Maybe a month. Seriously. That’s all I’m asking. One measly month and I’ll go back to work both barrels blazing. I’ll be ready to go and completely focused on the upcoming Christmas season.
Is that too much?
God help me.
But seriously, one month and I’ll have everything I need done, done. And maybe I’ll have my personal life figured out as well.
But I don’t like to talk about that. Not without feeling like a complete idiot, anyway.
How hard can one’s personal life really be to sort out?
On my plate are three books plus two short stories one of which is being edited, the other is being written in between sorting out just what the hell this blog post is really going to be about and finishing off the second part to the prologue of the third book in the line up. The one I’m co-authoring.
Which I’m so completely excited about.
Maybe this post will be an actual ramble. An author ramble. Is that a thing? Can we make that a thing?
Hell with it. I’m making it a thing.
Recently I’ve gotten into watching wrestling. Not just WWF (WF?), WWE or TNA, but the indie stuff. ROH and the like. Now, when I was a kid and my dad and sister were watching the WWF and shouting right along with the television:
“DO YOU SMELL, WHAT THE ROCK……….is cooking?”
I would pop in and say with a lofty expression and a hint of scorn on my five year old lips: “You know all of that stuff is fake, right?”
To which they would reply with distaste; “It is not! It’s all REAL!”
It’s not, we all knew it wasn’t, but they were so into it I just couldn’t let them have the satisfaction of becoming immersed in their little world of ego, metal chairs, and strange moves that looked something like a belly flop with an equally ridiculous name. That was bonding that dad and little sister just could not have. Not without me, anyway. But, I was so intent on hating the entire institution of wrestling that I vowed to my tiny self I would hate it and its ridiculous over the top showmanship for the rest of my life.
Fast forward twenty years and I’m staring intently at a 54″ television screen hoping the guy with the long hair beats the crap out of the guy beating him. I want him to win. Not because it’s handsome men with muscle mass and broad shoulders, not because there’s blood on the canvas, not because it’s two guys looking like they’re beating the snot out of each other, but because the story that they have going is telling me I want the guy getting his long hair pulled to kick the shit out of the guy doing the pulling.
It’s that damn interesting.
At one o’clock in the morning.
Wrestling should not be that interesting at one o’clock in the morning.
But it was. And it wasn’t because of what the wrestlers said or the entrances they gave themselves (you know with the lights and the smoke) but the commentators and the story that was being explained as these two men in very little clothing did battle in a tradition started by the Greeks. The visual kept my eyes focused, the running commentary kept my mind engaged.
Sort of like the horse races. Or the Olympics. Yes, you’re watching the competitors, but it’s the guy up in the booth and what he’s saying that’s keeping your heart rate up and screaming for your horse or your athlete to win. They’re explaining to you the backstory-how the horse or the athlete got to be where they are-engaging your emotional response, bonding you to that one particular athlete/horse you’ve chosen for the duration of the race.
For the duration of the match I was rooting for the guy they wanted me too. By clever writing. Yes, wrestling matches are scripted. Winners are chosen and play sheets are given. According to my friend; some wrestlers need to have the entire match scripted, others are good with improving as long as they know the beginning, middle, and outcome. Everything else is fair game.
But there’s a difference. A stark difference between ‘indie’ and the WWE.
The WWE has plenty of money to spend on their wrestlers; the costumes, the music, the entrances, the whole shebang.
Indie matches remind me of something a school sets up in their basketball court. On a Friday night when the television is out because of bad weather and no one can get the kickoff game on their iPhone because the cell tower decided it didn’t want to work for the day.
Everyone get your Red Solo Cup and find a seat, the match is about to begin!
But, whilst one is all show and very little substance, the other is its antithesis. All story and moderate show. Sure there’s entrances and a pay-per-view option, but it’s about the wrestling. The gimmick is still there, but the wrestlers are in it because they love the sport. And maybe the chance to adopt a different personality for a little while.
The ‘baby face’ or the ‘heel’. The good guy or the bad guy.
It was a rush to have all eyes on me on stage as Thing 1 in Seussical the Musical (even if I was just a running stage hand dancing around with a roast beast), I can only imagine the surge of adrenaline got by having people cheer or boo respectively.
