‘Buzz’ off

I found myself apologising recently (it happens often). But then I had to go back and think on why I was apologising. Had I done something wrong? Nope. Had I offended someone with my oft-ill thought out views? Nu’uh.

So why was I saying sorry?

I was defending the fact I have really short hair.

Yup.

I was trying to explain to a lady that I am a femme lesbian – I like long hair, paint my nails and wear makeup. I own dresses and am learning how to dress for curves. (Turns out miniskirts are not the way to go when your thighs are the size of most women’s waists…why did nobody tell me this?). But she was insistent on the hair issue – if I was femme, why do I have a buzz cut?

I tried to explain that it all fell out because of medication. But then it became some kind of confessional – I don’t want potential dates to necessarily know I’ve been ill. They don’t need to know that straight off the bat, and when they do there is often the reaction of  ‘Oh. Well… so anyway yeah when I was on this date last week…’ and they slip through my fingers.

I’m not ashamed of being ill. But I don’t see why it should define me. If I want to go out and have a bit of fun, why should I be paranoid about revealing the heavy doses of chemo I’ve been facing? People don’t know how to deal with it, and it becomes awkward. Either they ask lots and lots of questions, turning a potential date into a research session, or they can’t deal with it, make their excuses and leave.

Hello? There’s more to me than chemo, you know.

You be trippin’…no, really.

I kept hold of this one until I found it funny. At the time, it was mortifying, but now I see the funny side…

So, something they don’t tell you about some chemo drugs is that they can have an effect on your brain. In other words, you be trippin’ balls. It doesn’t always happen, and you might not even notice it if it’s a slight distortion of reality – maybe you think you see a shadow from the corner of your eye or something – but sometimes it’s just unavoidable.

The only time this really affected me was on what seemed to be a benign trip to the supermarket. Suddenly, the numbers on the price tags got all jumbled. Then they peeled off the shelf, which preceded to also melt in front of my eyes. Moving to the next aisle, because the sight of liquefying bacon was disturbing me, I realised the entire shop was melting into a river below my feet. Price tags floated by, eggs bobbed along, and I was going to drown.

So I reached for the paddle in front of me. I was standing on a small raft – as you do – and realised I needed to punt to safety. Faces came at me, like three dimensional Dali paintings, and I heard voices. I realised these were people who would also drown if they didn’t come aboard. So I tried to help them. When they didn’t want to come on board, I left them and continued to paddle.

The world eventually solidified again.

I had been punting down the bread aisle with a French loaf. Apparently, it is Not OK to punt your tripping raft down a supermarket aisle with an oversized baguette. What a waste of 80p; I couldn’t even eat the loaf they made me buy, as my attempts at steering to safety had made the loaf mere crumbs.

I only wish I could see the CCTV of these poor supermarket workers trying to ask if I was OK and telling me to put the bread down. I lucked out with the GP surgery being directly opposite the supermarket and someone having the sense to go and grab a doctor – who happened to be the same doctor who has been seeing me regularly because of said medication. The doctor confirmed I wasn’t tripping on anything illegal and I was let free (after purchasing useless bread and the imposing of an unspoken ban on my return for fear of creating a reputation for the supermarket being a crazy magnet).

Next time, I might just take some ecstasy and keep the same doc on speed dial (oh look, unintended pun right there. Gotta love those) to bail me out of my wired trips on the same excuse…yeah….

Kids: Don’t do chemo. It messes with your head.

Social media and writing, part 2

Dear authors,

I am not just interested in your latest book. Please interact with me and others on Twitter without always telling me that you have a latest release. Sometimes, yes, that’s fine. But don’t litter my feed with constant self-promotion.

Cheers,

Evelyn

Having been launched into the world of Twitter, and since my last post about creating an online platform for writers, this has been my number one pet peeve. In fact, it’s more a pet peeve because these people always seem to have tons of followers, while I tirelessly plug away at creating my ‘brand’ – ie personality representation online – and have not so many followers. (If you’re feeling so inclined… @EvelynRoseFict).

This seems backwards to me. I thought the whole point of having an online presence was to create interest not just in your work, but to engage with others in the industry, other people and generally interact. I don’t know anyone who enjoys blatant marketing like that. Do you?

The other reason this has annoyed me is because I’m verging on Twitter addiction. (See Obsessions). But this isn’t quite so bad as an obsession because it’s sociable. That’s what I keep telling myself and that’s the story I’m sticking to thankyoupleaseverymuch.

I am genuinely interested in other writers and what they have to say – even from a purely selfish point of view where I can see if my work really does have a market niche or is already being done by others. The research aspect of online communities is vital; but in doing my research I’d like to speak to more people who are interested in more than just self-promotion. Of course, I speak with exceptions here – there are some great, interactive and engaged writers and forums out there – but come on. How am I going to buy your book when all I know about it is how amazing you think it is?

And now, I realise I have turned full circle (technically 180 degrees but let’s skim over that, numbers aren’t my thing – I’m a writer, daahling). I’ve gone from not understanding the point of social media to realising why it is so important in this technology age: screen out the nutters and bad conversationalists (if you can’t hold an online conversation how have you written a good book?) and welcome in the engaged, intelligent, talented people who are there. Really, they are, I promise. You just have to dredge through the rubbish to find them…