You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
You can scroll the shelf using ← and → keys
I love that I can dust off my blog like an unused lady part and spring it into action on a whim.
This is a one-time only affair, as being a weekly blogger isn’t realistic right now. I’m quite sure you’ll cope, as I’m not even sure who reads this blog anymore??? I mean there are lurkers of course (some of whom quietly go back and read all the archives…who are you?! And thank you!), but the blogging landscape feels a little unnatural at the moment…instead it’s been about the downloads and fancy e-devices.
Which brings me to part one.
I’ll begin with the hilarious. Not as in “I, Romi, am hilarious and let me count the ways,” but as in me, staring at something, pointing at it, and laughing. Right now I’m laughing at “The Book of Awful,” which almost five months into release still somehow sells! It was preposterous to me that more than thirty people in total would ever buy my book (i.e. my friends; hell ya I have thirty friends! Are you jealous?), but now, as I eclipse five hundred sales (which granted is still tiny in the grand scheme of things)…I friggin’ laugh at it. I can’t imagine any one human cozying up with their Kindle or iPad to read my book, but those actual humans exist…somewhere.
Those human readers make me glad I never changed my style of writing to follow the mainstream rules. Just today I was looking at my (rare, will tumble by tomorrow) #3 ranking on Amazon’s Parody Top 100, to find that once again the Zombie parodies elude me at #1 and #2. But that was fine with me. I mean I never even thought that being such a wayward and awkward and strange and demented writer would help me crack a top 10 of anything…but it did, and I never had to write about zombies to get there!
And that’s the evil part of me. What I mean is…at least fifty percent of my inspiration for what I write is…cold, wayward and borderline evil.
But the other half of the time…I’m good.
Like that screenplay I wrote a few months ago.
There is nothing mean or demented or wayward in that script I wrote; it’s a star-crossed love story of doom (not exactly the ideal tagline but it’s the truth!). There’s some humor in the dialogue, but it’s humor with heart, followed by romantic doom. I’m not sure what kind of sick progression it is to follow something as twisted as “The Book of Awful” with a love story of all things, but that was simply the chronology of my brain/heart/soul. The strangest thing after that…was that the script didn’t totally suck. I read all the warnings in the “how to write a screenplay” books, the “your first twenty screenplays will be terrible and embarrassing” prophecies of doom (so much doom!). Even so, I allowed myself to face the scrutiny of judges in screenwriting contests…and I didn’t completely suck! I advanced in a few contests, and will hear back from a few more right up until December.
To be honest, it doesn’t really matter what happens after what has already…happened; nothing will beat the tears of satisfaction, upon discovering that someone outside of my friend group read my screenplay and didn’t think it sucked. Maybe one day I’ll get an expert story doctor to help me fix it up and submit it to “the biz.” Or maybe not. But the personal satisfaction of facing the scary “your screenplay will probably suck” odds and coming out alive was worth it.
So yeah…for most of the summer I was good and had a heart, but then I turned all evil again, when I had my next book idea.
If you follow me on Twitter you’ll notice I change the book’s title almost once a week, but right now my work-in-progress is called: “NOT Love Poems For Real Life.”
I can’t remember the exact moment when I came up with this wayward idea, but let it be known that I find good poetry to be remarkable, it’s a literary gift.
But then I get all evil again, when I think about the gap in the poetry market. You’ll understand it too, when you consider the greatest love poets in history; these poets have taken us through the zenith of being in love as well as the agony of losing it all. But what exactly happens in-between the two? I’m pretty sure at least fifty percent of life is the search for love before you ever find it, with the percentage ever-growing as the failures pile up. How many frogs do you have to kiss before you get a prince? A shit-ton! So where the eff is all the “frog poetry”?
Ahem…that’s where I come in.
See? Why is my brain like this? The human race has done just fine up ’till now without a collection of love mishaps/frog poetry, but noooo, I just HAVE to come along and screw up all the harmony with my concept.
Once I finish this collection and release it in the end of September, there is a very good chance it’ll bomb and readers will hate it.
But of course I must do it anyway.
It’s like “The Book of Awful.” That book is friggin’ weird and it seems that readers either love it or hate it. In fact, I think one reviewer actually called me a horrific excuse for a writer (I’m paraphrasing). But that’s art, bitches. It’s better to have a polarizing reaction of love/hate, versus a bunch of people who think you’re “pretty good” or “just okay” because you never rocked the boat. So that’s my advice to all the children out there (good lord, I hope no child ever reads this blog). You may spend your whole life being labeled as weird or “unpalatable” as an artist, but you can never lie about what inspires you. Look at my beloved Van Gogh, who sold maybe only three of his two thousand works before he died? His spirit now lives on as the pimp daddy of art, and I’m pretty sure my heart almost exploded with joy when I saw the real “Starry Night” in New York this past winter. Epic.
Where was I going with any of that? I don’t know, see, I’m rusty at this blogging thing! All I know is I’m having way too much fun writing humorous poetry about not-so-romantic mishaps, so it will be published by the end of September. God help me.
