So the book launch party is tomorrow and I'm all in a tizzy, cleaning my funkyass house and wondering what chemical compounds and acts of God my hair will require to not frizz up into a giant brown nest an hour into the evening.
I don't like to shop, but this week I headed straight for the trusty local JCPenney to see if I could find a top to wear for the party. (See, you wear "tops" with your "slacks." And I went to JCPenney because, well, the only other option is the outlet mall, and I simply didn't want to cross the highway because I am LAY-ZEE.) I have been absolutely disgusted with this season's fashion offerings at the REAL mall (the magical indoor one 20 miles away), so I wasn't holding my breath. But to my surprise and delight, I did manage to find two cute shirts.
I liked one so much I put it on the next day without washing it first. (This is a really bad habit of mine.) J came upstairs and wrinkled his nose. "What smells like an old lady?"
I sniffed and identified the origin of the odor immediately. "Oh, it's the JCPenney on my shirt."
I'm washing the shirt today.
Also, now that a few people have read the book, the feedback has begun to trickle back to me, directly or indirectly. And I'm thrilled, over-the-moon humbled and ecstatic to report that most of the feedback has been very positive. But I have also heard:
"It's a little racy."
"I just wish there wasn't so much swearing."
"It's too girly."
Hmmm...racy and foul-mouthed and yet--AND YET--too girly.
Can you guess which comments were made by relatives and which came from the host of a radio show on which Jerry Springer recently appeared?
I haven't thickened my skin enough yet to process these types of reactions beyond the point where it feels like I'm hearing, "You know, your child isn't very bright or attractive." But I'm working on it. My own personal feeling is that when a character is at the end of his or her emotional and/or physical rope, he or she should get a little more leeway when it comes to self-censorship. Ultimately, it always boils down to character, and how willing an author is to let him or her be his or her true self. (And how willing the author is to look in the mirror and say, honestly, "I'm writing the story that I want to write.")
Anyway, instead of 'racy,' I prefer 'earthy' or 'salty.' Salt of the earthy. But I think I've discovered a solution that will make everyone happy. My next book will feature a Mennonite detective with quirky habits like an addiction to Bubble Yum and an affinity for practical jokes. Instead of swearing, he will say things like, "Oh sugar!" or "He's out of his cotton-picking mind if he thinks I'm going to miss choir practice for that!"
Wow, that sounds awful.
In all seriousness, how do you like your books? How much cursing is too much? How racy is too racy? Where are the boundaries of your personal comfort zone? (On the same tangent: what do you think of devices like the ClearPlay DVD Player or the TV Guardian Filter?)
Tomorrow! The official Driving Sideways book launch party! 6-9 pm at 146 Algoma Blvd in Oshkosh. I have it on good authority that there will be cheese.