Up until I hit the age of 40 (hard, like a helmetless collision into a graffiti-stained brick wall), I had culled my mottos on life, love, and work from one very important advice-giving 80's TV theme song.
But, now that I've reached the more mature age of 41, I see life as the occassional suckfest it really can be.
Today, I received the single worst review in my career written by an unnamed critic for a big named company. No...it's not The Chicago Reader. They trashed me over a decade ago (and two of my plays that've never been produced since. I smell a conspiracy theory. Go on. Prove me wrong.). This morning I got a Google alert informing me that my life was about to change. They picked me. They picked my young adult novel. I couldn't wait to read the review. They being sort of like the Mafia Gods of reviews. (I refuse to mention them here because why promote them ever again at this point? Or at least until they fall in love with something I've written.) For years I held onto my dream of being reviewed by them, certain that once I was my literary career would skyrocket to the stars and my life would be like an eternal musical number from Xanadu. Instead, the critic seemed like he/she was on a mission to convince me to never approach a computer again, never allow another imaginary thought to enter my mind, never dare put my name on anything that could possibly be published. Maybe I should reconsider that flight attendant career I left behind...
Am I bitter? No...afterall: "You take the good, you take the bad, you take 'em both, and there you have..." Wait! I'm 41 now. I'm mature. The 80's are over. And my career might be too. Before it really begins. No...I'm just kidding. I'm not giving up that easy. Never. Call my work whatever you want, even "an avalanche of flaws" featuring a "much-maligned mother." I'm still going to write. I'm still going to publish. I'm not stopping anytime soon. Because when I was a kid sitting in my living room watching The Facts of Life, I would've felt a lot less lonely/confused/overlooked/misunderstood in this world reading a book about boys like me.
Bold Strokes Books (shameless plug, I know - but what else do I have left at this point? Humility? I don't think so.)
Granted this is the same novel that the banished-from-my-life-forever critic referred to as "a dreary slog through a mashup of many a gay-teen novel from yesteryear." I reminded myself of why I wrote the novel in the first place (and it took me eight long mofo years to do so - a helluva lotta work to be dismissed in one paragraph): the teenagers who are going to buy/read/love this novel (and email me their hearts and souls - their shared pain, their beautiful words) they don't really care about reviews. They only care that their story is being told: the good and the bad.
So, here's mine - a new one, in the form of another theme song.
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