This is what victory looks like

On beaches, in movie theatres, with friends. Rain or shine. Even when we are loved. We can be unhappy anywhere.

We are fine, but we are never fine.

We can spot each other a mile away.

The restless, the irritable, the discontent.

We like to immerse ourselves in noise to create silence and sometimes immerse ourselves in silence to stop the noise. None of it makes a lick of sense. We have no story, we don’t advance, there is no plot.

We stay the same, we have our wounds. Some of us get tattoos to prove it. Others parade around with the normals. For the most part, we are indistinguishable. No one can tell that beneath the gloss, the façade, we are itching to jump. Out of our skin, out of this life, out of a window. We are unsatisfied, uncomfortable.

We are made of victories, though. We have triumphed by not succumbing. We seek friends among the fellow wounded.

We’ve been recognizing each other since we could talk. It took a long time until we could explain what knew. Most of us still can’t explain it.

We are the victories. We prefer distraction. We joke, we drink, we run.

We run better than anyone. We’re running even when we’re standing still, even when we’re in your arms, even when we should be completely absorbed by whatever it is we’re doing. We suffer in the grind. We can say fuck you without saying a word. We can charm without a single word too. When we want to.

You won’t know what hit you.

And then when it all falls to pieces, we are never, ever surprised. It was already in pieces, you just couldn’t see it unless you were like us. We were surprised you ever accepted us in the first place. Surprised when you got the jokes. Or pretended to.

The victories are made of shards of glass. We’re like wind tunnels. We’re the single note of a dial tone.

Empty things. Things with no connectors.

Something didn’t catch for us, something didn’t latch on. We dangle. We need to be coerced to participate. And when we do, it’s reluctant. Because what. Is. The. Fucking. Point. And yet, if I choose it, if I decide something is worthy and brilliant – you won’t find more passion anywhere, especially among the normals.

The victories are laser beams. Passion is the flip side to our fuck you. It makes us worth it. Because that thing inside, the broken thing, it’s fractured but it’s made of light. Victories know that with certainty. We are full of light. Full of magic. The kind of vigor normals are drawn to sometimes, repulsed by other times – what’s wrong with you? They want to know. They’d love to know. Well, for most of us, we can’t tell you because we don’t know ourselves. Figuring out what sets us apart is our journey. Hoping that our fractured light has a place in the world – can you imagine, a home, a place of safety – is what keeps us alive. Fucking victorious.

I’m not running from it anymore. I’m not ashamed of what I am. Maybe one day I’ll embrace sunny days and graduations and make a highly valuable contribution to society. If it’s not that it will be something else. I’m no average bear. I know a thing or two, got a trick or two. Whichever way things go, I know that I’ll come out on top, feet on the ground, two steps ahead.

Victorious.

Today, literary agent and lawyer

I’ve just left from my semi-annual catch up with my agent. We’ve been at this for years, trying to get my book to market. 

“I don’t want to get you $1000 from a small press, I want to get you something big, random house, penguin…. I want your daughter to be like Tolkien’s kids, you know what I mean? We’re investing now to make a difference 50 years from now.” 

Um, ok. You had me at Tolkien. 

The editor he’s brought today has done a fresh read and we put her on the spot for feedback. 

She clears her throat, starts slow, refers to ways to beef up the opening scene. 

We probe. My agent, Sam, has read the book 13 times now! He needs her fresh perspective. 

“When did you really start liking her…. When did you really get what was going on….?” 

He goes to get another coffee and I ask the editor if she’d recommend the book to a friend. 

“Yeah… I really liked it…” 

Not convincing. But then we get talking again and the feeling is there – it’s at 90% (again) and needs a few changes. Move some things around. 

Sam calls himself a map maker. I think he means map puzzle maker, no? Moving around geography until we have the correct lay of the land. Authentic. Legitimate. Larger than life. A new world that’s never existed before. 

He wants me to drop some of the storytelling framework scenes and try a draft that’s more chronological. 

My heart sinks. 

Again? Bah. 

“Don’t be disheartened ….It’s not that bad.” He says and proceeds to explain the simplicity of the key changes. 

Raise the stakes. We want a brilliant literary debut. 

Ok Sam. 

We end the meeting on a promising note – it feels possible, and close. He wants me to start the book with a break up. 

“Break our hearts,” he says, genuinely. 

I get it. And he has no idea how poised I am to write that opening scene. 

We say goodbye and I go to the car feeling like everything is unfolding as it should. 

I write 1000 words of heartbreaking before leaving the parking lot. 

Now onto the lawyer appointment. 

What’s gotten into me? I feel like…. Me?! 

We must love ourselves, and be ourselves, because we are the only ones that know ourselves! 

Xo 

g

Let’s do this, universe. 

In the past 3 months I’ve been to New York, San Fransisco, Palo Alto, and North Carolina. I’ve stayed at the most luxurious of of hotels and eaten at the best restaurants. I’ve made expensive decisions and pulled off massive plans and presentations. I’ve kicked ass and…and been spoiled, at least in theory.

