Those were the last words I wrote in my morning pages today.
Yesterday I chatted about and shared some of my favorite places to escape after a long day in retail. Customer service jobs are an interesting mix of real human connection and the ability to turn off emotion and eat shit with a spoon while smiling. I've learned a lot of skills over my two decades of working with the general public.
I've learned how to go up and talk to pretty much anyone. Which served me well in conventions. I still stumbled and got star struck from time to time, but there wasn't a single person I wanted to meet that I didn't when afforded the opportunity.
I've learned to read people. Some people want to talk. Like the gentleman I got to chat with about his brand new sports car he got at seventy-five years old. Or the woman who needed a hug because she'd buried two people in the past week and was unable to read labels because of the tears in her eyes. Then there are people who won't get off their phones to give me their savings account information at the register. I just let those fuckers continue on with their conversations and without their sales cards. NEXT. But in learning to take stock of where someone is in their mental state by body language and intonation, I can interact with people or leave awkward conversations at appropriate moments.
I've learned patience. DEAR GOD HAVE I LEARNED PATIENCE.
But I've also learned how to dim myself.
Being a representative for someone else means I have to turn my own opinions and thoughts off. Because in order to keep my corporate funded and detailed job, I have to follow the rules even if they don't make sense. So a vast majority of my days on the job include finding a way to spin the tasks so as not to go against my personal thoughts on how the store should actually be run. It's a hard spin some days, and perhaps that's just my entrepreneurship education coming back to haunt me. (My very expensive education that I will never pay off. LOL)
I was writing with my CP last night and we were chatting about how even when we can't say the things we want to say out loud, we can create the world we want to see in our books.
Ever hear the threat from a writer that they will kill you in their books if you're not nice to them? Yeah. That's a thing. And even in fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal stories, a writer is going to incorporate their emotions into the book. For a book to connect, the writer has to be honest.
I've seen a lot of people tell their readers that "if you don't like my Facebook and Twitter feed, you won't like my books." And you know what? There's truth to that, but there's also the opportunity to change minds through books. My DMA Files books were written during a time in my state where there were people being blocked from getting their marriage licenses. There was talk about how all this discussion around sex and love between people of the same or non-traditional gender labels was awful "for the children".
The vilification of sex as a whole and the idea that one type of love has more legal value than another between consenting adults, just hit my bullshit meter with such force that the world around the DMA Files was born. Why did I use robots? Well, I used robots because I wanted a character that was untouched by bias and shame around sex. And growing up with a Catholic school background it seemed impossible for a human to escape these biases from my own rationale. So my character in the book was a robot.
I remember vividly asking my editor about a manuscript, and asking if I was being too transparent in my own political leanings. Her response? "Have you read your robosex books?"
I laughed out loud. I wasn't as subtle as I thought I'd been at the time. Or perhaps she was of a similar mindset and it translated for her differently than it did for others. But I am of the mind that love between consenting adults, no matter if they are of the same gender, or how many are involved in the relationship, is intrinsically valuable and worth fighting for. Love is love is love is love.
And while I was worried about how I was portraying my emotions into the stories, I am much less so now. I write with humor, or at least with stuff I find funny. And I write with the idea that love finds you among the most difficult and awkward situations. The humor is just a byproduct of being able to laugh at the horrid situations we sometimes find ourselves in. Because when things get bumpy, whether from external or internal obstacles, being able to laugh brings me out of it.
I spend a lot of my day as the real me tip-toeing. I don't tip-toe in my books. And I think that's why I love the stories. I don't hold back the cuss words. I don't hold back the sex scenes. And I don't hold back the jokes at the expense of a corrupt system holding back people I care about.
I'm writing again regularly, and I'm letting the one-liners and dad jokes fall right alongside the anger and frustration. I'm letting the comebacks and cuss words accompany the open-door sex scenes. Because I'm ready to laugh again. Really laugh without worrying about who might be listening. I'm putting this next batch of characters through hell, but I'm all in for making sure they see the light through love and humor.
I can't wait to laugh along with them again tonight when I write more of their story. I'm ready.