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Please be warned. If you are going to read this blog, you have to understand that I'm a little bit weird. John Wayne is my internal editor. Grover the Muppet is my internal cheerleader. I know! I know! Weird.
I'm the author of Tips on Having A Gay (ex) Boyfriend (May 2007/Paperback May 2008), Love and Other Uses For Duct Tape (March 2008), Girl, Hero (July 2008), Need (January 2009), Moe Berg's Story (Spring 2009).
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This is an archived post that I am reblogging by request for a couple of people. You can totally blow it off if you saw it years ago and are seeing it again now. Also, you can just totally blow it off.
I also just realized (after I read this through) that my financial circumstances are so different from when I wrote this blog, but even with that taken into consideration, I don't think anything in the interaction would have changed if it occurred now instead of 2010.
You know how you start to feel sort of comfortable in your writer skin and then you suddenly don't.
I was feeling pretty happy about writing things. Girl, Hero is out. People aren't pouring on the hate and it's getting good reviews.
I have a new writer best friend who is a tough cookie and lives in Oklahoma.
(He may not know he's my new writer best friend, but he is. Shhh.... Don't tell him.)
But then I went to a hoity-toity party in the next town over and suddenly I did not fit in. The next town over is Blue Hill and in the summer Blue Hill is no longer a part of Maine. It is like a New York sublet.
I went to the hoity-toity party because I was taking pictures for the Hancock County Democrats because they needed good pictures and it was a WRITERS FOR CHANGE fund-raiser for Obama. Since I am a writer and I have been a newspaper photographer, it seemed to make sense that I go. Bad idea.
The first thing that went wrong: I COULDN'T FIND THE PARTY.
I drove up and down this one road for 15 minutes before I realized that when the road came to a "t" I had to go right.
The second thing that went wrong: I parked on the wrong side of the road and a guy in an Obama t-shirt told me that I had to move my car.
There was no sign like this there. And I wanted to be all, "Dude. This is a public road with no signs posted that there's no parking." But I think it was just because I was hungry and cranky, so I moved my car to the other side of the road.
The third thing that went wrong: I went to the entrance of the house where one famous writer and a helper were sort of checking people in and I was completely dissed.
The famous writer looked at me and exhaled. "Name?"
I told her my name. She didn't recognize it, but saw my camera and gear.
She said, "Oh... you... you're that photographer they sent. You write something too, don't you?"
And I said, "Young adult novels."
And she laughed.
And I smiled even though she laughed and motioned me on my way with her hand. I was dismissed. I was not thanked for taking pictures that they would use for their event. I was laughed at. And I was pretty freaking annoyed. The anger was rolling off of me as I stepped into the very cool old house.
But the thing is that as I walked through the house and as I walked through each door IT SLAMMED SHUT BEHIND ME!!!!
Every single door. There were FOUR doors. And these weren't gentle door slams THESE WERE MONSTER GHOST DOOR SLAMS.
Imagine me walking through door.
Me scuttling outside.
Seriously. I just kept walking and pretended like it was the most natural thing in the universe and that I wasn't somehow the inspiration for Stephen King's Carrie and suddenly had super psychic powers.
This is one of the many doors that slammed shut behind me.
Another famous writer person raised his eyebrows when I was introduced and turned away. A third gave the same, dismissive laugh. People clustered around them because they were literary stars, writers, and pretty damn charismatic. There was a whole lot of sucking up going on, but I live in Maine and I don't know how to suck up, and honestly? I don't want to.
So, I got over myself and took pictures.... And I didn't fit in, but I had my camera to hide behind and I was good with that. Because I am okay with not being a big-time adult literary writer, and I am okay with being laughed at and dismissed (once I am not angry) because I don't want to deal with the kind of people who laugh at entire genres of other people's writings. I don't want to deal with people who enjoy other people sucking up to them. I don't want to deal with that at all. I just want to deal with people being kind to other people, wanting to connect with them for their deeds or their hearts, not their notority.
Some of the less stellar pictures are posted below.
I wanted to hang out with this little cutie peeking over the wall.... The rest of the pictures are just to give you a sense of the party, and how I, young adult novelist, Carrie Jones, makes absolutely no money at all and have to wear holey clothes even when I'm hanging out with these well-dressed literary people.
It's almost Veterans Day and I'd like to thank my dad and Uncle Charlie and Ben, and all my current friends who have served or are serving.
