Monday, September 25, 2017

bitches gotta read: we are never meeting in real life.

hello hi, do you remember me it's been a minute. you look great. is that a new haircut? did you recently hem that pair of pants!? GAH i'm sorry i wish i had a good excuse for falling behind on this book club and on this dumb blog in general but let's just pretend it was intentional and i was giving everyone the summer off from butt jokes so i don't have to make something up and risk looking ridiculous. that said, sorry not sorry for this shameless plug but if you didn't read my book over the summer it's all good because we're gonna read it together this month. like homework, with more swearing. and don't worry, i use small words in my writing because my brain can't compute big ones but do not let that gross wet cat on the cover fool you: this isn't for children. just like my first book wasn't about farming, but since it had a chicken on the front of it a number of people registered complaints with their local librarians due to their confusion from the cover. did it never occur to you to flip the goddamn thing over before filling out your comment card, martha? people are trash cans.

i don't remember much about writing MEATY other than spending two months taking many breaks to try and decipher what justin bobby was saying on the hills as i watched it on a continuous loop and making a lot of toast. i didn't have cable or internet at the time, so i propped my phone against a stack of ten year old issues of jane magazine i purchased off ebay in a fit of nostalgia and burned up all my anytime minutes watching lauren conrad cry, and i don't regret a second of it. this one was a little different. i wrote half of it while annoying my long suffering boss james on my lunch breaks at the animal hospital and the other half deep in the michigan woods that felt like i was in a horror movie, especially because i had to sleep on a futon. i did all the edits, plus the shit i pitched late and turned in at the last second, in my new house with some bose noise-cancelling headphones because living with other people is terrible.

my "i swear i'm not looking at this ipad i'm just listening to it while i'm writing" watchlist and sources of diversionary entertainment:
-any old seasons of mtv's the challenge that prominently feature wes and/or CT
-the "source awards" episode of 30 rock, at least 200x
-every episode of black-ish
-reading other people's essays and getting discouraged because mine are garbage
-various NBA playoff games
-youtube videos of people drawing on winged eyeliner
-the movie arbitrage
-youtube clips of people winning huge prizes on various game shows
-ordering cardigans from forever 57
-making gin cocktails
-poring over best of book lists while reminding myself i should quit
-mailing cards to the three people in my address book
-the entire jeff daniels movie canon

the rules
1 we are never going to meet in real life. that would require a bra and zippered pants and probably an expensive uber and no one is doing that. you don't have to worry about megan's dairy allergy or that vanessa doesn't like champagne. no cleaning the cat box or vacuuming the drapes or hiding the dirty laundry in the oven so your company doesn't realize what a huge slob you are. just you in your house glasses and gravy pants sobbing into your six pack of beer, the way rainbow rowell intended. getting together with people you don't live next door to is hella stressful. plus, a bunch of old bitches sitting around talking about fictional teenage romance is lame. OR IS IT THO.
2 we are never going to discuss this, ever. i mean seriously. i'm going to derive pleasure from knowing that people i might possibly enjoy spending time with if i ever could bring myself to meet new people and i are falling asleep and drooling on the same book we'll probably never finish. maybe we'll talk about it on twitter or something. but even thinking about organizing that is a daunting task and i'm already exhausted. mariyam suggested making a facebook group, but is that dumb? the internet is so hard sometimes. (ETA: there is a group! it's called bitches gotta read! and it is full of hilarious mostly-women people who aren't irritating! come find us!!) i also have a bunch of friends on goodreads but lesbihonest: i'm not, like, putting all these john grishams i read on there because i don't need you guys clowning me in public.
3 we are never going to shame each other about not reading the fucking book. this is the beauty of never having to meet or talk about it: i ain't gotta come up with "thoughtful questions" and you ain't gotta pretend to remember what happened at the end of chapter seven while a bunch of wine-drunk bitches you don't even like that much wait expectantly for your answer. i'll read the books for sure, but that's only in case i run into one of you at the co-op and you decide to ask how shocked i was by the twist no one saw coming at the end.

brief synopsis from my diary: whenever the uninitiated ask me to, like, elevator pitch them my book the first thing i say is GROSS PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME. why do you want to watch me melt like an ice cream cone while trying to make "stories about my butt" sound both palatable and worth $15?! every time i have ever met a real person who has a book i usually promise to just buy it rather then feign interest in the explanation of the post-apocalyptic young adult alien romance they've spent five years writing, mostly because i hate to humiliate people when i have to witness what that reduces them to but also what if i ever see them again? i mean, i want to be able to say "wow! that book was so shocking!" and actually mean it or have an answer when their follow up question is "which part?" explaining a thing you wrote to a person who doesn't know you or really care is embarrassing. and if you tell them it's about your life or your stupid thoughts then while they are smiling politely and halfheartedly exclaiming how "interesting" that sounds they are definitely thinking "who the fuck wants to know what you fucking think?" and, okay, point taken. i used to try to sell myself but now i either just deadpan "it's funny" while holding eye contact for six beats too long until they slowly back away from me or, if they look like they read the new york times, i'll blurt "roxane gay likes it!" and register the light of recognition turning on behind their eyes then watch their face immediately contort in well-meaning liberal horror because all this time they were talking to me they thought i actually was roxane gay.

listen there are a lot of good books coming out this fall. and maybe you don't want anyone to see you reading a cat book on the bus. i feel you. but if you were thinking about not reading my dumb book here are some compelling reasons you should reconsider:

1 it's a new york times bestseller. yo, that surprised me as much as anyone, that a book about explosive diarrhea that explores virtually every romantic and financial mistake i've made as an actual adult who should be smarter than this would sell more than the ten copies. it's a miracle for real, and tangible proof that millions of people can't be wrong.
1a okay so millions of people can be wrong about a lot of shit. look at this wild ass election. and the prevalence of so many ~cold shoulder~ sweaters. also, "millions" is very generous and not at all accurate but just roll with it this stuff is so confusing.
2 roxane gay likes it!