My earliest memory is writing my name with a purple crayon. I knelt on the floor and wrote over and over with a scrap of paper. I remember the moment very vividly, not just the sentence itself, but also with a certain feeling. I knew very well that this strangely wonderful occurrence of words on paper was somehow correct. It made sense. It was intuitive. I was alone, being myself, having fun, playing. Early in life, no one knew anything yet and was told that what they were doing was wrong or should be different from who they were. The sense of self we are all born with before life comes and shakes it up. I hadn’t yet been told to “get your head out of the clouds.” Right or wrong was a lesson in the world around me and how I worked within it. They still had to sneak into my belly and decide which aspects of me were acceptable and which were not. I was the shy and scared type. I started writing rhymes – Deep in the forest, deep in a hole, there lived a little lonely mole. I also enjoyed the smiley stickers from the teachers and the pats on my head.
Shame creeps in when we are made to feel like crap for being ourselves. When I was in high school, I started grinning and sighing when I said, “I want to be a writer.” My head was stubbornly stuck in those clouds. Thus began my rage-filled poetry phase, which neatly collided with adolescence. I had no idea what was going on with all these body changes and impulses, but I knew all too well that head space was wilder than ever. It was what would become my dark comedy darkness, from a worldview that was both Stephen King and Beatrix Potter. By college, and in true cliché writer fashion, I started drinking wine, determined to finish my highest degree at Fitting In. Cheerful and naive like Tinton, I set off.
Be fun, be smart, be cool, be straight for the love of God.
When I was a student in the 90s, no one came out as gay. With curly hair and straggly teeth and skinny legs, I wanted to stand out and blend in. Now with cropped hair, straight teeth and hidden legs, college reinvented itself. It seemed like the perfect place to explore and hide at the same time.
I studied English literature and made good progress from angry poems to my first angry novel. In an emotionally safe, boozy world like college bars and parties where everything is dismissed as inebriated, my sexuality began to take a peek. Explore and hide. I knew I wasn’t straight, but as much as I wanted to write, I was terrified to think I might be gay, but what do I have to say? It was scary. Neither my actions nor my writing were good, and I was (to be honest, miraculous) 2:1, hundreds of pages of bullshit, and being completely lost and alone. I graduated from college with a deep sense. I felt wrong being myself and being someone else didn’t work, so I didn’t know who or what I would be next. Eventually, I moved back home and got one of my (oh, many) “fresh starts.” I stopped writing, got a boyfriend, got a job in human resources, and spent several years living in blissful drunken numbness.
I thought I was really done. After all, as I have heard over and over again, only delusional idiots want to be writers, the same delusional idiots who want to be dancers, singers, and soccer players. The world I lived in was artistic, creative, unusual Unless you have a contract with Manchester United or the Royal Ballet, live on the suspicion of patronage. Chasing dreams was for children, geniuses and fools. We normal people shouldn’t be chasing our dreams, we should be aiming for promotions and raises. After all, I wasn’t a kid or a genius, and I don’t want anyone to be an idiot. In fact, my greatest fear was being stupid and being ridiculed.
Then there seemed to be so much fear around stupidity, the fear of embarrassing oneself, that shame was used as a kind of vaccination, a preventive measure. At least you and your family weren’t bullied or ridiculed. This approach has been surprisingly effective in many ways. Aren’t you ashamed to abandon your dreams for a boring office job? At least you won’t have the humiliation of answering questions about your 20th rejection letter. When you had a house, a car, a holiday, and your life looked just like everyone else’s, no one would be asking you nasty questions about that old dream anymore. You’ll get so good at the act that you’ll almost believe it yourself We were relieved that somehow we must have got it right.
However, it doesn’t work that way. can not. We are who we are and dreams are never forgotten, only abandoned. Reading, watching a game, or watching a ballet raises its green head. It gnaws at you, a constant reminder that it exists unattended there, like a dying thing in need of attention. Your intuition, foolish or not, will not be silenced.
In just one week, my relationships, career and family life were destroyed.
I was 28 years old. I stood by my single bed in my father’s spare room and looked at all the books – my books, exercises, notebooks, full of scribbles and stories and poems – freshly unpacked. And I knew this had to be it. It had to be written. That was the first feeling of surrender. It wasn’t courage, it wasn’t fists in the air when you shouted “I’m going to do this!” But that feeling of losing the fight. I got a job in a factory and started writing again. This time it was unlikely to be published, but since it was no longer possible, I accepted that I would write forever regardless. Publishing was still a dream for me, but writing was necessary. And then I realized that very old feeling that something is just right.
