Monday, September 26, 2011

I'm a Mom, I'm an Author, and I'm Pissed

I've been writing this post in my head every night for a while now. It started out as very bitter, turned angry as hell, and now it's a combination of the two, with an added dash of relief and perspective.

So why did I stop blogging? For all two of you who noticed or asked? The first answer was that I was pregnant. Pregnant and nauseous and tired and trying to be a good mom to my daughter while I could barely keep my food in my stomach. That's the long-term answer.

But there's more. I also stopped blogging because I wasn't enjoying what I was finding on the interweb. Particularly having to do with YA literature, and most specifically my YA literature. As an author, I once found it fun to do a google search of my name and read reviews. However, there has been a rash of, how shall I say it, dumb as fuck, poorly written, useless reviews that I am forced to look at if I also want to happen across the good ones. I will not give you specific examples of actual reviews or reviewers because I have no interest in revisiting crap or wasting what little time I have on their negative bullshit, but I will rehash a few of the choice suggestions of these reviews. The first is the delightful notion that some reviewers have that they could write my books better than I could. I would have written the ending this way... Oh yeah? Fuck you. You would not. Because YOU ARE NOT ME. I write in my voice, my style, with my chosen words. You would never have written the book I wrote, so how do you suppose you have any right to write the ending the way you want to write it? Secondly, I love the all-encompassing I liked the book until [blah blah blah], but then you included a TERRIBLE MESSAGE FOR TEENAGERS so now your book sucks. Oh, because it's my job to write advice books for every single teenager who reads my novels? Because teenagers are so stupid that they can't possibly recognize characters, as, oh, I don't know, human beings with flaws? Also, as an author, it is riveting to sit around for months at a time writing books containing the smartest people in the world doing all the perfect things that real people do. I apologize that I screwed that bit up. Lastly, to reviewers who haphazardly write unhelpful (to writers and readers)shit about books, anyone's books, I have this to say: Go write your own fucking book. I'll wait. Don't worry. I'm sure all of your reviews will be glowing. It's a shame that I have no desire to read reviews of my books anymore because there are many thoughtful, well-written reviews, even ones with (constructive) criticism, by smart, creative, intelligent reviewers. Maybe I won't care so much at some point in the future, but unfortunately, all of my previous caring has made me stop caring at all.

Now for the final reason I haven't blogged: my pregnancy, at around nine weeks, ended. Well, it didn't quite end, but the baby stopped living. In fact, I just got back from my D&C at the hospital, and boy is my uterus tired! All is fine, or at least as fine as it can be when I count up the number of babies I've lost (three, if you're wondering). I am not bitter about that due to the fact that I have the most wonderful human being on Earth (and beyond) as my daughter, but it certainly does wear on a person. Not to mention I had to have, you know, surgery and all. Because the surgery went so well, and it is over, I don't have quite the rant that ran through my head night after night. I do, however, have a collection of ironies I must share. The first ironic bit: this past weekend, as a magical respite from my terrified brain, I traveled to Lexington, Kentucky to attend Scarefest with my best friend from high school, Tracy (of Get Well Soon fame). It struck me as a little humorous that here were all of these people dressed as the living dead, and here I was with, well, a dead baby inside of me (cue the hilarious cymbal smash). The second bit of irony: My insurance does not cover maternity, but I applied for and received an Illinois government program to help with the birth costs. The card arrived after the baby was no longer alive, and for some reason the card was on my kitchen floor. My daughter, who had her first bout of stomach flu yesterday, projectile vomited (in a delightful spray of orange) all over that insurance card. Which was perfectly fine, since I won't be needing it anymore anyway. The final bit of irony, and, really, the scariest and funniest of them all, is this man dressed up at the Scarefest (standing next to Freddy Krueger):

Yes, I was terrorized by a giant baby all weekend. Oh, God, you are so fucking funny.

Maybe this post was too random. Maybe it was too brutally honest. But it's been a while since I've blogged. Perhaps I'm just a little rusty.


j.a.f. said...

hi there, your australian fans have missed you! Sorry to hear about all your terrors. jenn xx

Teenage Librarian said...

I missed your blogging, but figured life got in the way. Apparently it did in a big way.

I'm sorry.

And fuck people who write useless reviews. And fuck people who think that teenagers don't have sex or cuss or drink or do drugs or have fun or play D&D or whatever. Fuck Them.

That's why I really like your books. They are real. I just started a new job working as a media tech in a high school, I've been sitting in the back room working on some projects and listening to the tech staff (it's a class for the kids) talk and work on things and it's literally like listening to your books. They're nerdy, they're funny, they cuss and they game. And it's awesome.

hnsummers said...

I noticed you weren't around. I figured you were working on a book. I'm sorry about the baby. I know it is hard. I've been there.

I don't buy a book based on reader reviews. Some people are out to be negative. Idiots.

Ronni said...

Dearest Julie,

I am so sorry for your loss and that you are feeling so miserable. I'm sorry that you had to come across all the reviews that pissed you off. I LOVE your books. You know how I feel about Get Well Soon. It's definitely one of my favorites.

Sending healing vibrations your way.


Artemis Grey said...

*hugs* Sorry about all you've been through, glad that you can find humor in it, and it's great to have you back! Not that I've been around myself lately, but still.

I refuse to read a useless review. In fact, the only time I ever read ANY reviews of a book period, is if I can't find an excerpt from the book in question.

I would MUCH rather read two paragraphs written by the author about the novelty of self-flushing toilets than even the most glowing review, because there simply isn't any substitute for the authors own voice. Even if they're talking about toilets.

As for the crappy 'I could write this so much better' reviews, I totally agree with you. And those people need to get a day job.

Jenny said...

I too had assumed you were busy with writing/revising/mom-stuff.

Sorry to hear about everything that was sucking.

You're a wonderful author and people like that should get their internet-license revoked.

Glad to see you bog again but sad by the topic.

Hope you're doing better - there are a lot of us who love what you do just as YOU do it. No need to change a winning combination :).

Take care!

Brian James said...

I noticed. Figured something was going on. Sorry to hear about the baby.

As far as the other part of the post, I think all of us writers know exactly how you feel. It's really sad that some people put so much effort into hating things, and with such little effort. I've always said that I don't mind critical reviews. If they are well-thought out, I can usually learn something. But simple hating on a book...what's the point?

But I suppose I'm a glutton for punishment, because I have to admit, I'm real curious to see the first reviews that will come out for my next book. Perhaps I shouldn't...but I just can't help myself.

Megan said...

I noticed, and had thought about asking you online, but kept forgetting. Sorry for your loss- that totally sucks. And sorry for unhelpful reviews. Know that your online fan club is still your online fan club!

Michelle said...

As Megan said in an above comment, your fans are still your rabid fans and adorers of your writing. (I am one of those rabid fans). And no one could ever write your stories better than you! I cannot believe someone could even suggest that.
Truly sorry for all the beyond crap you are going through.

Julie Ann said...

Hey Julie, I am so, so sorry that you are going through such a hard time. Sadly, idiots feel safe to write their stupid thoughts when they are hidden behind the www. Sad how these reviewers seem to think they know what is best for teens or what teens need or want to read. Sadly, teens rarely get asked these questions themselves.

And, I am so, so sorry about the loss of your baby. What a horrible, horrible loss and I wish you all the strength in the world with this.

The Erratic Blogger said...

Glad you back blogging. I'm so sorry about the baby. I may lurk but I'm a faithful reader.