Amazing how life sometimes unexpectedly turns on its head and throws you in for a loop. Just because. Because it can, the stinking canaille. The thing is, one little question on Twitter threw me into a big vat of gore, mainly the current (and not so current, because I suspect this has been going on for ages) talk about literature. To be more specific. Genres in literature. To be even more specific, what the fuck people read and why the fuck do they read it, because how dare they read something that is clearly not literature. How do we love to be outraged. Hey, it's easier to be angry and rip off your shirt and bang on your chest, than stop and think and try to understand. How dare people read YA, how dare they somehow extract value from books that are aimed at teenagers. I mean, how dare adults read YA (Young Adult books, if I dare to assume you didn't know this already). Oh, well, let's go a little further. How dare people read FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. It's not literature! It's...it's... <insert a smart-ass comment fueled by indignation at the quality of writing in said book> How come THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is so popular? And what is wrong with all those TWILIGHT people? Ewwww. Yeah. And more. And more. And more.
I don't read publishing industry news, period.
For this. Very. Reason.
The glorious culture of shame. How curious, isn't it? All these people, giving fucks, no, more, giving away the time of their lives...imagine, they spend time writing those articles, being pissed at people's book choices. What a way to live. I'm sure they are all very happy people. I didn't fathom that my reading choices would be so important to someone I don't even know. Gee, I feel honored. I got carried away here, however, pardon me.
The question I got asked on Twitter was, what are 3 books that changed my life?
And I said, THINNER, TWILIGHT, FIGHT CLUB. Here is why:
- THINNER. I discovered Stephen King in Russia in my teens (I was 16) and started reading like crazy, wanting more and more, reading other books too, and reading most of Stephen King, of course. It opened up the world of other books for me, not just the ones I had to read for school.
- TWILIGHT. Yes, I read all the books, yes, I cried, yes, I dreamed of vampires, and I actually thought, hey, she can write a book, I can write a book, and I started writing SIREN SUICIDES (more about it here:http://bit.ly/1hN25eN).
- FIGHT CLUB. I read it and cried over how fucking beautiful it was. Because it was not just beautiful, it was fucking beautiful. It told me that it's okay to write like me and not like someone else. It sort of gave me permission to become a writer.
And after I said this, some people were like, EWWW!!! TWILIGHT! How could you. How could I? Well, you know what? I was in a very very bad place when I read it. My daughter suggested it. And I read it, and I loved it, it was the romance I needed in my life back then because I was thinking about divorce, and this book pushed me in the direction of wanting be on my own, to find crazy love, and to tell my story. My life story. My pain. I thought, if Stephenie can do it, I can do it.
It made me want to write.
What more can you ask of a book? And who the fuck cares what others think about my reading choices? What is this, a contest? It's my life, why does someone feel compelled to tell me what to do with it? More, how to do my art?
Do people tell painters what to paint or what paintings to look at??
Let's think about this for a second. Let's imagine this scenario. How about a crowd of critics yelling at Salvador Dali that he's got animals and weird liquid clocks in his paintings and that means that he's immature, how about he needs to paint in some people once in a while. Like, complete people, not floating heads (what insult!) Hey, don't you care about humanity, Salvador? And how about you paint in black people, for diversity's sake? Why are they white? Women, too, because, don't be sexist. And you, Frida Kahlo, are you obsessed with selfies or something? How come you paint yourself only? What scandal. And your figures are not anatomically correct, I mean, who twists their heads like that?
I am, unfortunately, out of the art scene at the moment, so please forgive me for not knowing many contemporary painters who are alive, not dead, to give you examples here. But I can do the same with musicians (how about you add that African tune here, because don't you care about Africa?) and sculptors and any artists.
Writers are artists.
Writing is art.
Books are art.
Yes, it takes 8-10 hours (or more, depending on the length of the book) to read a book, as opposed to glancing at a painting for 8 seconds. But there are people who stand for 8 hours in front of a painting. I hope there are. Yes, it takes months, years, to write a book. But so it does with other art, be it music or photography or dance or...I can keep going. I am new on the scene of publishing, so I will have to research it more, to learn more facts, to understand more about where this culture of shame in the media is coming from, but what I see from my 2 years of writing full time is that the old machine is falling apart, it's dying. The sparkly shiny internets have knocked down the walls. Now we don't need the middle man.
WE ARE THE MEDIA.
We can give our writing directly to our readers, and our readers can tell us directly what they thought of it. Our readers determine our fate, not media.
I am one of those crazy people. I have given myself away into the hands of my readers.
I am giving my books away for free. I ran out of my savings last month, but thankfully I got a consulting gig and now I have enough money until the end of September. I will do a Kickstarter. I make only $100-200 so far every month on my book sales, not enough to live on. I will fall into my readers' hands when I'm out of money, asking them to support me. Yes, maybe then I will fall to the ground and break, because people won't support me, and then this culture of shame will have its laugh at me. It will tell me, see, we know better what books are good. We will tell you what to read, what to write. How dare you not listen to us. How dare you write books out of genre. How dare you...but you know what? I don't think this will happen. I think my readers will support me.
And so I'm asking you.
IGNORE THE BULLIES.
Don't waste your time on being outraged or reading what media is outraged about.
Read what you want.
Write what you want.
BECOME THE MEDIA.
Talk about your choices openly, everywhere. Make your art, the way you want to make your art. Let's flood the world with art, let's connect with each other, without the middle man. It has more value to me to go to your house, to read my book to you and your friends, and to talk, and to hug, then to be promoted in media as some star and be invited to some huge event and ogled at by people who would think of me as some untouchable entity. I write because I want to connect. I read because I want to connect. I want to hug you. I want to kiss you.
Much love, as always. XOXO