I gotta say, I’m not sure how often I give what I’d call explicit advice. If I did, I think I’d use a lot less words than I tend to and sum it all up by just answering every advice question with, “Things will always get better. And then they’ll always get worse. A good orgasm is good when they’re better and when they’re worse, and a shitty relationship is good for neither, so don’t ever promise to stick around for both.” But I digress, as I often do.
Despite how whoo-whoo the copywriter who does the front page for the P-I clearly felt the need to be, it was pretty darn cool to see that staring at me from the city paperboxes the other day. The reporter did a fantastic job and it’s a really excellent, positive piece (though I felt more than a twinge of discomfort at some of the more traumatic parts of my youth being mentioned sans context in a big paper, but then, I don’t keep it a big secret, and it is good for people to see that abuse survivors, like, DO things) — and featured on the front page, yo — which is a great energizer for me. And lord knows, I needed it. This old girl is TI-RED these days.
So often, press pieces about Scarleteen have had this sort of begrudinging acceptance. Like, “Yeah, I guess kids need this stuff but it sure sucks that they do, and yeah, I guess this woman does serve a lot of them and do a good job, but it’d sure be better is she was somebody’s nice, married, surburban Mom, and not this childless, queer, feminist skank who actually really likes having sex, and not the kind we’d prefer she liked. But I guess it’s still a good thing.”
This? Much better. And a fine how-do-ya-do, I’d say, from my new home city.
* * *
But none of that is half as cool as a phone conversation with my Dad today telling me, all choked up, that he just had the very best day of his life.
He got to go into a bookstore and get a book solo-authored by his kid, who he has watched and mentored with her writing and work since he taught her to read, and without fail, ever since. My father may have his failings, but I cannot think of a single instance in my life when he was nonsupportive of my aspirations and my creative work, no matter what direction they went in.
Apparently, he not only felt he had to tell every single person working at the bookstore that HIS KID wrote my book, but he also sold every copy the Barnes & Noble he was at on the north side had.
As these conversations were relayed to me, the cashier, when my father was buying a copy and going on ad nauseum, said, “Oh it’s for your daughter, that’s nice,” to which my oh-so-gracious father replied, and probably loudly, since he has no idea how to speak quietly, “No, it’s BY my daughter, you dumbass.” It’s easy to see where I get my charm from, now ain’t it. Ladies and germs, my fabulous public relations department.
I guess when he walked in and found it, he saw some other woman thumbing through a copy, and he asked her about it, and she said she’d really needed something like it for her daughter. So, as he did with everyone ELSE, he made clear that HIS daughter wrote it, and — my father, toothless, road-weary and all, is a highly infectious and gregarious guy — she ended up buying a couple copies, as did someone else nearby. On top of that, he and this woman went out for coffee afterwards. Hell, even if all my book did was net my Dad some normal social contact that most people get but he rarely does (his economics and homelessness — though he’s still in the SRO — are only part of the issue, as over the past few years, he’s also become pretty agoraphobic, not surprisingly given his neighborhood), that’d be a damn fine result.
But sitting and listening to one’s parent, especialy a parent who has been around some serious luminaries in their day, and had one helluva life, tell you that seeing and buying your book (especially with the peanuts they have for cash) was the best day of their life is a really wonderful, loving, incredible thing to have happen as someone’s child.
Of course, I cried like a freaking baby. I mean, bloody HELL.
Especially considering that just the day before today, I’d gotten a small package from him in the mail with a letter that closed with this.
* * *
Still been chugging away every day with Garrett to get to a finish on the full site upgrade for Scarleteen. It’s looking phenomenal, and I’m really excited, especially considering how much easier some of this system will make my life. But days and days on end of making graphics and staring at code utterly fries my brain and makes my limbs feel like lead weights. How you techies out there do this shit every day of every year is completely beyond me.
It’s one thing to do it when combined with other work — I code and do graphics regularly, but I’m also writing, doing more creative work, at the same time — or when you have the time to take long breaks, grab a walk or a hoop or a yoga fix. But given our deadline and the crazy amount of work that shifting an almost ten-year-old site (how the hell did THAT happen?) into an entirely new format and layout, there’s been so much work packed into the day that half the time, I’m forgetting to eat and barely have time to wipe my own butt.
I did carve out a few hours today to fit in two photo shoots with visiting friends, and get contact made with another major paper who wants to do a piece, but now I have to get cracking. In the barely-more-than-24 hours I have left before I go to Minneapolis for a week and a half, I have got to get a pile of books addressed and sent, do laundry, pack up clothes, photo equipment and book stuff, eat some dinner, have sex (hey, when you’re going out of town and know it’ll be a while, you need to be pragmatic about fitting it in), grab The Baby Liam an extra birthday present, deal with some banking, do more work with the site upgrade and maybe lose my mind just a little more before I pass out on my midnight flight.