I’m giving away another signed copy of TWR!
Leave a comment on this blog for your chance to win 🙂
I’m giving away another signed copy of TWR!
Leave a comment on this blog for your chance to win 🙂
If you had just taken that damn tag off of your button, maybe we wouldn’t be here, two years later, still splitting sour beers and smoking in your truck and kissing eagerly after a week of not talking. What a cycle we started, almost immediately. It’s almost laughable—what a witty piece I could write—almost. I could be sarcastic and flirty and go the whole Cosmo article route and shrug this all off as an unfortunate series of events—oh how I wish I could do that and end it all with something like, “At least I still have wine, am I right ladies?”
But I can’t do that. We’re so past the silly, ridiculous point of me being able to do that. Now we’re here and I’m split and splintered and shattered and suffering and every heart-wrenching s-word you can think of; I am that.
I think about that button a lot though, and how it was cold that night and I saw a tiny glint of white silk popping out of your collared shirt.
“Did you buy a new shirt for our first date?” I asked coyly.
“What? No…” you looked down and pulled your jacket to the side and noticed the white. “Oh. I thought you were supposed to leave these on.” You toyed with the small tag around the middle button.
“What?!” I was incredulous—half on purpose, half actually incredulous. “Of course you’re not supposed to leave it on!” I laughed and took another sip of the sour beer you’d bought us, pretending to like it.
“Well take it off then,” you said, leaning towards me. I knew I liked you then, after only 15 minutes, because if I didn’t, I would have scoffed and told you to do it yourself. But instead I leaned closer to you than necessary and took off the button tag more slowly than necessary, smiling up at you as if I was fixing your tie for the hundredth time.
If only every human came with a list of warnings, like medicine does.
Male, aged 30 years. Much like the bullshit biblical figure he is named for, Adam is amazing at reaping all of the benefits of the earth while his companion sins and is blamed and undergoes great hardship. He will be messier than any person you’ve ever met, yet he will not trust your dishwasher and will re-wash every dish and glass offered to him. He prefers dinner no earlier than 10PM and he will never try to not wake you up when he gets up earlier than you, flicking the bathroom light on before shutting the door like some sort of animal. He will introduce you as a friend and he will smell so good, but he will never, ever know how to communicate. He will be the first person you want to tell things to and you will always want to feel the tiny gray hairs hidden on his head but he will be absent when you most need his Tejano music and giant breakfasts and giggly existential conversations so you will be forced to tell someone else all the things.
Consult your therapist before accepting this human into your life, as this is not the suggested course of action for all willing participants. Side effects may include love, regret, heartbreak, death, or in some cases, all of the above.
Let’s be real though, I still would’ve taken that pill—I still would’ve leaned toward that stupid, fucking collared shirt. That’s what we all do, right? We’re warned and warned and warned—every day, about everything! And we still do almost everything that “could be” harmful or “could be” dangerous or “could be” the worst decision of our life. You could’ve been the best decision of my life. And now you’re just last night. Now you’re just text on a page. A button in a whole box of buttons.
I haven’t been writing, guys. At all.
Well I guess that’s a lie–I’ve written a few shitty poems. I’ve written a few magazine articles. But anything of real substance, vulnerability, skill? Nah.
I even thought about giving it up. Yeah, as in, giving up writing. Forever. Not the normal “I’m not good enough, I’ll never amount to anything, I’ll never be a famous author, fuck writing” thoughts that make you a writer. I’m talking black hole depression “I vow never to focus an ounce of energy on stringing words together ever, ever again.”
There are a few reasons for this disaster. I won’t go into those, but let’s just say I’ve been bumbling around for awhile now, and it’s starting to bug the hell out of me. Realization: I’ve never written “to be good enough, to amount to something, to be a famous author”…I’ve written to be true to myself as a person, to stay sane, to feel OK. I have not been any of those things as of late.
Anyway, I won’t allow myself to lose a passion. I may not ever self-publish again, I may not ever even finish another novel…but I’ll keep writing. Even if that means forcing myself to show up to Shut Up and Write! meet-ups at local coffee shops…the only girl in a private room full of old men writing memoirs.
