The thing about writing stuff and then telling people about it is that people who know you casually — or, in the case of family, people who just cross their fingers and hope for the best — is that it’s like coming out of the closet as a macabre, kinky weirdo.
So yes. I’m odd. I imagine odd stuff and write stories about it.
The odder the better.
There. I said it.
Some people have suspected this about me for years, of course. Then again, in some circles of acquaintance I suspect I probably look nigh-on normal. Dan is that gray-haired gentleman who covers the local soccer team. The nice tradesman who drops by and fixes your bike.
“Dan? Sure, I remember him. He’s the editor who used to work for the newspaper.”
And so on.
Only now some of these people are going to get messages that say “Hey, come read my books!” And when they show up, instead of a bunch of nice books about upstanding Americans with admirable values, they’re going to get all kinds of subversive, wildly inappropriate material. Crazy Army sergeants trying to have sex with 18th century German ghosts. Witches with telepathic powers. Dream wives. Fulltide. Testimony by wound. Firelit voodoo orgies with the participants taking magical possession of each others bodies.
Not exactly Anne of Green Gables.
Which is not to say that I think other people aren’t weird. On the contrary. After 20 years in the news business, I have little doubt that most people are total freaks. Thing is, freaky people who have never been publicly indicted or written a novel still have plausible deniability.
But here’s the real problem. At some point or another, it entirely possible that my mom is going to read something I’ve written. Not to mention my in-laws.
As they say in Ireland: Feck.
I guess it boils down to this: If you really want readers, you don’t get to pick who reads you. So: Big Boy Pants on, whining off. On to the next thing.