I've pasted in a piece I wrote back in May or June of 2008 about soldiers from Otis, Maine. Some of you may have already read it. So no worries. It just seemed like the right day to post it again and the right day for me to remember.
There aren’t a lot of people at the Otis town meeting, but you can tell that they are a patriotic bunch. They file into the Beech Hill School, Saturday morning, sit in the folding chairs and wait for the meeting to start. There are a few flag lapel pins. There’s a gentle hum in the air, but I’m having a hard time focusing.
It’s not because I have one minute to address the residents and to tell them why I’m running for the state house of representatives.
It’s not because I’m sitting right next to Brian Langley, the other person running for the House District #38 seat. I like Brian. It’s fun to sit next to him.
It’s not because one of the women in charge announced that she doesn’t like politicians and since I’m running for the state house, I am now officially a politician not a writer or a mom or a wife. I am suddenly a politician and therefore suspect. That’s not it though.
I’m having a hard time focusing because on the front of the Otis Annual Report are the pictures of seven handsome men.
Some of them are smiling at the camera.
Some of them look serious.
But these sons of Otis have a couple things in common:
All of them look proud.
All of them are in uniform.
I stare at the pictures of Michael Manheim, Justin Smith, Steven Wiesner, William Dunn, Ike King, Joseph Cammack and Jason Fishburn. Michael and Steven are in the Navy. Justin, and Joseph are in the Army. Jason is a Marine. William is in the Air National Guard and Ike is in the US Air Force.
Just seeing their picture makes my eyes tear up a little bit. Just seeing their pictures makes me think about how they made the stories of their lives about service, about putting everything on the line for us, all of us, even the politicians.
The Otis Annual Report reads, “Let’s Honor Our Local Soldiers. On the fifth anniversary of the War in Iraq, no matter where you are serving, our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
And that’s why I’m having a hard time focusing. These seven men from Otis are more important than whatever I can possibly say in my one-minute “I’m running for office” speech.
People sometimes tell me that I’m courageous because I’m running for office. I never know how to explain to them that I’m far from courageous; that running for office is a privilege that Americans have. It’s part of what makes our country truly special. We wouldn’t have that though if it weren’t for men like Michael, Justin, Steven, William, Ike, Joseph and Jason. Without them (and the men and women before them) risking their lives, leaving their families, working 24-7 in dangerous places, I might not be able to run for office.
These men are heroes, real heroes.
And on Saturday morning I see their faces and realize how my story, and the story of Otis, would be different if it wasn’t for men like them.
I don’t know how I can ever say thank you to them for being heroes, but I know that I have to try now and keep trying, possibly for the rest of my life.
So, thank you Michael, Justin, Steven, William, Ike, Joseph, and Jason. Thank you to all the men and women whose names I do not know and those whose names I do know. Thank you.
1. You've started having all your characters drink Coke in every scene in hopes of a sponsorship.
ie: "Mmm, this Coke is yummy," Chloe said, quenching her thirst and then staring at Brad as the realization sunk in. "What do you mean, my dad is a gorilla?"
"He's a primate, I swear. I saw him drinking a Coke with Principal Johnson," Brad said, sipping his own Coke. "They were using bananas for straws."
"Liar!" Chloe threw her Coke at Brad. Precious Coke spilled over the floor. Cola, the dog, quickly lapped it up.
2. You've started signing all your picture book query letters to agents, "MADONNA" or "KATIE COURIC" or even "THE BEIBS" in the hopes that someone will read it.
Note: This is likely to be more successful if you also dress up like Madonna and send a photo of yourself in that pointy bra thing she used to wear in the 1980s. This works for both men and women.
Hint: Try not to send Audio Files of yourself singing "Material Girl." Only your mom finds that cute. Really. This is also true for both men and women.
3. You agree to put full page ads for diet pills in your tween novel about girls in cliques who like hair products and spas. Just for the heck of it, you put in hair product advertising spreads on pages 229 and 123-124.
4. You post a mantra on your computer: IT'S NOT SELLING OUT. IT'S JUST ENSURING FISCAL SUCCESS.
5. You sit at the coffee shope, sobbing, holding a placard that says, "WILL NAME CHARACTERS AFTER YOU FOR MONEY" and another one that reads, "WILL KILL OFF YOUR EX-GIRLFRIENDS IN MY BOOK IN A HORRIBLE WAY (Death by dinosaur? Hamster suffocation? Bombing by fireside? Your choice..) FOR A LATTE."