[Sidenote: the group that was using the room before us was a “mens group”…I had to Google that shit. There are men who are emotionally secure enough to admit that they could use friends, mentors, advice, guidance…?! Whaaaaat? That’s badass. But you have to wonder…are they getting much accomplished without a woman in there, telling them what they’re doing wrong? Haha I kid, I kid…]
More on my new writers group. First of all, let me take back what I said about them all being old men. There is one who is not old, but rather, drop dead gorgeous. He is married. Of course. The rest are my grandfather’s age, with the same cranky jokes and wheezy laughs. Ron writes with a pen in a binder full of blank paper. Erwin talks about Chinese-Americans and the pressure they feel to succeed–so much pressure that two of his friends have committed suicide. He’s unsure whether this is short story-worthy. My eyes widen and I assure him it is. I want to read it NOW, actually.
This is going to be great for me.
That’s right, I’m officially a freelancer. I, Alysha Kaye, the girl who used to think freelancer meant everything you wrote had to be written for free. It IS a confusing word, you have to admit.
I’m really, really excited about my new gig at Texas Lifestyle Magazine 🙂 My editor, Elaine Krackau, has been super open to the jumble of ideas that I’ve thrown at her over the past month.
My first piece just came out- a fun little article on downtown Austin’s Hideout Theatre and the crazy mix of improv shows they host. Read it here.
Next up: a piece on Port Aransas’ Sandfest (publishing next week).
Yay for new opportunities and yay for sharpening my writing skills (it’s not like much work has been done on novel #2…) and yay for having something to keep me busy during this long teacher summer!
Feeling superrrrr unproductive lately. As in…I’m FORCING myself to write this blog post simply to feel that relief of “Yay, I checked ‘blogging’ off the list!” It’s bad, y’all.
My next novel, my lovely WIP, is sitting at the saddest ONE chapter halt, just eyeing me with pure hate, daring me to wait another week and then another and then another…
In fact, I actually did my taxes in order to avoid writing. Gross.
I’ve been traipsing around Austin like some sort of Hilton brat…pretending I have loads of cash to throw away on mimosas and sushi. This past weekend, I laid in Zilker Park with the boy and let dogs come up to lick my face—when I could’ve been writing. We went to a freakin’ improv show that was downright terrible—when I could’ve been writing. I went to brunch TWICE. I even took a damn nap. I hate naps. I could’ve been writing.
Decided: Happiness gets in the way of getting shit done. And I think that’s OK?
I typed my first novel so furiously, post-break-up. I was like, “I hate you, I HATE YOU, I hate me, typetypetype, BOOM- NOVEL! WHAT NOW, BITCH?”
When you’re super happy, you’re usually also super busy…with, ya’ know, happy-life-things like kissing and snuggling and park-lounging. And then WHOA before you know it, another weekend has flown by in a whirlwind of pancakes and sunshine. Your gut is kinda like, “Um, excuse me, ma’am, remember when you used to go to the gym and WRITE and schedule haircuts and WRITE and read and WRITE and stuff…?”
Heart: stfu I’m having fun.
Head: Don’t worry, I’m sure things will get crappy soon and then we’ll have all the time in the world, like we used to.
Heart: BUT WHAT IF WE’RE HAPPY FOREVER?
Gut: omg you’re both so effing annoying. We’ll find a balance, chill.
Life gets crazy. Busy as hell (seriously though, taxes? Who thought of that, the Brits? Didn’t we gain our independence?) and superrrrrr happy-insane sometimes. It’s OK to do nothing for a while, especially if you’re like me and you’ve been some sort of psycho Energizer Bunny since birth.
Decided: Be productive when you can, learn to adapt, evolve, whatever…find a balance and chill, like Gut says. Don’t let go of your passions, but don’t freak out and hold them so close that you lose creative control.
Head: sigh, k.
Originally published in the San Francisco Book Review – October issue.
Get Over Yourself: What My Students Taught Me
“Miss, get back to me when you’re Dr. Seuss famous.”
That was one of the first reactions I received when I told my 100 7th grade students that I was publishing a novel.
