I was alone in the kitchen, standing over a sink full of dishes. My hands moved automatically as I washed away the remnants of that night’s dinner. Then the shrieking started. My name called over and over. I ran down the hall into my roommate’s room. I found my bestie sitting on her bed with a book in her lap, Undead and Unwed by Mary Janice Davidson. She did not look happy.
“Let me read you something,” she said, spastically waving the paperback at me. I agreed and sat down on the floor next to the foot of her bed. She proceeded to read me a few pages. When she finished, she folded her arms and waited with an expectant look on her face.
She seethed, but I couldn’t tell what caused such a reaction. I had read three pages of the book in question myself, five or six if you include the ones she’d just read to me. Admittedly, I find the main character vapid and utterly annoying, but nothing that pushed my buttons to that point. She was through waiting. “What do you think about that?”
The passage included a section that could be construed as racist . But neither one of us tend to respond to such things that way. So, I just asked what upset her so much. She harped on a particular sentence , one that she felt was a disclaimer of sorts. She went on and on about the author inserting herself into the story. The rant ended with “This is crap! I can do better.”
And that was the bottom line. My bestie is a writer too. She was pissed to see something in print that was less than what she believes she could produce herself. She was completely fired up about it. In fact, I hadn’t seen her believe in her own writing so strongly before.
I just smiled. I had a similar moment a few years ago with Twilight of all books. I watched the movie and was left feeling a bit underwhelmed. So, I decided to read the books under the delusion that they would be better. Ha! I didn’t even make it halfway through the first one. I also tried to read Stephanie Meyer’s The Host just to make sure it wasn’t the storyline of the series that I was reacting to. Yeah, well, didn’t get very far into that book either.
It was Meyer’s writing. I hate it. But I will be forever grateful to the woman. If someone who writes like that can build such a humongous readership, then there’s nothing to stop me from doing it too. If someone like that can get published in the first place, then I need to start cranking out manuscripts. No disrespect to Stephanie or the Twihards of the world. It’s just not for me.
However, Meyer’s work made me realize that I needed to get out of my own way. I had to stop talking about it and start writing. I let the anger I felt morph itself into drive. It became motivation to learn craft, motivation to work hard, and trust that I could it. I hope that my bestie channels that fervor and new-found belief in her own ability into some great stories.