Summer School Daze

My almost 19-year-old daughter Clara is taking a college English Class this summer. They’re reading and writing about poetry and literature. The exact name of the class isn’t important.

Clara: I can’t believe some of the other students.

Me: What happened.

Clara: Some girl bragged about being an English Major, then she said she hated to read. She actually said she hated to read. She just wants to write. She just gushes about how she loves to write. But she hates to read.

Me: But how can she be a good writer if she doesn’t read?

Clara: She LOVES to write. I bet she writes awful fan fiction. She’s that type.

Me:

Clara: shrugs shoulders

Me:

Clara: I feel sorry for the teacher.

Me: Wow. You have to wonder.

Clara: I know.

The moral of this true story is that if you love to read you don’t have to write. HOWEVER, if you love to write you have to read. That is one of the fundamental laws of the universe. Live it. Teach it. Preach it.

And keep listening to those kids of yours. They’ll tell you all kinds of unbelievable things. Also, hug a teacher.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

funny_cat_pictures_lolcats_this_cat_is_pushing-s500x485-301701

 

Revolutionary Fanfiction, Being Creative, Being Weird, Being True to Yourself as an Artist

Yesterday we were fully entrenched in the Dark Ages. Now that we’re almost back in the light, Clara, my teenage daughter told me about a girl she knows who writes fanfiction based on the Sons of Liberty TV series. She wrote 60,000 words of fanfiction complete with a lot of non-physical romance between Sam Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Hey, don’t laugh, that might be more accurate than the TV series (Sam Adams was shown as a smokin hot bodice ripping hunka hunka burning love.) Not that Sam and Tom had a romance but the general facts, or lack of facts, in the show. In fact, one of the history teachers read it and said that the teen writer was right on spot with her historic lifestyle facts. It was silly and far-fetched but the girl did a great job. Huzzah!

Will the real Sam Adams stand up.

Will the real Sam Adams stand up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have never even thought about writing fanfiction. I have to admit that I’d like to rewrite the final season of Justified because it seems like the worst fanfiction ever played on TV. It just isn’t fun or interesting or believable this season. I feel cheated. Anyway, enough of my rant on that.

My own teen told me a while back that there is fanfiction out there about bands she likes. These aren’t bands you hear on most radio stations. This is fanfiction about bands like Dance Gavin Dance or Twenty One Pilots or My Chemical Romance. There is plenty of fan fiction for the bigger bands too. Anyway it usually involves a lot of sex. Lots of it. And most of it is really bad.  She read an interview of one of the musicians who was amused by it all. I mean, you’d have to be amused.

Meanwhile back at the castle…

Vampire Maman is sitting in a semi dark room with coffee and a head full of cobwebs. I’m  finishing up a novel. It has nothing to do with fanfiction or Vampires or much of anything I’ve ever written about.

When it is done I will fling it out into the world.

That is why I have to admit I admire the passion and guts of fanfiction writers. They just throw their stories out into the world with no shame or fear of backlash – no matter how bad or silly it is.

Alright I have to admit that I do that every time I post something here, but they (fanfiction writers) really throw it out there. It is hard to explain. They just barf it up – right out in the open. OK they’re weird and if you’re that weird then you don’t care what other people think SO we should embrace our weird sides because weird is fearless.

I am not fearless.

Last week I received a rejection notice from a well respected publication. It is a publication that I have always read and admired. I’ve always thought I would one day be published in that magazine. I was told by many that my work would be a perfect fit. No, my story didn’t capture the interest of the editor. That is what I was told. Oh well. At least it was read and somebody got back to me about it.

My daughter asked me if I was sad about it. Maybe for a few seconds. I was disappointed. Being in the creative world be it art or graphics or writing or music or even writing, one gets used to rejection. One gets used to being disappointed with one’s self as well as others. It is part of being a creative soul. You expect people to be assholes because they don’t understand the difference between a Thomas Kincade and Thomas Hart Benton.

But you also learn to be calm. You learn to be clear with your words. You learn to count to three before saying anything. You learn to explain the difference between what you believe is good and WHY it is good and WHY it works and the advantages of your work over some stupid ass lame idea. Just don’t say out loud that you think the other ideas are stupid ass – use different words such as less effective.

So if someone rejects you what do you do? You don’t use bad words. You don’t get emotional. You just move on. That is part of being a creative person in an uncreative world. Tell your kids that.

So back to that novel. It is a lot of work.

Here are a few other things I believe about being creative:

  • It doesn’t matter if anyone else sees it.
  • It doesn’t matter if you make money from it.
  • You can make money from it (I do make money from it.)
  • Stand up for your work.
  • Learn and refine your craft – this is a process that never ends.
  • Don’t be stupid about it – you can always get better. You can always improve.
  • Relax.
  • Don’t make excuses for yourself. This is one of the hardest things to do. You don’t have to explain anything to anyone (unless you write a blog.)
  • Stay with your art, your music, your writing, your dance, your furniture design, your painting, your typography, your garden sculptures, your videos, your cooking or whatever you do that makes you feel alive and creative. Stay with it.
  • Never give up.

I don’t believe in suffering for my art. That comes along easily enough on it’s own. I would rather embrace it and fit it into my life. It is who I am, so suffering is unproductive and it just isn’t fun. Nobody likes a martyr. And being a martyr is too much work. With all the time and energy you put into suffering for your art you could have written that novel.

And with that final thought I will refill my coffee, sharpen my fangs and work on that novel and fear no more.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Jessie at the Guitar by Thomas Hart Benton

Jessie at the Guitar by Thomas Hart Benton