My first book had been out about six months and now it was Christmas--i.e. Christmas parties. We were having dinner at Black Angus in Salt Lake with my husband's business partners--i.e. no kids! I was looking forward to it. A good meal, no noses to wipe. I'm there.
I was still coming to terms with the fact that I was indeed, a writer. I was excited to have a published book out, don't get me wrong, but I didn't know how to present myself. I didn't want to downplay it, but neither did I want to come across as arrogant and full of myself. In the six months since my book had come out, my life hadn't really changed at all and I'd gotten mixed feedback. While some people were excited about it and congratulatory, other's seemed almost annoyed by it--I'm not sure why exactly, but there were several people--friends and family--that didn't want to hear anything about my book. It was a limbo time as I was trying to decide what it meant that was a published author.
So we're at dinner and there is a woman there that I'd never met before, the wife of one of my husband's business partners. I can't remember her name (well, I can, but I'm not gunna say it) so for the sake of the story lets just call her Jezebel--or Jezzy for short.
I ask about her kids, Jezzy asks about mine. I ask about where they live, she asks where we're at. We make small talk around the table as we wait for our meal and then my husband throws in "Josi had her first book published a few months ago."
Jezzy turns to me and leans across the table. "You wrote a book?" this is said in the tone of "You're a nuclear scientist that will save the world from utter destruction? I don't believe it."
I smile, embarrassed and kind of ducked my head. "Yeah, I did."
"You?" Jezzy said incredulously (I love this word, incredulously, but I wasn't a big fan of the tone that night). "You wrote a book?"
"A children's book?" she asks, as if any half baked chicken hawk can sit down and write a children's book. Having known a few children's authors in my time I can say without argument that the process is grueling. But people assume that children's books are easy to write and therefore she seemed to only believe I was capable of something simple.
"No, a novel. For adults."
This completely confused her. "Not a children's book?"
"Did you write it yourself?"
I try to laugh at this, but my eyes are shifting around the table, a blatant "help me" lurking in their depths. Keep in mind this woman has known me for exactly one appetizer of stuffed mushrooms. I'm wondering what it is about me that makes her think I am a) incapable of writing a novel or b) someone that would lie about it. "Yeah, I wrote it myself."
Someone breaks in and tries to save me, but Jezzy cuts them off and leans across the table. "A novel?"
"Yes," I say for the sixth time. "I wrote a novel."
"And it's published?"
"Yes," I'm getting annoyed now, but my dinner hasn't even come yet and I don't want to make a scene. "I wrote an adult novel all by myself and it's published."
At this point my husband proceeds to tell her how much some of our friends had liked it, how he'd finally read it when my friend's husbands said how great it was. She's still glancing at me over her drink, as if still trying to compute it and wondering if she's on candid camera.
"And you wrote it by yourself?" she repeated after Lee's attempts to redeem us all. About this time our dinner arrived and no one let her talk about this anymore--thank heavens.
*Case in point. When you achieve your dreams, not everyone is happy about it. In fact, some people are just plain ticked off. If you have passion and you're working toward a goal, prepare yourself for the backlash. I don't think I'm 'in your face' about my writing, in fact I rarely it up on my own, only talking about it when other people ask. I expected something different.
Of my family, including siblings, parents, cousins, in laws etc, less than half have read any of my books--I'm aware of only three that have read them all. None of them read my blog--ever. In fact, if a family member is reading this I will pay you $100. (No worries, my money is very safe, I assure you) Very few people I know outside of writing circles ask me what I'm working on, when my next book is coming out or how things are going. I have no doubt that there are some people that are hoping my career will come to an end one way or another.
Sad huh? But true as well. However, I also have wonderful cheerleaders--some family, friends, other writers, fans--that cheer me on and lift me up. There are days when they are my saving grace. As you work toward your own passions, your own dreams, hold on to the cheerleaders tightly, and be that person for someone else when they realize something BIG in their life. It's a priceless gift.