And it was fun to watch.
More fun to sit through than a WWE match where the wrestlers spend more time stroking their own ego than mucking about on the canvas.
Now, you’re probably expecting me to make the argument for indie authors. And I am going too. Sort of.
Why? Well, because it’s an expectation, and there are parallels.
And maybe I’ll make a case for the big names, too.
Indie authors write because they want too. Some write because they have too, have no other way of expressing themselves (or who are like me and eschew talking about their feelings because it’s too goddamn difficult to articulate audibly and accurately), or know no other way of being who they are. There’s love there. Yes, everyone wants to make money. Who doesn’t? But, there’s a reason why they call it ‘starving artist’ and those are the risks indies are willing to accept. Albeit with the hope that one of the Big 6 picks them up, recognising their books for the gems that they are big pay check and multi-book contract in hand, waiting to be signed.
And indies are around because they’ve always been around.
What do you think ‘B’ movies were?
Way back when Hollywood was getting started there were two movies shown at the theatres. A movies and B movies. One and two. One first, the second after a short intermission.
The A movies had the big names. The Bs were there to fill seats, were often poorly funded and were sometimes so outrageous that studios weren’t too sure about funding them. So, you know, indie as far as I can see it.
The publishing industry is exactly like Hollywood, exactly like the WWE, heavy with the A names because they’re going to sell merchandise. The indie movement is the underground, rife with talent that no one really wants to touch because they’re not sure of the ‘merchandising’ that can be gained.
People often talk about an ‘it’ factor. Either you have ‘it’ or you don’t. Actors are a good example. Well, they were until someone allowed Megan Fox into the movies and kept giving Jennifer Aniston work.
The sad thing about wrestling is that many people don’t give the competitors credit as actors. Or stuntmen. I’m sorry, but I disagree. They are both. What they do takes talent. All of it, from the wrestling, to the belief in the backstory written for them to pull of the feeling that an anger management session or two would do them some serious good.
In the WWE, as far as I can remember it, the commentators weren’t really too concerned with what was going on in the ring. Maybe in the beginning they would be-or were-but eventually the conversation became about something else. Less about the wrestler and more about what was coming up.
My five year old self was ruined on the whole attitude of it. My twenty five year old self appreciates the commentators who spend their time telling me about the wrestlers and the moves they’re doing because, without it, I’d be changing the channel quick fast and in a hurry.
Hollywood has become the same thing. Quick with the funding, not too concerned with the substance of a movie. If it’s got special effects they’ll make it. Heavy on the CG? Great! For me the old movies are the best. The black and white, hokey movies that you can tell the guy is in a costume still delight me. It’s not about the visual, it’s about the story and the acting. Because one has to act well when one is faced with a guy in a green leotard with question marks all over it.
As for writing? The Big Six set themselves up as the authority on publishability. Their gatekeepers are the agents that make it their business to tell authors yes or no. Oftentimes that yes is accompanied by a ‘can we….?’ because the book needs to be dumbed down or spruced up because it has to sell. Money needs to be made.
The indies don’t have the filters. Not really, at least. Editors are there, sure. People set themselves up as publishers promising huge sales numbers for a small down payment of an arm and a leg. Jerry rigged sound systems, home built stages, done-it-yourself cover art.
It’s all brilliant, really. And all so deliciously misleading.
Judge a book by its cover all you want. Nine times out of ten, you’ll be right. But there is that chance. That one out of ten that you’ll open the Harper Collins novel and find a story with a lacklustre plot. Or turn on the WWE and find that you’re not interested in what ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin is recovering from to get him into the final match. Maybe you’ll listen to Green Day and realise that you’re not into the ’emo’ scene any more, that they really are just dudes whining about their own ineptitude in this thing called life.
Conversely, maybe you’ll open that indie book and find that, behind that less-than-stellar cover, is a story that amazes and changes you. That indie match your buddy wanted you to watch two months ago? Maybe that will rekindle your love of wrestling. The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing might just be the punk rock kick in the arse your iTunes library was dying for.
And B movies?
B movies are awesome.
Shut up and go watch Mystery Science Theatre 3000.