Monday, March 30, 2009

Public responses to criticisms I've gotten lately.

Being up several hours before dawn was even a consideration, I wanted to spend some time working on Dream Weaver while everyone still slept and the world was still quiet. Things didn't work out that way, though. My brain got a little scrambledy while I was catching up on email over tea and cinnamon toast.

It wasn't too long ago that I got some rather hate-filled emails and comments on my blogs. At first, I thought everything was from one person, but after several weeks of consideration, I'm not so sure. A large portion of the hatred and anger aimed at me does seem to be the work of the same person, but there are certain messages that... well, they seem too logical and coherent and far less abusive to be from the woman I originally thought they were from. And that's had me thinking; maybe some of these issues need to be addressed by me.

One theme that several of the more coherent/less abusive communications had was that I'm a fraud. A phony. A fake. Why? Well, because the writer(s) had ferreted out that Rubi Jayne is not my given, married, or legal name. This was "discovered" after "alot of investigation".

I have... two... primary reactions to this topic. (1) "Why the hell is someone investigating me so bloody thoroughly??" and (2) "Well, duh, never said it was."

The first reaction is a defensive instinct that stems from having had bad experiences with people I've met on the internet who were more than just a little bat-shit crazy and who ended up with my home address and way too much information about/access to my kid. (Which, you know, also explains a fair amount of the "why do I use a pseudonym" question.)

The second reaction is, well, from the more smart-ass side of my personality. I mean, did these people read ANY of my Rubi Jayne bios/blurbs at all? My twitter bio reads:
I write erotica (maybe even a bit of erotic romance) under the name Rubi Jayne when I'm not doing mom things. Sometimes even when I am.
My bio/blurb most everywhere else reads:
Rubi Jayne is the provocative secret identity of a quiet wife and mother that writes steamy sex-filled stories. In the true nature of secret identities she has been honing her skills in private for almost a decade while pretending to plan the weekly menu or balance the household budget.

The woman sometimes known as Rubi Jayne lives in Florida with her husband, child, and two cats. She enjoys making chain maille, taking pictures, doing jigsaw puzzles, and confusing people when she's not writing or cleaning up after her family. She's also convinced that if she weren't married, she would be a secret agent having all sorts of exotic adventures and wild sex all over the world.
Gee, ya think somebody might be using a pseudonym?

Unlike a lot of writers that use pseudonyms for whatever reason they have, I'm admitting it right up front. In fact, I admit that I use two. I write erotic romance, romance, and pure erotica under Rubi Jayne. Anything associated with the Rubi Jayne persona/name is some shade of pink. I write fantasy, action/thrillers, and young adult under another name. Anything associated with that name is some shade of blue. It makes it simple for my daughter: anything that's pink, she isn't allowed to read until she's 18; anything in blue, she's allowed to read now. It also makes it easy to step away from more adult genres when I need to.

I take precautions to guard my real identity, and probably will for at least another six years. After that, who knows. And in case you're wondering "why six years?", that's when my child turns eighteen.

Another theme that was present focused on my lack of regular updating, whether it be on twitter or on my blogs.

Ok, so I suck at blogging. I've blogged about how much I suck at blogging. Truth is, I just don't have a lot to say that anyone would want to hear/read. I'm not an expert on writing. I'm not an expert on socializing. I'm not an expert on anything. I don't maintain my personal life blog any better than I do my writing blogs. I mean, really, who wants to see my weekly menu or read about how my cat puked in my husband's shoe or anything else from my very normal, very mundane life?

As for twitter, well, I take days off. If I'm not at my computer, chances are I'm not going to be updating too much, if at all. If I'm deeply engrossed in what I'm writing, my twitter feed will be very quiet. Then there are times when I just have nothing to say and enjoy watching what everyone else is doing/saying. Or maybe I'm engaged in one of my other interests.

Which brings me to something else that was brought up to me recently: the amount of time I spend writing, or rather, the amount of time I don't spend writing or "networking" on the internet. It seems that my taking weekends and various days/nights "off" to spend with my only child and husband (and, on occasion, extended members of my family)... offends... some people. Or maybe it's just that I'm open about it. I don't know. Anyway, the predominant line of thinking, from what I've gathered and been told, is that I'm not a "real writer" because I choose to spend some days not writing or editing and, in fact, don't think about writing at all. I'll "never be successful" because I'm not "interacting with [my] fans" on a daily basis. ( o.O I have fans? Really?!) I really have to bite my tongue on this one because what I want to say isn't polite. In fact, it's downright rude. But then, a little voice in the back of my head reminds me, so is telling me that I'm not a real writer and will never be successful because I put my family ahead of my writing.

Yes, I complain about my family eating up a lot of my writing time, but they're still in the process of learning that mom (that's me) needs personal time and time to do things she wants. I have dedicated and devoted my life to them for years. I gave up a promising career when my child was born so I could stay at home to raise her. I took temporary jobs whenever finances dictated and I happily gave them up once things stabilized, for the good of my family. I have, for more than a decade, neglected my advanced education... MY life... so that I could focus on taking care of my family. It was a choice that I made, and I have no regrets.

