As previously mentioned, I participated in a community group of free story-tellers. The topic for this month is Freedom. Plus, we had to add lyrics to a song.
While reading this aloud, I watched the audience's faces. They resembled the painting, The Scream. Afterwards, quite a few politely said, "It's quite deep."
In other words, they thought it sucked. But, I sold copies of Five-Star FLEECING afterwards.
PS: Please don't take this short story personal!
by Maura Stone
"Blogging's a necessary evil," advised my friend. "Today, it's all about buzz. Forget about rave reviews from literary critics. People don't care anymore. If they love the blog, they'll splurge and buy your books."
I sighed. "Although it's a terrific idea, like, who needs another blog? I got a bigger problem. I lack an internal filter." It's true. I've a condition where I disclose to everyone whatever's going on in my mind and in my life. No doubt that'll spill into the blog. "Say, do I really need an audience to witness what a mess I am and how my life's falling apart?"
Without hesitation, she responded, "Yep. It may help them relate to a LITERARY writer."
That snarky allusion refers to winning a national book award for comedy where I'm labeled a contemporary American literary novelist. Accompanying that honor was an immediate dearth and death of book sales. For who wants to read literature despite its bawdiness and hilarity?
Out of despair, I started a comedy blog. I wrote a few posts in one month and got three readers. Encouraged, I added ten more the following month with a significant bump up. Then I posted every day over four months watching readership balloon.
But, at what a price! The blog consumes my life where I stopped editing and revising a major tome which took a year to compose. Each morning I stagger awake screaming, "Not again!" Like a demented Flaubert, I hunch over my laptop, toiling feverishly to produce short stories, populating them with new content to avoid boring my readers. In pursuit of original material, I write about everything which occurs or had occurred in my life. No one and nothing's exempt. Including my boyfriend.
Puzzled, he said, "I know you don't have an internal filter, but still, why do you have to write about us?"
Flippantly, I responded, "It's blog fodder that my readers love." As consolation, I added, "C'mon, we know it's fiction."
He grimaced. "But your readers don't. Great. They think I'm crazy. Awesome." He still chafed from constant goading and mirth at each new post.
When my friends supplanted what actually occurred with what I blogged in several posts, dumbstruck, I said, "You were there when this happened. Can't you tell the difference between fiction and reality? Or did they suddenly merge?"
My boyfriend groaned. "See what I'm talking about?!"
"Surreal," I said, shaking my head. "I literally rewrote history."
Along with the blog's popularity came unanticipated fame. People now cross streets to avoid talking to me. A neighbor threatened litigation even though I never wrote about her. Apple, Time-Warner and AT&T sent warning emails although my on-going problems with them now get resolved with alacrity. And the FedEx guy stopped delivering my packages, fearful of a confrontation. Meanwhile, readership grew and grew.
Finally, my friend held an intervention, something which I intend to blog about.
"You gotta stop writing about us even though it's fiction. Can't you see you're pissing off a lot of people? And some of them have guns."
"Well, what about my readers?" I moaned.
She tsked. "What about them? Tell me, have you sold any books from this?"
Like a dose of cold water, I came to my senses. Yes, my readers enjoy stories about my dalliances with the FedEx guy, crazed neighbors, insane bouts with customer service, my failed romances, UFO tales, my current boyfriend and forays down memory lane. Not for nothing they call me the Taylor Swift of Comedy bloggers!
Yet, the love isn't enough to purchase my books. Or perhaps, why buy the cow when the milk's for free?
The last blow came from a heart-to-heart with my boyfriend. "Sometimes I feel you use me as blog fodder."
I almost pointed out that some of the greatest literature could be interpreted as period blog pieces about the authors' romances. Instead, I said, "You got a point."
So, I'm taking a bit of a vacation from blogging. Rather, incrementally reducing output. Besides, I gotta revise and edit my tome. And publish three books in a series I let languish.
This is a message to my dear blog readers, an excerpt from George Michael's Freedom '90:
I won't let you down
So please don't give me up
cause I would really, really love to stick around, oh yeah
In other words, please buy my books so I can afford to blog!
FYI: My blog is: KISS-keepitsimpleschmuck.blogspot.com
# # #