"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Prize Darts, Part Deux

Just when I had completed basking in the glow of Helen Ginger's gift of the Premio Dardos, the lovely and talented Morgan Mandel also chose me for this auspicious award. One of the great things about getting Prize Darts is that I've found even more writers with wise and witty things to say out in the blogosphere. I found them all through my publisher's blogsite, The Life of a Publisher. I wish I could have them all over for a dinner party - what discussions we'd have!

Speaking of darts, being recognized sure came in handy this week. It was nice to have a cyber-hug to offset the ego-spanking I received.

Back in 1983, I received my Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Cal State, Fullerton. For the next 20 years, I designed, coded, tested and fielded software systems from ghost radar, to military communications, to using GPS to land planes. And yet, I lived in fear that when I visited my family, they'd tell me since they got their Dells and can open an Excel spreadsheet, they do what I do for a living. Because that's the way my family is. Amazingly, no one did, mostly because they couldn't understand what the hell I even did for my paycheck.

Now that I've got a weekly newspaper column, a short story in the new anthology, MISSING, and a brand new book, FREEZER BURN, coming out, the chickens have come home to roost. Over the holidays, one of my relatives (let's keep him anonymous) told me he's writing a children's book. A man who never graduated from high school because (in his words) "school is for losers", who rarely spent more than five minutes with his children because he didn't know what to do with them, is writing a children's book. Yeah. Good luck with that.

Along with this relative's belief that anyone could do what I do, a writer-colleague absolutely stunned me when I told her of my deal with Echelon and she said, "What's the big deal? They're a vanity press, right?" (KAREN - PUT THE KNIFE DOWN, NOW!) I set her completely straight, to the point of squeezing an apology from her, but I was shocked. She had been nothing but complimentary about my work, congratulating any of my contest wins, but a book deal must have been too much for her to handle.

So, honestly, how do you handle these kinds of remarks without resorting to violence? Or heavy drinking?


L.J. Sellers said...

Just quote them some great reviews and remind them that you are multi-talented.

Helen Ginger said...

Gayle, do you know what this means? We're related. Cousins or something. I have some of those same relatives. We're going to smack into each other at the next family reunion.

I think you handled the situation in a most excellent manner.

Gayle Carline said...

LJ - I plan to, as soon as someone reads my book and I have some great reviews to share!

Helen - I'll save some potato salad for you.

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