Yeah.

So…. I’m pretty ready to walk away from all of it, to tell you the truth.

Lastnight I got home from another business trip and my daughter gave me this bracelet for Mother’s Day. “Star, star, flower,” she said, “star, star, heart.” Because they’ve been working on patterns at school, and she was proud.

beaded-bracelet-pink-orange-kids-gift

I miss her absurdly. Too absorbed by work.

I miss me.

I don’t know if I’ve ever felt this way before – as if life was testing me. I feel like I’ve been on a vision quest, clearing away some psychological garbage to make way for a brand new life. Most of it has come to light through a job that very well could have eclipsed my writing dreams with its glamour and luxury globe-trotting opportunities — but you know what? It hasn’t.

My life as an author is calling. And I’m really not into ‘the finer things’ ALL the time. I prefer the full spectrum of things. With the finer things some of the time, for sure!

Oh – I feel like something just clicked right now actually.

I’ve never stepped away from something wonderful before.

Working in luxury hospitality is wonderful. Storytelling for an amazing brand is super cool. And I’ve got lots of ‘power’ to make decisions. My voice is heard. My voice is wanted – finally. But still, as wonderful as it is in theory, it’s just not fulfilling for me. Like, at all.

I used to always yearn for some perfect job in the hopes that it could quell some of my pipe dreams. Writer? C’mon – lousy pay, unlikely future. What are the chances? That cynicism in my psyche was holding me back. Live so large? Nah. Live my dream? How dare I even.

Being tested

But the past 9 months have been test after test, and most of them are tests of my integrity and strength… and vision.

What are you made of, girl? What if you could have this shiny cool thing instead of this other thing you think you want that will be more work for less apparent reward? 

Plus the strength of character tests….

Will I be able to handle it when its hard? Will I have a voice? Will I feel paranoid when people are saying things behind my back? Will I be intimidated by the people who are smarter and snobbier than me? Do I really, really want to be a lowly fiction writer when I could be traveling the world as a high-powered corporate executive?

Yes.

I can handle it, yes I will have a voice, and sometimes yeah, I might get intimidated – and that’s ok. Because I want it 110% more than I want to succeed in marketing.

This has been my life at work – test after test, of my character and values.

It’s been bringing these strange issues to the forefront of my mind… and I’m certain that these are the themes of the years to come. They are questions for the people who are exposed and ‘out there’ as opposed to hiding, anonymous mouse in the corner, too afraid to step out of my shell.

I am learning to be more comfortable with the real ME. I am slightly on the introverted side, more so when I’m nervous, and that my comfort zone is more bohemian than luxe. Doesn’t mean I’m not strong as a bull. Doesn’t mean I’m not street smart. Doesn’t mean I’m not a leader.

I’ve accepted the fact that I’m not always responsible, either. There are times when my mind carries me far, far, far away… into the depths of my imagination, and I can barely hear anything from the real world. At those times, I probably appear pretty passive, disengaged… not good things in the corporate world.  Doesn’t mean I’m not a valuable asset. Doesn’t mean I don’t care. But I’m not a type A – never will be.

I’m gonna do me
and be me
and stop the self flogging.

Yeah, there are people talking behind my back because in this industry everyone’s talking behind everyone’s back. And you know what? I don’t really care.

They’re not wrong…. I’m not as engaged in this job and this 9-5 life as I should be. And soon, someone who’s a better fit will come in and they’ll give they’re all, because they’ll want it 110%.

There is someone out there who’s dream is THIS. But my dream is something else.

I am so certain, so deep in my soul, that I was meant to be an author. 

I’ve been blessed with the most wonderful respectable job imaginable…. yet here I am, yearning to write everyday.

I haven’t been able to get comfortable in this job. I am constantly dealing with this internal struggle.

I just want my artistic freedom so badly it hurts.

I’m ready.

I JUST WANT MY WORDS TO BE READ – Let’s do this universe!

Im ready to take my spot on the bookshelf!

10 reasons I didn’t and wouldn’t self publish, told in GIFs

Hey, I’m not knocking it. It’s just not the route for me. But this is probably the most fun I’ve had writing a post.

So here is why I didn’t and won’t self-publish: 

1. Because I love to write and I hate to market myself. I work in marketing and love to market business and brands. But me, myself? Nahhhh…. not so much. I like to write, write, write. All day and all night.
jim_carrey_gif

2. I knew that my book needed someone else. An agent. To sell it well.

Agent-Smith-in-The-Matrix-the-matrix-22575315-560-240

I have great admiration for the people who have self-published. Hell, I even have great admiration for people with super successful blogs. But it wasn’t the route for me, and I think the reasons why it wasn’t for me gives a good picture of who it’s really right for.

When I met my agent, it was a few years after I had reluctantly put my novel in the bottom drawer, after pitching it to more agents and publishers than I care to admit. I had lived through a lot of rejection, and for the time being, given up.

