When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys call asking your cup size, say A, hang up. When he says you give him blue balls, say you’re welcome. When a girl with thick black curls who smells like bubble gum stops you in a stairwell to ask if you’re a boy, explain that you keep your hair short so she won’t have anything to grab when you head-butt her. Then head-butt her. When a guidance counselor teases you for handed-down jeans, do not turn red. When you have sex for the second time and there is no condom, do not convince yourself that screwing between layers of underwear will soak up the semen. When your geometry teacher posts a banner reading: “Learn math or go home and learn how to be a Momma,” do not take your first feminist stand by leaving the classroom. When the boy you have a crush on is sent to detention, go home. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boy with the blue mohawk swallows your heart and opens his wrists, hide the knives, bleach the bathtub, pour out the vodka. Every time. When the skinhead girls jump you in the bathroom stall, swing, curse, kick, do not turn red. When a boy you think you love delivers the first black eye, use a screw driver, a beer bottle, your two good hands. When your father locks the door, break the window. When a college professor writes you poetry and whispers about your tight little ass, do not take it as a compliment, do not wait, call the Dean, call his wife. When a boy with good manners and a thirst for Budweiser proposes, say no. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys tell you how good you smell, do not doubt them, do not turn red. When your brother tells you he is gay, pretend you already know. When the girl on the subway curses you because your tee shirt reads: “I fucked your boyfriend,” assure her that it is not true. When your dog pees the rug, kiss her, apologize for being late. When he refuses to stay the night because you lived in Jersey City, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because you live in Harlem, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because your air conditioner is broken, leave him. When he refuses to keep a toothbrush at your apartment, leave him. When you find the toothbrush you keep at his apartment hidden in the closet, leave him. Do not regret this. Do not turn red. When your mother hits you, do not strike back.
Jeanann Verlee, Unsolicited Advice to Adolescent Girls With Crooked Teeth and Pink Hair (via girl-violence)
Worth a read. It’s a rare and wonderful thing when a piece of writing makes you feel like to got to know someone’s troubles so intimately, so quickly.
Don’t fucking lie. Seriously, don’t fucking lie. Don’t claim to have been the only white girl gang-banging in South Central. Don’t claim to have been raised by wolves. Don’t claim that you took a root canal without pain killers. You are not a bad ass. You are a writer. The first step is to accept this and not fucking lie.
Here’s what they don’t tell you about self publishing a book.
Lightstagram is my second self published work and the first that has gone directly to print. It’s what they call “print on demand” which as I’m sure you realize, means that there is no stockpile of printed books, when someone orders one, blurb prints it and sends it off. The reason I bring this up is because when it comes to self-publishing you are only at the 50 yard line when you can call the book itself finished. The real (and in many ways harder) work comes in when you’re trying to promote the book.
It’s certainly no trouble tumbling and tweeting the book out there, but to get real media traction you have to try and get it on the desk of editors, bloggers and thought leaders. Busy people who may or may not care about anything you’ve ever done. So here’s my recommendation to any authors out there who are self-publishing. Remember that the book existing and being great are clearly super important, but so is having a strategy for sharing that book with others and having a clear actionable strategy for sharing it with the world.
My better example of this is Losing Edison. I poured my heart and soul into that piece, including months of my time. I hired a graphic designer and an editor. I struggled with the technology side to make sure it was available for the kindle and the iPad and in the end I had no marketing strategy. I built it, but no one came.