THE DEVIL’S GOSPEL
AN EXPERIMENT (PART 2 OF 3)
So in my last entry, I talked about posting pieces of my novel-in-progress, The Devil’s Gospel, on my blog here. This process involved exposing my softest Writerly parts to the world, and sometimes getting a critic’s broken bottle shoved up my mental vadge. Having worked in Hollywood so long, you might imagine I’ve grown used to that bottle-in-the-vadge feeling, but this was the first time I’d ever made public a piece of writing I was creating for myself, as opposed to someone else.
Traumatic as all that was, it wouldn’t have been half so bad if I’d done it in the same the way I always utilize this blog – which is to say, A) write the entry, B) tweet a “Hey, there’s a new blog post,” and then C) leave it the hell alone. If people read it, great. If they don’t… and I say this in the nicest, least-judgmental way possible… fuck ‘em.
What this means is that my blog is usually read by approximately six people, three of whom I’m related to. (Actually, I might be related to the other three, as well, but I shun Google Analytics for the express purpose of not finding that out. Apparently my Giant Ego With Accompanying Inferiority Complex CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!)
But this time? When I really wanted people to read something, to encourage me to keep writing it? This time I had to fight my innate animal instincts and…
Now, some folks might think, “But Mere, just writing a blog and tweeting about it is self-promotion!” And to them I say, “True. But it’s a lax self-promotion I can accomplish in 140 characters, after which I never have to think about it again.” And believe me, I am really good at forgetting shit I don’t want to think about. Ask any of my exes. I don’t remember their names, but I’m sure they’d agree.
However, posting Devil’s Gospel involved explicitly asking my Twitter Followers to re-tweet my announcements about new posts (i.e., imposing on people I’ve never met, in order to request – okay, to outright down-on-my-knees-beg – that they help me self-promote) – the very thought of which still makes me queasy, even now that the Devil’s Gospel experiment is over.
You see, having grown up one step above the trailer park – and sometimes actually in the trailer park – I learned early on that being in debt to anybody for anything is a sure way to bring cataclysm and destruction upon oneself. Borrow that one cup of sugar from a neighbor, and pretty soon that neighbor thinks you’re best friends, so it’s perfectly fine for him to be camping out in your front yard with twelve of his redneck buddies, chugging down Colt 45’s and throwing lit cigarettes onto your crispy brown Florida lawn, because… well, you owe him.
And you can’t really argue with that – because technically, it’s true. Also because he probably has a real Colt .45 tucked into the waistband of his dirt-encased Levi’s and arguing the finer points of obligation with a drunk redneck carrying a handgun is an exercise in suicidal stupidity.
So the lesson? Ask for nothing, and you incur nothing. Plus you are much less likely to die from a bullet wound.
Add this to the fact that I am not, by nature, a self-promoter.
Funny thing being, it wasn’t always this way.
I used to be a child actor. I was a ham. An attention-seeker. A metaphorical abyss of WANT and NEED and SEE ME and PLEASE TELL ME I’M NOT A WASTE OF OXYGEN BECAUSE I’M AFRAID I MIGHT BE TAKING UP SOMEONE WORTHIER’S SHARE.
But then I started writing.
Suddenly all that WANT and NEED was sucked back into my head. As long as I could keep myself happy with what I wrote, I didn’t give a shit what anyone else thought. Did I like it when someone praised my writing? Hell yeah! Better than a kick in the vadge! But did I need that praise the same way I did when I was a kid? Nope. Somehow I’d found a way to feel all right about myself without anyone petting my head endlessly and telling me what a good girl I was.
Unfortunately, after a while, that ostensibly self-sustaining pendulum swung just a little too far to one side and got stuck. Not only did I no longer need people to approve of me, I began to resist their opinions wholesale, thinking, If I need someone to approve of me, I must be pretty pathetic. Which transformed into, If I need someone to see me, I must be really pathetic. Which then morphed into, If I don’t stay completely invisible, I must be super-giant-über-pathetic.
And that’s where I was when I undertook posting Devil’s Gospel. Thing was, I knew I was there – I knew I’d have to fight that “stay invisible at all costs” feeling in order to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish – and my gut-jitters very nearly put the kibosh on the whole plan before it got started. But, living in my head as much as I do, I felt compelled to examine why I felt so afraid to promote myself.
What I came up with, of course, is ridiculously obvious: deep down inside, I was still that same little good girl, desperately craving approval while being afraid I wasn’t worthy of it.
The more things change…
So I fought that battle inside my head. I had to tell myself that it was okay to be proud of what I’d done. It was okay to ask my friends to help me.
And that’s where my Twitter pals came in.