Spent today working on a presentation for my Mesoamerican art history class. I’ve been sort of interested in the Aztecs of late. Those human sacrifices suddenly seem pretty comprehensible, I would bet a lot of the priests had jobs and status they were worried about losing and pretty much everyone else just wanted to ‘get back to normal’ so, you know, someone had to end up on the stone altar to make the Dow Jones, sorry I mean “The Sun”, rise again. But, in spite of this, I’m sort of avoiding the Aztecs. Instead, I’m doing something on an artifact of the Teuchitlán tradition out of Los Guachimontones. I mean, it might be related to the Aztecs but . . .
Well, fuck it, I’m not going to do the presentation here too.
Whenever I take a class, I tend to like to do some study on something peripherally related to the class but not included in it. (Going to school has kind of taught me how to give myself a class.) This time around, that means I’ve been reading up on medieval bestiaries. Interesting subject and I’m enjoying it. I like doing this and it helps me triangulate what I’m learning in the class but it also kinda increases the workload.
And, as if I didn’t already have enough on my plate, probably one of the strangest personal things for me with this pandemic is that I’ve actually started submitting novels again. I never really stopped writing the stupid fucking things but I’ve been grumpy about the publishing side for, well, almost a decade now. Probably longer than that. And I have sort of tried submitting since Technicolor Ultra Mall, a couple of times, but these were really half-assed attempts and I think that I sort of made my contempt for the whole process pretty apparent.
Like, I even had an agent and he thought adding another character to a book might make it more commercial, so I added a talking penis. He wanted more humans, I gave him insects communicating in pheromones. More description? Here’s a version with nothing but dialogue as picked up by security microphones. That sort of shit. He got sick of me. I honestly can’t blame him. Really, I wanted to just be left alone and, if he could sell the shit, then sell it, but keep me the fuck out of it. Just send me money and leave me alone. That’s not how it works. Sadly.
But, the thing is, I have like two novels that I think should be published. Like, I never know if shit is ever actually any good but I do get a feeling like — this is good enough to be edited and read, I think, at least, it should be published. Especially at these rates.
Like, holy fuck. Pay for writing has not gone up in the last ten years and it was shit ten years ago! For Technicolor Ultra Mall, I got five hundred bucks and a headache and that was it.
(And, if you want to buy Technicolor Ultra Mall — support Bakka instead of Amazon. They’re doing delivery now and since I probably have about as much of chance of seeing a cent as I do acquiring a royalty statement, I would at least like for someone decent should get paid. And Bakka is good people. So buy it from here if buying is what you want to do.)
I don’t know why I’m even doing this submitting thing again. It’s just fucking weird. Like, I do enjoy those rare moments when you hear from a reader and it turns out your work actually connected and resonated with them. That’s a good feeling. Your shit helps someone else get through their shit? That is a good feeling. But overall?
The best case scenario is also the worst case scenario. One or both are accepted. I go through a nightmare. The writing world has a lot that I hate in it. It has nothing that I want — it never did. Except maybe editors – you can learn a lot from a decent editor. The rest of it is just a pain in the ass. I don’t even like writers and I didn’t like being one, and I don’t like how people talk to you when you’re “a writer.” The shit is awful. Like, so many fuckers think you can do something for them and you can’t –you can hardly do anything for yourself even– and it’s kind of insulting when people think you can do something for them. It means they think someone did something for you when you just worked hard and mailed the shit in like everyone else. Even the smart kids mainly want to talk about your influences more than your content and that shit makes you feel like a frog on a dissection table, and other people just keep showing you stuff that is kind of like the horrible things you write about, as if you take some satisfaction from the world turning to shit or want your name on those shitty parts like you invented that shit or need a constant reminder that your warning FAILED. Then there’s all the people who want to talk about the business instead of the craft and the business is mainly bullshit and luck and I don’t even know anything about the fucking business. The whole thing is infested with these poisonous little cliques and everyone is in some goddamn club or wants to be in one, like inventing a subgenre is the best use of someone’s time. “How do we become the new cyberpunks”? Like, that’s a goal. Like, fuck off.
I would so rather play a game of catch, or talk about birds, or baseball, or something, anything, than have to discuss fucking writing or, Satan help me, “the writing life” – whatever the fuck that is. Maybe you can end up on a fucking stage somewhere talking to people who could afford the time and tickets to see someone like you up on a fucking stage. I don’t want a stage. I’m happiest moving boxes. And this shit is the best case scenario. This being part of my daily life would be success. That whole writer shit? Jesus, what sort of asshole wants that? I don’t get it.
If the novels are rejected, that’s just status quo, but a little shittier. It does somehow piss me when a piece I think is decent enough to format and submit is rejected. On the one hand, it makes me feel like I’m just not good enough. And that’s not a nice thought. It feels really pretty terrible to receive confirmation that I’m not even good enough at this thing I’ve actually tried to be good at to get paid even a couple hundred bucks to do it. Trying to avoid that thought and what it means about how I’ve spent my life can cause my mood to swing into a sort of ‘you fucking cowards’ type thing. This also feels like shit.
So there’s really no good option here. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, why I’m doing it, or what the fuck has gone wrong in my head to make me try. Like, why Oakley? WHY?!
Part of me does wonder if the whole convention racket going off the rails helps. Like, there is no expectation to have to deal with that shit right now. That might have made me at least able to consider trying to do this again? Might have made it at least possible?
I don’t know. What the fuck is the matter with me? Why am I doing this? I don’t know. I don’t even know why I’m blogging. Like, I kinda thought it might help some people and now?
What am I even doing?
I did buy some tomatoes and some ice-cream today. Thinking of making spaghetti.