pparently I have a problem.
It seems I’m a crank.
I guess I’ve known it. I’ve had a pretty good life so far but like every life it’s had disappointments. I got screwed out of benefits by a company who owed me so much and curbed me like garbage. And my rocket ascent to historical writer reentered prematurely when my publisher died in a car wreck. There were also three or four women I knew to be perfect wives for me who did not share that assessment (“I still look for them in crowds,” as a favorite movie puts it).
So I never gave it a thought in my writing. It showed up in Kingdoms, a novel that went after middle-class acceptance of life with a rolled-up newspaper across the nose. One publisher asked how I was supposed to attract the primary market when I was busy insulting everything about their lives.
Over the years people have mentioned it, my mom in particular. I just figured it was “who I was”. A couple of people dropped me in Facebook because of my cussedness. My adapted daughter found it cute (the enabler!) but then again, her idea of a fun night is to sit in Barnes & Noble and spit acid at the yuppies. I love her all the same.
But it’s come up a couple of times this week alone, people mentioning it. And while serendipity has a place in explanations, it seems more like a form of consistency. So I’m left with that.
Yet “This above all: to thine own self be true”, as the bard put it. But can one be true in modern life, in the wedding bed and across the corporate boardroom table?
I’m going to think about this a lot, this notion that, for public consumption, I need to limit my bitter side. I’m really not sure how I’ll pull this off, especially with the world giving me so much to disdain. But I’ll try. If I can write thirteen-year-old Phoenician princesses, I can embrace the positive (or at least limit the negative).
So let’s see how I do.