Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shine on, you crazy diamonds

I've had a couple of regular blog readers email me lately and sort of casually ask me if I'm OK. As in: Are you losing your freaking mind?

I'd like to think they're just concerned about me, and not making a specific diagnosis about my mental state. But one never knows, does one?

No. I'm not losing my mind. At least, no more than usual. See, I like to write the truth. The unvarnished truth -- warts, wood ticks and all. I tend to be a loaded gun with a hair trigger. Just ask any of my old newspaper editors. I like to stir things up. Free will run riot, that's me.

I figure if I'm going to go through the trouble of blogging, then why avoid the truth? We all know writer/bloggers out there in Internet-land who like to pretend they are fit as fiddles, that there's absolutely nothing out of whack in their lives or their minds. Their lives, if you believe their shiny little blogs, are going just swimmingly, thank you very much. Wife (or hubby) and kids are perfect. The car is a BMW. They aren't in the least bit quirky, but instead are very staid and normal and, well, kind of like those plastic women in The Stepford Wives. They chat about recipes and their kids and the PTO and sometimes, rarely, they mention their writing. They seem perfect.

They lie. Trust me. They do.

I mean, come on. They're writers for Christ's sake! It's been my experience that all writers are just a bit off, if you know what I mean.

Unless they're faking it. Unless they really are normal people who are just pretending to be writers. Then I suppose they really don't fall victim -- sometimes on a daily basis -- to the full-on, bat shit crazies. It's possible.

I write this blog to capture the journey. Someday, when I'm rich and famous, some interviewer will ask me if it was difficult to become a published author. And I will have the notes handy (this blog) to show him or her that no, it's not easy.

It was damned hard. And there were times when I thought I was going to quit, or go crazy. Or kick the damned cat or something. There were (are) times when I just want to chuck it all and become a Wal-mart greeter or a fry cook or a grease monkey.

But I don't. I keep on keeping on. Like we all do. The great Pink Floyd once sang: Shine on, you crazy diamonds.

I'm shining, brothers and sisters. I'm shining. Are you?

WRITING UPDATE: I spent the day polishing my query for the one-thousandth time and, once I got so sick of it I thought I was going to throw up, I sent it out to three more agents. I also pasted the first 10 pages of my manuscript onto the email. For those who are counting, that makes six agents queried. The first three were form rejections. Cross your fingers. I know I am.

Also, for those who asked about my eyelid after the vicious wood tick attack -- it's fine, albeit a little red and swollen. Since it was much larger than a deer tick, I'm not going to worry about lyme disease. Not yet, anyway. Of course, the last time I had a fever blister, I was deathly afraid I had come down with lip cancer. So I suppose it's only a matter of time before I start exhibiting symptoms. But for now, it's all good.

See you all tomorrow. Happy writing (for all you real writers out there).


  1. I'm only following you because you're unhinged. Like attracts like, right?

    I'm about to push the send button on my first query. Perhaps we can commiserate later with a stiff drink...

    Good luck with yours. Will keep you posted.

  2. Good Luck and yeah, writing can be tough but believe it or not life can be tougher. :) Hang in there!

  3. I like you Terry. I have been avoiding blogging because I feel like no one wants to hear my negative Nellie doubts. Cudos. I agree - I am a writer because I am need of expressing myself.

  4. Well, I'd like to think there's nothing false about my blog. I will admit to not going into full on political rant (OMG I wanted to SOOOOOO bad last night, but kept it sane..ish), and it felt a bit (or a lot) false, but I speak my mind and balance that with not stepping on others toes. I think. I made an attempt anyway, fuck it.

    I like your blog, always have. I love that there's someone else out there not trying to spout sunshine and shove daisies up my butt about 'it takes time, you'll get there' or 'even the greats had troubles.' Publishing is HARD to get into, nuff said.

  5. If I follow your blog, it's all good. I avoid the normal folks; they just aren't any fun. ;)

    Trust me, Christi: No one will mistake either of us for NORMAL, thank God. And I like your blog, too. Very much.

    Oh, and I'm crazy in a friendly, "I won't harm you but I'll make laugh" kind of way. At least, that's what my wife and kids say.

  6. You're the shit Terry. I can relate to every word you said. But you know that.
    I've been brain dead lately.
    Almost finished reading.
    That's all I got.

  7. Yeah, we're all a little off, but we're all the SAME off, so we appear normal around our own kind. It's the so-called "normal" people who are the freaks out there.

    The world is Rocky Road ice cream and the writers are the nuts. (It's better than being the marshmallows.)

    Fifteen degrees off center is a great place to be. It gives you just enough perspective to see the things other people miss straight on.

  8. You do know everyone reading this post is asking themselves, Does he mean me? Especially those aspiring writers who battle insecurities about their craft, the ones who shush the nagging voice that whispers: Unless (you're) faking it. Unless (you) really are [a] normal (person) who (is) just pretending to be [a] writer.

    Oh, and my husband is a mechanic for Caterpillar, does that make him a grease monkey?

  9. Yay, Terry, for sending out more queries. Way to grab the bull by the ... horns! ;o)

    Reading your blog makes me believe it's something we would have seen from an early Stephen King. He never sugar coated things either! May you get all the fame & riches he did. And if you don't want them (per an earlier post), feel free to send the leftovers my way!

  10. The last normal person I met was an incredible liar. :D I've spent time in all the artsy camps, and I never felt like I fit in until I found some writers, and then HOLY COW. It was like finding a secret hoard of crazy siblings who were just as warped as me! :D There's no such thing as a person without troubles, issues, pain and problems. And there's really only a couple coping options-be goofy about it, hide it and pretend it's not there, or throw it all out there. I prefer the be-goofy method myself. :) Hiding it, though, is the trick of the truly afraid, I think.
    Woohoo for more queries, that's awesome!

  11. I don't think anyone is really normal, especially behind closed doors. It's good you're sending out your query letters, sorry I haven't been too active here at your blog I've been out on the road living my craziness all over the place!

  12. Hey Terry, just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your blog and one of the main reasons why is, indeed, your honesty. Keep on being yourself!