Lord almighty, shit is fucked up in my head. I’ve been printing press releases and polishing the lists of addresses where books will go and thus looking up zip codes and getting email lists together. I made a to-do list and checked stuff off it.
I should be feeling proud but I feel light-headed and my heart is pounding in my throat. I am utterly convinced that the book sucks, that it’s not really real, because I don’t have a publisher, and that telling people other than y’all that I wrote it is going to make them feel bad for me, like “Oh, that poor Betsy, doesn’t she know we don’t give a shit about her fake book?”
But all that I kind of expected. I have lived with this fucked up brain for a while now. I know most of its tricks for undermining me.
But it has a new one. One that it’s probably been reciting for a while, very quietly, behind the noise of “you have a fake book everyone will hate.” And that is “You’re going to get in trouble.”
I don’t even know what it means, exactly. I think it’s an old, old piece of bullshit, just floating up to see if it still has any bang left, you know?
But it does! Weirdly. It does.
I mean, I know it’s bullshit, because there’s nothing to get in trouble for. I took out the few words from “Sweet Leilani” and “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” is long in the public domain. I’ve got some stories that mention country music stars but I don’t think I’m violating anyone’s personality rights. Ricky Skaggs sings. Jim Reeves stands around in a parking lot. Lefty Frizzell has breakfast. Those seem like things people do and nothing a family member will get mad about or be embarrassed by. I hope anyway.
But I am completely plagued by this feeling that this will blow up in my face in some terrible, life-destroying way, because I put it in writing, the very thing generations of my family are strictly warned against.
Though how one might be a writer and never put anything in writing is a mystery for the ages, I guess.
But then, writing through it helps.
At least I don’t feel like I’m going to throw up now.
And I got a shit-ton accomplished tonight. And I have good folks helping me with the rest. Still…
Anyway, Chris Jackson is over there talking about women writers and he says, “Anyway, there are ways that our reading is shaped and limited by the biases of the dominant literary gatekeepers” among which he must certainly number himself. Something about that sentence made me wonder if he’s not thinking about the public necessity of his role in ways similar to how I am.