Sexuality was a whole other matter. Partly because I still saw it as a problem. I wasn’t ready to stop questioning and denying just yet. Even though I knew what the ‘right’ feeling was like, I still wouldn’t allow this when it came to love and intimacy. Sometimes I read that people come out in huge, wild, and wonderful ways, like the damned ones, and almost envy applaud them. mine wasn’t. A lot of people’s coming out stories aren’t like that. Rather than bursting dams, drying up at times, and being filtered all over the place, it’s trickling down.
In my 20s and 30s, I Sorting exploring my sexuality, Sorting I said I’m bisexual Sorting The writing of – a little, but no big deal, silly – but I was still too afraid and embarrassed to own it. Yes, I explored, wrote, and grew quietly behind closed doors.
We are not all flowers. Some of us are mushrooms.
My first novel was a heavy erotic thriller that took two years to complete and was rejected everywhere. “Too dark,” everyone said. Funny enough, one agent responded that he liked it, but was slammed in more than one way by saying, “…you don’t seem to know what it is.” It took years and became a great agent of mine, but remained unpublished. “Too dark,” everyone said again. Divorces, moves, career changes and turmoil were quelled with Pinot Grigio for a fresh start. I wrote another book, but it was also heavy on psychodrama and too dark. And I remember hearing this feedback, which I’ve heard many times before, and suddenly gave up.
I gave up on the big fat ugly.
I fuck this, fuck them, I gave up on life.
I didn’t realize it, but I was still acting. Even on Page, I was acting. Convinced that no one really wanted to see or hear me, I habitually always edited the zany, silly, weird, gay out of my writing, and all of these things I didn’t want. I was sure it was the wrong part.. I thought it was the embarrassing part, I was ashamed and thought I had to write it seriously to be taken seriously. But then, 11 years after he left that HR job, everything fell apart several times, and after such rejections that the words lost all meaning (in fact, they were good liners in the trash can). ), I’m totally screwed – finally gave up. Three novels I’ve written over ten years. I felt done with it.
But of course I wasn’t.
For months I was writing short story jokes for a friend going through a breakup. Just a silly thing to make her smile. Whenever I had a break from “serious” writing, I used to play with it. It was like a game, just a laugh. I didn’t take it seriously. In this moment of giving up, it’s kind of a desperate “So what about this?” In her six weeks of initial lockdown, I just wrote like I’ve never written before. From completely abandoning the effort to become something – better, different, or right – I wrote and wrote and wrote so fast my fingers could barely keep up. It was eventually titled Sedating Elaine and passed on to a publisher.
I really didn’t believe that this was so different from previous times. In my case it was a positive tweet but ultimately a rejection.With that said, my diary has a small entry for the 22ndnd In October 2020, she wrote, “I am almost scared to write these words, but I have a feeling this might have worked.” Still, I tried not to think about it.
But it happened. sedative elaine Within two weeks, preemptively sold to Knopf, the TV rights quickly passed to ABC, and I went from the most ridiculous book I’ve ever written to the final book deal, dumbfounded and absent-minded. was standing
The book is- this Book! A book I wrote as a joke! – must be the one who makes it, baffled me to say the least. I spent years on previous books and struggled with them. It seemed so strange that something I sat down to write without much thought should think it should be made. It wasn’t difficult, it wasn’t painful, it was a laughable breeze. It made no sense at all.
It was until I remembered. She remembered what it felt like. I wonder how she felt about writing.
It felt like a purple crayon.
I felt like I was doing something freely, without embarrassment or judgment. It is the liberation of indefensible authenticity, it is a one-way valve. And I was out in different ways when people who always thought I was straight — people who knew me all my life — read it. i love who i love No scrutiny or explanation needed. Because my intuition gets me there and it’s always right regardless of gender or label. Finally; I turn 40 this year and have just arrived. Pretending to be purple crayons, sticking my head in a cloud, and if anyone can twist me, damn it. Because this is how it should be and how it should be written. Fun, easy, playtime. Write from the same place you built a sandcastle, dug a hole in the mud, and flipped the pot with two wooden spoons. Being overwhelmed by constraints, rules and doubts never becomes a reality. Ditch all that crap and show your uniqueness.
sedative elaine It’s out now. Me too.