3. I wanted to come to market with a bang

mic-drop

clapping-crowd-applause

4. I’m not much of an online reader. I’m not on Good Reads. I don’t have Kindle… or Tinder, for that matter.

Sorry Simon Cowell, but it’s true. I’m pretty old school for a digital girl.

simon-cowell-shock

5. Because I had been completely rejected by traditional publishers. And I took that with a grain of salt. But I also took the hint. My book wasn’t quite ‘ready’ for public viewing. Wasn’t hooking anyone in. Point Taken. Got it. FINE! (Didn’t want to self-publish a moderately shined turd with potential).

funny-rejection

6. Because I knew that it would flop without my heart in it. I couldn’t fake be excited to self-publish. I wasn’t into it. I knew I would have regretted it.

Displeased

7. Because I wanted someone to love it, first.

so-beautiful

I got pregnant in 2011, and a month before having my daughter, I met with my current agent (took a chance on a mutual connection and met for coffee, thinking it would probably go nowhere!) — and lo and behold, he liked my stuff. The next three years (up to today) have been a gruelling schedule of revisions. BUT – I feel good about the way it has all come to be and we’re finally going to market to publishers in a few weeks. 

And it’s been a god send to have so much editorial support (and proofreading!)

8. I suck at administration, really bad. Like really, really bad. I hate forms or all kinds with a vengeance. And pagination haunts me.

administration-frustration

9. Because my dream involved ‘the old school way’ – a publisher, a book tour, some events, some hotel rooms… and hopefully some pampering

Daddy-I-want-Another_pony

10. Because I’m too neurotic to be trusted with constant access to this number: every sale in every country, forever. Knowing me I’d check every second, and every minute, and I’d feel like this a lot of the time:

JIm-Carrey-Gif

OR THIS

scream

When my dream is to feel more like this:

chaplin-yay

Or more accurately, this:

Jennifer-Lawrence-happy

 

There was just something about writing a book in the first place that made me feel like this:

I-got-a-Harley-Davidson

 

And saying “I’m self-published” really compounded that for me.

I wouldn’t say one way is easier or harder – I just had to do it in a way that worked for me (stubborn, snobby at times, lazer focused always) but I totally commend those (self-starters, entrepreneurs, likeable and liked folks, devoted believers in their work!) that do it the other way.

There is no telling which is the better route. Just the one that feels right I guess.

This Glamorous Life

Met with my agent on Friday and he said my novel is tighter than ever and ready to go out at the end of the month, pending (as always) a few additions. But this time it’s FINAL draft, this is HAPPENING!

On D Day it will go to 60 publishers. SIXTY!

Dear lord please let one of those sixty fall madly in love with it.

Dreaming of book store readings and hard cover pyramids…… press interviews and teaching budding writers….. having time to write novel two…… getting a good review……… Oh my… could this really be happening?

“How long has it been?” he asked me, in the cafe.

“Three years of revisions, almost to the day,” I said.

“Really?” he said. “I thought it was only two.”

“My daughter’s turning three this month,” I said.

“Oh that’s right… when I met you you were pregnant……See? This is why not everybody does this. It’s hard, hard work.”

Damn right it is Sam. But Sooooooooo worth it. THIS IS MY DREAM, COMING TRUE!

I am ready. I am ready. I am ready for this!

Breakfast-at-Tiffanys-Audrey-Glamour

What happens after I sell my novel?

Look, I KNOW that this is a dream come true and I SHOULD be really, really excited. But I’m not that good at that. I’ll get there – and I’ll have my moments, but I’m really not used to having good things happen to me. I’m good at getting through life with GRIT, scaling the mountain of obstacles with a smile, keeping grace under fire, persevering.

But this? This dream come true stuff? *TERRIFYING*

I grew up in government housing. My 23 year old step-aunt (the younger sister of my mom’s 27-year old husband!) was shot in the neck at a night club when I was 17 so I spent most of Grade 12 in the hospital with her, hoping she could walk again (she did). I commuted an hour and a half to university and worked two jobs all the way through. Almost flunked out due to extreme intimidation and shyness. Drank my way through most of my problems.

Not the most sweet and simple life.

I wasn’t expecting success – at all.

But after 3 years revision work with my agent and associate editor I am sending him my final and approved draft on Friday.

I’m such a procrastinating wuss I’m terrified of this step!

What will happen? Will I get an advance that pays off my student loan finally? Will I travel the world? Will people actually read and love my wicked good book? (it is pretty damn good after all that work on it. Stellar actually. I’d read it.)

He says it’s now time for him to decide exactly how to pitch it and which publishers to pitch it to.

Dream come true… dream. come. true.

But I’m so bad at reality that dreams coming true just means anxiety. LOL.

Wish me luck,

XO, Georgey.

As per usual, feeling like this:

Princess Anna with a Frozen Dress
Princess Anna with a Frozen Dress