a fuck? Like seriously what is the point. No one has to know except for Amazon. Amazon, God. Same diff.
Months later, and unwillingly, I wrote an email to friends and colleagues, announcing that I had written and published said book. I even made this here website about it. There was Fear who told me to do none of it, yes. When I hear Fear in my head, okay-- I'm not actually hearing it. It's like it's already spoken. Years, decades ago it spoke-- no, it bellowed like a Wolf God wearing clothes from Kanye's fashion line, and it stomped out of my life knowing its echo was all it needed to silence me. Shut me up like a good girl. So Fear just echoes. It just keeps on echoing. I don't know what it sounds like. I almost don't hear it. I don't even hear it. It just pads my brain. It moves me. More accurately, it paralyzes me. Paralyzed by fear is like Couch + Netflix.
You might think it was Tiny Warrior who told me to write that email announcing the book, but it wasn't. There's some else who told me, Fuck it, Lara, just tell your friends and family that you put the book out there. Don't. Be. A. Weirdo. who. puts. her. book. on. Amazon. and. tells. no. one. that. is. weird.
Don't Be A Weirdo is kind of like Fear 's slightly nicer but super sarcastic cousin. Or sister. Whatever. They have things in common. They definitely both believe that I suck. I mean, it's just true.
DBAW wants to talk to my friends who read the book and tell me they liked it. Lara disappears and DBAW shows up and gets so self-conscious that she is everything she doesn't want to be. She is A Weirdo. "Oh God," she responds to compliments. "I hope you at least found it a little enjoyable and didn't feel like you wasted the maybe 120 minutes you have spent with it." She would say something like that.
Also, DBAW knows everyone who is nice is lying. Maybe they are. Sometimes nice people Don't Want to be Weirdos.
The truth is. What is the truth. The truth is, I know the book isn't that great. It has problems like any book, I suppose, but all other books are better than mine. While writing it I listened to too many people. I changed it too much. I read too many books about writing. I veered away and back and away again. I chopped it up and put it together again. It's fucking bad-ass for still being in one piece. I'll give it that. What can I say, I learned something writing it.
The truth is that I've been writing for so long, for my whole life, practically. Because I love writing. I'm almost 41 years old, and I don't have publishing credits. I'm disappointed in myself. Disappointed Lara Who Thought She Was Hot Shit in College and Didn't Have to Actually Feel Pain / Fear / Rejection / An Exertion of Effort.
The truth is, I'm scared. Of what? Sucking. Being judged. Failing. Never getting published. Getting published. Being accountable. There is nothing all that interesting about it. I'm sitting here at the Logan Square Library surrounded by books written by actual humans. Anne Rice, Philip K. Dick, Ken Follett-- I'm looking at you. Are you scared, too? Were you?
The truth is. No one does give a fuck. So why not, la la la ?! I love writing. I love living in my weird, sometimes incomprehensible, pointless, unclear, underdeveloped mediocre-ass-stories. Well, sometimes they're better than mediocre. Regardless, I love what comes up. What shows up like messages from a Ouija board inside me. (Stupid simile, right?) Sometimes I get a good sentence or two. Sometimes, when I read old stuff I forgot about, I ask, Who wrote that? I like that.
I just listened to Bill Hader on a podcast. The whole time he was on SNL, he was wracked by anxiety. He had a panic attack during a skit. Jeff Bridges was the host, and he told him something along the lines of Hey, that's your buddy! You gotta put your arms around your buddy! Isn't that cute?
THE BUDDY THING IS SO CUTE AND ALL BUT SO MANY PEOPLE ARE BETTER THAN ME AND THEY ARE YOUNGER THAN ME AND I'M NOT THAT SMART AND I'M TOO TIRED TO WRITE AT NIGHT AND EVERYONE'S GONNA KNOW THAT I AM OH MY GOD ACTUALLY NOT THAT GOOD AND PEOPLE WHO ARE GOOD SHOULD BE THE ONES AND WHAT THE HELL ALL OF A SUDDEN I'M FORTY
Oh wait, there's cute Tiny Warrior!
Write a blog about it, Tiny Warrior says. Echo the echo and you'll hear your own voice. I am the one who is reading, the one who cares. Sometimes, that's how it is.
But you know what it's like? It's like not knowing. Not knowing that anything is worth it. Except that I love writing. Except that I love.
And here's the other thing. I'm going to put myself out there more. I'm gonna put out. The slutty girls always had more fun, didn't they?