I know there are women out there that manage to hold jobs, take care of family, and have a personal social life all at the same time. I'm happy for them. I really am. More power to them. I'm not one of them. Me? I'm not Wonder Woman. First of all, I'm not that skinny. Secondly, I don't have those kick ass bullet-reflecting bracelets or that ever-so-cool Lasso of Truth. But in all seriousness, I'm not one of those women that wants to "have it all". Except for my constant computer usage and love of heavy metal music, I'm not so much a "modern woman". Oh, and AC. I love my air conditioner. And my freezer. And my jeans. But anyway, I made a choice to focus my full energy and attention on my family for a time. That's a choice I made, based on beliefs and values that I have, and because I (and my husband) believed it was the best thing for our family. Living in America, I have that freedom. I don't expect anyone else to understand, and I certainly don't judge anyone else for making the choices they've made.

It's only been in the last few years that my family has needed me less than they did before and, as my daughter grows older, I expect to have more time on my hands. It makes sense to me, then, that I start gradually doing more "me" things. I'm in the process of registering for college. I wander out once in a while and do whatever. And I write. But when my child is here and wants my company and/or attention, I still give it. Because pretty soon, my now-12-year-old daughter isn't going to want to curl up on the couch with me to cuddle and watch a movie. Before too much longer my baby will be exerting massive amounts of independence and asking to borrow my car. It won't be long at all before she's graduated high school and is moving out to be on her own. And the way I see it, these days are precious and I'll have time to spare in spades once she's moved out and no longer leaving messes all over my home.

But that's me.

So, yeah, guess what? Weekends? Chances are pretty high that you're not going to find me on the internet much. In fact, I can almost guarantee that three weekends out the month I won't be seen at all, with the exception of a few random thoughts I happen to remember to send to Twitter from my cell phone... if... IF... I happen to have my cell phone with me because, let's face it, I've stopped carrying my cell phone 24/7. Too many people have the number and think they can use it day and night to demand my near-constant attention no matter what I may be doing or who I'm with. Also? Trust me to be a bit snarlish if I get online after spending the day playing with my child and find an email complaining about how much time I'm NOT on the internet on the weekends and some weeknights. And believe me when I say that my child's orchestra competition/concert is more important to me than being online so that you can whine at me via the instant messaging service of your choice about how frustrated you are because you "only" wrote 5k words... per day... every day... for the last three weeks... and then have you criticize me and call me a "slacker" for "only" eking out 1,000 words for the entire month.

Yes, I AM a writer and, yes, I DO want to be published, but I don't have to do it by anyone's timetable but my own. And, right now, there are more important things to me than seeing anything I've written get published.

I wrote the above very early yesterday morning and let it sit for, well, a full day and night. I got a little ranty towards the end (text messages before 9am on Sunday wanting to know why I'm not online already and if I'm ever going to bother showing up this weekend tend to piss me off, especially when we have had the same bloody conversation nearly every blessed Saturday and Sunday for months) and wanted to give myself some time to change my mind about what I'd said before I actually posted anything.

Turns out, I didn't want to change my mind.

Turns out, everything I said needs to be said... and I can only pray that I don't have to repeat myself for at least a year, because responding to the same issues and answering the same questions over and over and over and over again... from the exact same people? Not my idea of fun.

I shouldn't have to justify how much I did or didn't write and why to anyone except my agent, my editor, and my publisher. And I'm just not good enough for that. Yet. Since I have none of those people in my life right now, the only one that really needs to be concerned with the amount I write is, well, me. And, really? That's fine with me. For now. I'm still learning to write and someday, when I'm ready, I'll have those three people in my life and I'll be more focused on daily word/page count. And I will be published.


When I'm ready.

Love and bondage,
Rubi Jayne <3<3


Stacy said...

When you wake up and there are words in your head that must be said, you are a writer. Whether or not they get written. Just want to say that *I* think you're incredible. Everything in your world fuels your writing. Being who you are, as a parent, is important to who you are as a write. Don't let those criticizing get to you. I know you know this, but sometimes it's nice to hear. And to say. *hugs*

Dee Carney said...

Dude. Don't give an eff about what critters have to say or you'll never get anywhere. Read it (or not), shrug and move on. *I* think you rock. ;)

Rubi Jayne said...

@ Stacy - You're right. Sometimes it's nice to hear. *hugs* Thank you. And you're pretty incredible, too. <3<3

@ Dee Carney - Usually, I don't. Usually, hate mail makes me giggle. (I often correct it and send it back.) The three points I address above are criticisms from people I don't know as well as from people who've been in my life in some manner for less than a year. They weren't rude... mostly... sorta... except that one... and based on the entire email I think that writer was just an idiot and made poor word choices... or maybe drunk... and my inner diplomat wasn't going to shut up until their criticisms had been responded to. That's been done now. And thank you. I think you rock, too. I'm trying to catch up on my reading (while doing everything else) so I can finish going through your books. E-books have become my treats for accomplishments. <3<3