Real Mistakes, Real Laughs:

Air bases were built on captured islands of Tinian, Saipan, and Guam but they were barley within the range of the long-range bombers.

(hope the bombadiers weren't on gluten-free diets)

Didn't catch the typo? Scroll to bottom of page

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Life in the Day

When I learned, not so long ago, that a cross-genre author’s ski run to success is fraught with black-diamond moguls, I wasn’t that surprised. I’ve been breaking rules all my life. Not out of rebellion or a bid for attention, but because the damn game keeps changing. Just when I get a handle on how to play the new version, it changes again.
The bait-and-switch started in childhood. I watched my teenage sister, a decade older than I and with a social life that Annette Funicello would envy, tightly wind her hair every night on big brush-rollers and yak on the phone about her date. I urgently wished the years away until I attained the lofty title of teenager, but by that time, the game had turned. The term "going out" now translated into "liking each other as boyfriend-girlfriend,"typically defined by monogamous make-out sessions in darkened basements. Let’s use it in a sentence: Omigod, Paul and Robin are going out!
This was actually a complex dance of social messages. If a boy braved social humiliation (woo-hoo, Paul is hot for Robin!) by asking a girl to a movie or the mall, her answer determined not only their 15-minute future as a couple, but the boy’s social status. If the girl accepts the date (though no teenager in her right mind would call it that), she's publicly declaring reciprocated attraction. Turn him down, and the message is: gross, I would never kiss him. Who could have imagined that 35 years later that Robin and Paul would be having oral sex on the school bus. Goodbye, Annette Funicello; hello, Linda Lovelace.
When teenage dating didn’t turn out the way I expected, I shuddered to think about young adulthood. I graduated college with no romantic prospects, so working in some mundane job until I married, got pregnant, and retired to homemaking (a la my role models of the day) was out. Thank God for the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Happily single, sophisticated, and successful Mary Richards inspired a new fantasy: I’d fall into a glamorous job for which I have no experience, host brunch on Superbowl Sunday in my career-gal apartment, and enjoy the professional respect of my male colleagues, despite their reserved attraction to me.
My reality: "You’d better be good in bed because you make lousy coffee," and "You’re too cute to be so serious." I am not making these up. I guess I should have known better than to enter the brotherhood of commercial aviation, but Mary’s male-dominated TV newsroom never gave her any trouble. What a disappointment. Goodbye, Mary Tyler Moore Show; hello, Grey’s Anatomy.
A girl had to earn a living, so I slogged on in search of my true, albeit elusive, professional calling. Several career fields later, I fell for and married a steady, old-fashioned, professional man, helped raise two children, and made a home for a floundering family. In the midst of carpools and laundry, a writer emerged; capable if unconventional, to be sure, but isn’t that an asset in the creative arts? I channeled best-selling novelist Susan Isaacs as I inched my way up the publishing pyramid: homemakers can become successful authors. When my first book, historical novel Far Above Rubies, was published, I was on my way. I penned a second novel, Remote Control, classified as "paranormal women’s fiction" (translation: "funny beach book featuring a ghost"). I went on to write four nonfiction all'>dog-breed books (the kind you see in pet supply stores) Writer versatility obviously a promising commodity. Or so I thought.
When I heard the generalization that writing across genres means a longer, harder road toward author name recognition, my determination ("I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me") took a serious hit. But I persevere, bumping up the intensity of cross-genre book buzz with the newly-added challenge of two noms de plume (see sidebar Why 2 Author Names?). Goodbye, Susan Isaacs; hello, Isak Dineson/Karin Blixen, Stephen King/Richard Bachman, Nora Roberts/JD Robb, Karen Syed/Alexis Hart...
I have to believe that no matter how often the rules change, if you play the game long enough, you’re bound to place or show, if not win. Someday I may be a Jeopardy! clue, even if they put me in the category of Tenacious Writers You’ve Never Heard Of. I still hope they won’t have to.

No comments:


Annapolis, MD

Sturbridge, MA

Annapolis, MD
Submit a jpeg of your local oddball street name -- if it's posted, you'll win a prize!