The main piece of congratulations I got from my squirrelly middle schoolers was: “Will you share the money with us?!” Ha.
As per usual, my hooligans who I spend all day with keep me in check.
They will never allow me to take myself too seriously and thank goodness for that. No one likes that pretentious-never-smiling writer who goes around constantly sighing about how their agent and editor just “don’t see eye to eye.” Oh please.
I make a living telling kids to capitalize and spit out their gum. I write on the side. I get two sad paychecks a month, break up two fights a year, and hand out maybe two stickers a day. I write on the side.
In case you don’t have a clear enough picture of my glamorous life yet, this was the simultaneous response of almost every class when I began with “I have some great news…”:
That, as you can imagine, made the news of my novel seem quite arbitrary. Oh, our teacher isn’t having a baby out of wedlock? Well then we don’t really care.
I’m not going to lie, as a self-published author, it’s easy to get caught up in Twitter followers, Facebook likes, WordPress reblogs, Goodreads ratings, and Amazon reviews. It’s even easier to get lost in the black hole of “refreshing” the Kindle and CreateSpace sales pages.
That’s what I have my darling pre-teens for. They may irk me with their constant struggle of “Is a lot really two words, Miss?” but they definitely, DEFINITELY teach me to get over myself.
You can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND break up spit ball invasions. You can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND secretly bribe a student with chocolate before school to kill a classroom cockroach. You can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND calmly tell a student to stop making “sexual noises” during the state standardized test. And you definitely, definitely can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND keep a straight face when a student asks you, “Miss, why do all white people like to rhyme all the time?”
I think every author out there truly needs someone (or hundreds of mini-someones) to keep them humble. I’m sure even J.K. Rowling has a bubble-burster. Probably someone who gloats to her about Avatar doubling the sales of every Harry Potter film. But seriously, where would we be without these parade-rainers?
Granted, there are different types of these “antagonists”. Not everyone can be as lucky as me—mine are cute and almost impossible to stay angry with (I said almost). My students make fun of me for not being married and then, in the next breath, accidentally call me Mom. They make fun of my clothes and then, a minute later, they’re hugging me or begging me to read their poem or asking if I’ll be at their soccer game. But trust me, I have the more evil-type-naysayers as well. I like to call them h8ters or swag-less (my students may or may not have taught me those words).
These Negative Nancys are necessary, I’m telling you! You don’t want to end up ALONE, smoking a pipe in front of a fireplace, wearing only wool argyle, and refusing to speak to anyone but your typewriter (because no one else deserves your esteemed attention). NO! Also, you don’t want to end up an alcoholic-addict-suicide-Hemingway type. I mean, being Hemingway would be cool…but you know what I mean. Don’t take yourself seriously. Ever. You’ll lose something. And in turn, your writing will lose something. And then you’ll lose your readers. Boom. Is your mind blown?
While you may not be walking around the halls of your employment wearing dry erase marker streaks on your white dress, I encourage you to find your own path to absurdity. If your life isn’t a joke, you’re not a writer.
I leave you with the best student reaction to my book cover: “Miss…is that a picture of what you wish you had, but you’ve like…never had and will never have?” Burn, kid. Burn.
So hey, writers out there, remember: get over yourself!
If you read my post a few weeks ago, you know I have A Chance to Leave the Self-Pub World…
I think I’ve finally made a decision.
Drum roll please……………………….
I’m going to STAY put, self-pub, indie, unrepresented. Not gonna take the publisher’s offer. Not gonna sign the contract.
You might think I’m crazy. Here are the 3 main reasons for my decision:
1. The publishers that contacted me are extremely new and unheard of. They publish a LOT of erotica, which my book is NOT.
2. I worked really hard for my Amazon and Goodreads reviews and I didn’t want to lose them.
3. I’ve done pretty well marketing for myself, and after researching the publisher (and contacting their authors), I was led to believe that their marketing wouldn’t be any better than my own.
This doesn’t mean I’m not opening to signing a contract in the future- with a publisher more fitting for my novel and I. But if that never happens, I’ll be fine 🙂 The self-pub world IS pretty amazing, after all.