Thursday, March 26, 2015

Death by a Thousand Cuts

This is Sam Elliot. It was actually the 'mustache rides" t-shirt that made this win over all the other images that came up under my "crazy mustache biker dude" search.

This is what I must have looked like today at Princess Nails when I had my brow waxed and my insanely huge mustache threaded. I'd noticed a few hairs that were darker than blonde and though I should take care of it before I go downhill fast. I can't just wax my lip thanks to the cold sores I get whenever that space is abused. Hence, threading. Holy Mary, Mother of God. I left with tears streaming down my face, trying to smile as I paid for this torture.

Why subject myself to this? Well, I'm going to a writing conference.

What does my mustache have to do with writing? This is the big question. The real answer? Nothing. However, in an effort to look like a well-groomed, confident, competent, not-crazy person, I put a lot of time into getting into my writerly character. This involves shaving my legs regularly, not just the day I need it, so that my skin looks healthy, nourished, and isn't covered in red bumps. It also involves reacquainting myself with my flat-iron and make-up bag. It means a more regular skin regime, not just using a daily moisturizer with spf30. Why? Because most people put more effort into their appearance than I do on a daily basis and, during a conference, I have to fake it in such a way that it seems natural. It's akin to Renee Zellweger putting on weight and taking on a job at a British publishing company to prepare for Bridget Jones's Diary (only much less cool.) I pretend to be socially acceptable and hope it sticks for the duration of the conference.

The amount of which I simply do not care about how I look would astound most people. This is offset by occasional bouts of caring, but not enough to actually do anything on a regular basis. At conferences I plan to promote myself like a high priced whore (without the sex). It's what I always do. Usually I'm sort of hyped about the process, ready to conquer the world, and the Stanislavskian character development/method acting begins a good month in advance.

Not so this time. I leave tomorrow for Los Angeles and I just gave in to the self-inflicted pressure and took one small step towards my packaging (losing the mustache I didn't even know I had). I made the monetary investment and allowances for time away from my family a while ago, but I haven't committed to my pre-conference prep. Why? I don't seem to care. Yeah-- I know, it's dumb. I mean, I care like crazy about getting published but, lately, when I think about pitching, I just get tired. I don't know if can be that go-getter who is serious about her career (I am very serious, btw), smiling at strangers and trying to network. I think the problem is that there is only so much abuse a person's ego can take. How many times do I get told the industry doesn't want my manuscripts before I start to believe it? I might be there already. I'm pitching my finished work this time, but I've stopped seeing them as viable and count only on my works in progress when I think about the possibility of that first deal. I've lost steam.

This could be a good thing. I mean the high-on-life social butterfly I force myself to be at these things hasn't worked. It's possible I come off as on crack (not the first time I've heard that) and am off-putting. Maybe, the new, relaxed conference version of me will be more appealing. Heck, maybe I should just go for hard-to-get and make myself a challenge. If you can spark MY interest, you might get to represent my three historical romance novels, two supernatural romantic suspense novels, and possibly my contemporary romances (if you're lucky). I'll be aloof and mysterious. Come and get me.

Yeah, I don't have high hopes for that either.  So, as it stands, I will probably doll up (professional with personal touches that speak to artistry) and pretend to be gregarious then sleep hard for a week. We shall see.

If you see me at the California Dreamin' Conference, please say hello. I'm friendly even if I'm not naturally outgoing. Or, maybe I will be on crack and say hello to you first. Who know's? It's a mystery.


Susan Kane said...

Threading is an experience to be savored. And not by the weak of heart.
I think you are in a good place, about your books. Steady, confident in who you are, not who those scum-suckers are. Yes, I know.

Caryn Caldwell said...

You know, I think all writing conference participants should sign a pact beforehand where we promise to wear yoga pants and messy ponytails. That way we're ALL comfortable, and since no one looks less-groomed than anyone else, everyone looks fine by default. Deal?

P.S. Hope you had a great time at your conference!

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