Okay, I’m just kidding. Nothing makes me happier than having readers download my books, whether or not they’re free.
But, seriously, this is getting insane. I have no clue where all these people are coming from. The numbers long surpassed the amount of followers I have on my blog. And I only advertised the Smashwords sale on my blog. And only deranged lunatics would download the same eBooks over & over & over, ad infinitum.
And I like to think my followers are not deranged lunatics. It reflects better on me when they aren’t. My followers are all really cool, smart people!
Anyway, it just astounds me. Where do they come from? And now people are starting to download Freak Parade like crazy. I have no clue why all of the sudden that happened.
And what’s funny is that almost no one downloads Twilight of the Immortal. It has erotic sex scenes in it, but it is certainly not graphic sex. And it is really well written fiction. But nobody wants it! They’d rather have, I don’t know, 5 pages of graphic fellatio or something. It’s just so funny.
I’ll tell you, though, sometimes I read over these old stories (from The Muse Revisited Series) and I am frequently flabbergasted. The short story titled August on the Lake (in Vol.3) was written expressly for a French publisher and was immediately translated into French (as Aout sur le lac). I think the only English version of the story is in The Muse Revisited.
I was told that, in French, it was a really beautiful story. That it was literature and not the usual smut. (Thank you. I like to think that my entire life is beautiful literature and not the usual smut! Anyway.) I’d forgotten that it was written specifically for a French publisher and for an anthology about: Yes, fellatio. And as I re-read it, years after its publication, I was dumbfounded. Why would I go on & on about fellatio here? It was not a topic my work was ever really known for. It actually made me uncomfortable to re-read it. Like, What the hell was on my mind when I wrote this strange story that seems to be, in a lot of ways, about my second husband?
Eventually I figured it out. But really, I don’t remember any of my stories verbatim. And if I happen to re-read one, it becomes brand new to me, and I’m reading it as any other reader would and oftentimes the stories are a little shocking. Yes, even to me. If a story wasn’t written for a specified topic, then the stories almost always reflect something that’s going on in my mind, my world, my relationships, my life. (A reflection, not a memoir…) And sometimes it’s just too intense to revisit it.
“Awake in the Dream of Life” was only published once in print (although it’s included in the eBook, Dirty Filthy Lovely: Dark Erotica). A woman originally published it, even though she wasn’t really happy about it but she wanted me in her anthology of popular women writers so she published it – I guess in the category of: Popular Women Writers Who Are Out of Their Fucking Minds.
When I re-read the story several years ago, I was, like, Holy Moly. No wonder women were upset by this story. Men loved it, of course. Men into BDSM, I mean. One of my long-time publishers at the time read the piece and said it was the best thing I ever wrote but that he could never publish a story like that; he wouldn’t want to deal with the reader backlash.
At the time, I just could not understand why people were so upset. But I was in such a bad place and had no clue my mental state had sunk into that. Happily, though, it is now documented for all time! Because I’m a writer and I write stuff and out it goes — into the world!
I’m not even really kidding, you know? It’s one of the reasons I don’t actively seek “followers” on any of my social media accounts. If you want to be following me, thank you. That’s great. It is. But you have to actually want to be here of your own volition because only God knows what I am going to wind up putting into your world.
It was one of the reasons I was actively seeking obscurity. I had no control over the amount of people coming into my world by way of my writing. In the old days, I had thousands and thousands of people reading my blog every day. And those weren’t “followers” because there was no such thing back then. They were actual readers, every day. And nothing I could think or do or say was private anymore. Including, naturally, my family.
MOTHER: “Are you really that much of a drunk??!! Is that all you do is sit around and drink booze??!!”
ME: “Um, no, I was just being funny on the blog.”
COLLEAGUE IN SOME FOREIGN COUNTRY: “Is that what you really think about my writing??!!”
ME: “Um, no, I was just being funny on the blog.”
FATHER: “Is that what you really think about the President of the United States??!!”
ME: “Um, yes, that’s what I really think about the President of the United States.”
And for that comment, I was promptly disowned, disinherited, cast off, forgotten by my adoptive father. Seriously. Blogs can be a real pain, and sometimes damaging to me, when people are actually reading them.
But my attempts to live here in Crazyland in obscurity have come to naught. I mean, I don’t want my career to be obscure. I just wanted my private life to be obscure within the town I am living. But it just doesn’t work if you have a blog that people read. Obscurity is an impossibility.
The other day, when I said that Kara was my only friend out here in the Hinterlands, someone wrote to me, personally, and reminded me that she was my friend, too. Oh gosh. Of course you are. I’m so sorry if I hurt your feelings. I had no idea you were reading my blog…
And then also the other day, my niece, who doesn’t live too awfully far from Crazyland, sent me a link to an essay she wrote. She wants to be a writer, like me. It was a good piece of writing, but it was all about how she struggles with depression.
And I was, like: No, no, no! This is not acceptable. You were born to have a life that was better than mine.
When my niece was born, it was at a time in my life and in my marriage when I was coming to grips with the fact that I was going to remain childless. I was so excited for my brother when his daughter was born. And I was excited for me, too. A little girl, connected to me, who gets to have a much, much better life than mine was. A life not full of the garbage I had to deal with. And yet, all these years later, she’s dealing with depression. And here I blog about my crippling depressions and I guess I make it seem somehow okay.
But it’s not. It’s not an acceptable way to live. Her life is supposed to be better than mine.
Well, how is she supposed to know that, I had to ask myself; if you ignored her for most of her life?
Because I had a falling out with my brother – but the outcome for my niece was still the same. I was gone from her life from the time she was 4.
Choosing obscurity, choosing to isolate – I see now that it isn’t really very fair to other people, because they still exist. I know I still have to find a balance between the people who are toxic to me and the people who aren’t; and how to protect my private life but still be a public writer. But I’ve got to deal with it.
That balance is tricky for me, but I’m learning. When I consulted that reader in London a couple weeks ago, as a Christmas present for myself, I knew I was having some very serious problems with my mind. I needed help finding my balance; to feel grounded again, to get clarity. How to show up in the world as myself, and not to detach and dissociate.
The reader in London was so helpful to me. He really was. He told me what I needed to work on, 3 times a day for twenty minutes each time. And he said, “Stick with it, and in 3 days things will begin to turn around. And if you stay with it for a month, you will be amazed by the difference in your life.”
Well, he was certainly correct. Everything is changing, sort of at warp speed. And I think this indescribable frenzy of eBook downloads is part of the river of change. That flow. Suddenly, more and more people are also following the blog, and all my other social media accounts. People are just suddenly showing up, you know? Including my niece. And yesterday, even Mob Guy #2 returned very suddenly and said, “Please, Marilyn. Come on. I’m still waiting for you to come back to me.”
What the heck??!! Where did you come from all of the sudden??!! (My answer was still no, but it was nice to be so suddenly thought of, so intensely.)
I mean, it’s certainly not bad stuff, but it is a lot of stuff. And I have to step up and be accountable for all of it, even the stuff that I totally fucked-up and can’t repair, because I’m not obscure. I do exist in the world. So. It has been very, very interesting. To say the least.
Okay, you guys have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for visiting Crazyland!! I’m always happy to see your bright, shining faces. I love you guys! Take care and see ya.
PS: I don’t actually live in Crazyland. It’s a play on words – on the name of the actual town I live in, which was founded by a Mr. Samuel Frazey in 1828.