And so today’s moment of happiness despite the news.
Over the last 21 years, I’ve taught writers. Beginning writers, advanced writers, writers of all genres and writers of some genres that haven’t even been invented yet. For the last 13 years, I’ve taught at my own studio, AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop. AllWriters’ is named deliberately… ALL writers are accepted here, all genres, all abilities. All everything. And here is one thing I’ve learned over and over again about ALL writers:
Writers are the most discombobulating combination of huge ego and crippling insecurity.
And yes, ALL writers. Including me.
Over the last several months, I’ve had some amazing highs as a writer.
*a publisher came after me.
*several magazines asked me for a “Kathie Giorgio story”.
*I was nominated for a Pushcart.
*My short story, Snap Dragon, was chosen to be put on stage in a lovely theatre in Denver.
*And my book launched, to many lovely reviews and a great debut event which required the bookstore to bring out more chairs…because they all filled.
Amazing. Ego flying to new heights. You couldn’t touch the soles of my shoes, I was up so high.
Then yesterday, I found that there was a new review on a reader review site – a site where the reviews aren’t professional, but done by readers. In it, this reviewer said the writing was “average.”
Average. My writing has never been called average in my LIFE.
Ego: smashed. Insecurity: pushing me underground up to my neck.
Granted, this book does leave me a little insecure. It’s different than what I usually do. It’s gentler. It’s quieter. It’s not “dark and disturbing”. But…average?
So I pitched a fit. Internally, anyway. I was going to quit writing the current novel, which is also different. I was going to quit writing, period. I was going to throw myself off the highest bridge I could find. But I’m scared of bridges, so instead, I was going to go straight to bed and never get up.
Oh, it wasn’t pretty. Fits generally aren’t. That’s why I tend to keep mine internal.
Thing is, while I’ve had a lot of positive reviews on Grace, this was the second negative one. The first one, I laughed off. It was from a young guy in Nebraska, who said that Grace’s grief was tiresome (sorta the point of the book, bud – that people want you to get over your grief quickly), that a gay man would never be attracted to a woman (wake up to the world, darlin’) and that the book failed to present grief in a unique way (oh, I know…there have been so many books on grief where the grieving person runs off with the town’s gay doll salesman). This review was so ludicrous, I shook it off in a matter of minutes and I congratulated myself on doing so.
But average…that punctured me. And so I had a fit and I licked my wounds and swore they were never going to heal again.
Huge ego. Crippling insecurity. All writers.
But then tonight. Michael and I attended the opening night of The Who And The What at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. We were accompanied by two writers from AllWriters’. Because Michael works at the Rep, we usually get a couple of tickets as a perk. But tonight, we had four.
Because two weeks ago, the Rep wrote ME. They invited me to attend the opening night with a guest because…are you ready? Because I am “a leader among Wisconsin writing organizations.”
A leader. I like that word. So much better than “average”.
And you know what? I am.
So I attended tonight, not as Michael’s wife, but as Kathie Giorgio. Leader among Wisconsin writing organizations. Author of seven books and tons of short stories. I walked in with my feet off the ground again. Partly because of two key lime martinis. But mostly because I threw that second review out the door with the first one.
Huge ego intact, thank you. Crippling insecurity – back under control.
It’s how writers survive. ALL writers.
And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.