Letting My Freak Flag Fly

            Some
of you read the title and are scratching your head right now, thinking,
“This is something new?” 
Those of you who witnessed my middle school years have actually
double-checked to make sure you are on the right site.  Yes, you are.  And, yes, I was the little girl who begged her parents for a
camouflage t-shirt to wear as a night gown, I was the teen who wore a SeaQuest
DSV keychain as a necklace all through eighth grade, and I am the woman who
decorated her entire condo for the release of the last Harry Potter book.  I’ve never had problems with sharing my
weirdness with the world.  Until recently.

            This
summer as I was working on my first novel,
Unforeseen, I signed up for the Cape Cod Writer’s Conference
hoping to hone my skills and perhaps meet a handsome male writer along the
way.  Unfortunately, I had no such
luck with the latter.  But I did
meet many wonderful writers from whom I learned some great writing skills and
an interesting fact about myself: I don’t like talking about my writing.  Beyond introductions, the first
question a fellow writer asks another at one of these conferences was the one I
found myself dreading: “So what do you write?”  Now usually I’d describe myself as
somewhat loquacious–yes, you’re still on the right site.  Okay, so I can normally talk one of
Michael Vick’s underfed pitbulls off a load of Kobe steaks, but this question
left me stammering.  As my blush
burned my cheeks and made my neck and chest look like I ate some bad seafood,
I’d mutter, “Urban fantasy.” 
Anything ‘urban’ sounds cool, right?  No one would question this, I thought.  But they did.  “So what’s it about?” was inevitably the next
query.  This is where the veteran
writer would roll out a perfect one-line pitch that would have any agent
drooling.  This is where a rookie
writer should at least be able to spew a sloppy twelve-minute summary.  But my reaction?  Well, internally I was channeling the
chubby little girl on the playground who learned to out curse anyone she
couldn’t out run (which was just about everybody).  That old part of me wanted to turn to the wise grey-haired
inquisitor, who was undoubtedly writing a highly literary memoir about battling
a rare disease while trapped in the Amazon, and say, with my head held high,
“I’m writing about vampires, and if you got a problem with it, you can go
to hell, you darn hell.”  Yup,
I was a feisty one.  Luckily, I’ve
expanded my vocabulary as well as my repertoire of swears since third
grade.  Sadly, I’ve lost
the unabashed innocence we have at that age.  I know now that many people don’t see the fine line between
creative and crazy, between straight up genius and straitjacket.  So I’d mumble some lame summary in an
apologetic tone more suitable for the author of a graduate level textbook on
taxation.

            It
wasn’t until later I kicked myself. 
Why was I embarrassed to admit I was writing a novel in currently one of
the trendiest genres?  What’s wrong
with writing to entertain the masses? 
Nothing.  I doubt Charlaine
Harris or Stephanie Meyer blush at their bank statements.  More importantly, I doubt they allow
the literary snobs of the world to detract from their enjoyment of what they
do.  And neither do I.  Writing, whether it’s commercial
fantasy or literary fiction, is a passion and a pleasure and an escape for both
author and audience.  If it makes
me (and, hopefully someday my readers) as happy as an army green nightshirt, a
cute boy on a dorky sci-fi TV show, or a magically themed book release party,
why hide it?  There are enough flag
burning killjoys in the world; I refuse to be one of them.  Next year’s writing conference I’m
letting my freak flag fly.  Anyone
know where I can get a fang necklace
?

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Letting My Freak Flag Fly

  1. Katieo

    Go, Freak Girl, go! And maybe include the untimely demise of a wise, gray-haired literary snob in your novel?

    Like

  2. Christine

    Say it loud and proud!

    Like

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