4/4/09

Weekend Introspection

This is a rather navel-gazing post. Move on...or have a psychological field day. Either way, fair warning.

I was wondering why I haven't been fussed with the weekly dust-ups that seem to been the glue of the online romance community. Associate Member-gate? Not interested. RITA-fu? Of course I disgruntled privately to a few friends (a new verb!), mostly sour grapes stuff. But I didn't debate about inspy vs. erotica issues, nor did I weigh in about the ever-changing category definitions and entry requirements. And as much as it may mean to the future of my career and publishing in general, I don't even argue about piracy, DRM, Kindle speech capacities, or Google settlements.

Many if not all of these issues are very important. And I do participate when the opportunity arises to make a legitimate contribution. For example, Jane from Dear Author contacted me along with a number of book reviews sites before rolling out her new e-ARC policy. I was happy to be included in her mini survey and offer my opinion. With regard to the inspy vs. erotica debate, I added my experiences in judging the RITAs this year, which were alternately enlightening and depressing. I feel I'm at my most useful when I contribute data, but I'm not going to stick around for the shitfest that degenerates from the initial topic.

I used to. Two years ago, I was as vociferous as the next blog trawler, taking sides and talking smack. But I don't think it's a matter of being busier now, because there are plenty of published authors with deadlines galore who throw fuel on these kerfuffles. Perhaps because I was unpublished, I was busy promoting my opinions as a means of establishing an individual online personality. That worked. Good job me. But now I'm more interested in promoting my books.

More than that, however, I'm a genuinely conflict averse person. This isn't because I like to keep things on an even keel, as Keven does, but because I'm arrogant enough to think my opinion is, well, factual. Which is why I don't even tear into people who prefer Dancing with the Stars over So You Think You Can Dance. It's just obvious who's right. Other yammering is just noise. Disagreement? With me? How can this be??

Dude, it's pretty damn nice in my world. But then again, Patrick Bateman behaved the same way when extolling the merits of "Sussudio," and he chopped up hookers with chainsaws.

Underneath that bit of psychological fondant, I'm a big ole' fraidy-cat. Which is easier: to watch the news or to ignore it? Some people dwell on the "woe is me" and the "sky is falling" of every topic, from the state of romance publishing to the economy. But if I look too much of that in the face, I start to wonder why we bothered creating two little girls. "The world must be peopled" aside, it's a scary prospect to look ahead to their futures. Why would I want to add additional stress to an already stressful time?

So I don't.

Head down. Keep working. Stave the negativity. Vent to friends (which also prevents foot-in-mouth disease, to which authors are very susceptible). Create my lovely, sexy, joyous fantasies. Don't worry. Everything will be okay.

Hey, have I told you lately that one of my favoritest activities is breaking down characters? It's true. From reality show contestants to myself, it seems, my brain is on people analysis overdrive. My friend labeled it an obsession with the human dynamic, which is a very astute call. Writing romance is a way to play marriage counselor with a guaranteed happy ending. Talk about a God complex.

So there you have it. I'm not less opinionated than I was two years ago; in fact, I'm probably worse now than ever. Woe be to my children (and me) when they start having perspectives of their own.

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