Back to me climbing the mountain from evil to goodness. Last week I re-wrote and published two collections of my memoirs from India, which started out as posts from this very blog! See, this is why I will forever pay homage to my blog relic and return to it whenever I can. The blog was the start of all my grown-up writing exploits. Praise WordPress and my early blogging friends. Back to the memoirs: because they originated in some form on my blog, my memoirs are totally free, everywhere except Amazon (I’m working on that so DON’T pay for it on Amazon, it will be free eventually!). I guess I figured why should these memoirs die on the blog, when I can give them a second life with thousands of free downloads? Hooray for reincarnation! The Hindus had it right.
Speaking of blogs and having a heart (this post refuses to end!), the cherry on top of my quest to have a heart is my full-length novel “Year of the Chick.” That too needs dusting off like an unused lady part, as it’s been hiding in my hard drive untouched for a year and a half. It’s incredible that a whole novel started out as a blog, and in honour of that I’ll be re-writing some old “Year of the Chick” posts and releasing a free version of “Year of the Chick Diaries” in mid-October, a week before the e-book release. Print version to follow in late November…yes, print!
As for being good or evil, all I can say is that my soul is in the hands of two Chinese men playing badminton. Please, let me explain. One of the short-shorts-knee-high-socks -wearing Chinese badminton enthusiasts is all dressed in black, the other in white. They represent good and evil, and they forever whip the shuttlecock that is me (what?) from one side to the next, never letting me settle on a good or evil writer’s path.
But maybe I don’t want to ever settle on a single style. Maybe I will always be evil on some days, then sweet and precious on Wednesdays (or Sundays). Maybe that’s what being “Romi” is.
Now’s a good time to stop abusing readers with my longest post ever. Oh, and here’s one free poem from my upcoming book that will likely disturb the masses. This poem is basically about every morning on the train, when the quest for a hottie seatmate almost always falls short.
I gazed out the window,
Another blue sky.
Would I meet him today,
My precious dream guy?
On a train straight for work,
It didn’t seem likely.
So I sighed once again,
And closed my eyes tightly.
I dreamed of sweet man slaves,
Shirtless and ripped.
Should I leave them a tip?
But the dream had to end,
So I opened my eyes.
And inches away,
Was a nasty surprise.
A big hairy rube.
He looked horny and sweaty,
As he ogled my boobs.
Learned a lesson that day,
Far beyond love and riches.
If you’re sleeping on trains,
Button up your shirts, bitches.
Awkward Memoirs From Little India (free): available now
Awkward Memoirs From Actual India (free): available now
NOT Love Poems For Real Life: coming soon, late Sept
Year of the Chick Diaries (free): coming soon, mid Oct
Year of the Chick, a novel: coming soon, late Oct (print version in late Nov)
Happy Autumn, dear readers.
Maybe not in the late Frank Sinatra’s world, where regrets are too few to mention, but for the rest of us, they are apparent.
Why so glum, chum? You ask.
Well I wasn’t exactly feeling glum, but when I slipped and fell in a bathtub and bruised a couple ribs then watched a homeless man get hit by a garbage truck on an episode of Louis C. K. (and all within a twenty-four-hour period), my mortality sort of bitch-slapped me in the face.
It didn’t bitch-slap me in the positive “taking stock of my life and what would I like to do now?” kind of way, mostly because I’m not a wild-haired Jack Nicholson in a senior-citizen bromance called “The Bucket List.”
The truth is I believe in negative reinforcement; I believe that only when you punish yourself emotionally for past mistakes, can you live a better life for whatever days remain. It’s a stretch, I know, but without it I would be like those insufferable people who applaud all their choices as the ingredients for the recipe that “bakes” their current self. Because we all just wish we could enjoy a savoury bite of you, you’re so tasty and special!
This kind of patting on the back is irresponsible and immature; it’s like fat-legged toddlers who wobble through the meadow unattended, then cry when they trip and scrape themselves on a rock. What did you think was going to happen, toddler? If those fat-legged toddlers criticized their wobbling in a safe training environment, never leaving until they graduated to long and confident fat-legged strides, many a scrapes would be avoided.
Of course you know.
So without further adieu, my top three regrets:
I never bought him in that auction: It was the year 2000, and Y2K was proven to be nothing more than an IT nerd’s wet dream. With a limitless future and a steady income from my job at Blockbuster Video, I should’ve purchased my shirtless, tanned and bow-tie wearing fellow classmate (and crush), during the high school charity auction to fight blindness or A.I.D.S. or speech impediments or something. Instead, as his abs glistened in the sunlight and I drooled, his pretty girlfriend bought him (with her dad’s checkbook, no doubt) before I even had the chance to bid. That one forced-upon date between him and I could’ve changed the whole course of our future. Instead he married that girlfriend, and now they have two kids and live a stepford life in the suburbs. That should’ve been meeee…
I never ate different kinds of food: I had a very bad experience with vegetarian sushi in 1997, and from then on I shunned all unfamiliar food. To this day, the mere sight of pink and bloody steak makes me gag, I run for the hills whenever I see a cocktail of slimy shrimp, I don’t even know what part of oysters is considered “food”, and I don’t care how rich it makes me look, caviar in my eyes, are little black bullets of death. In other words, I will never have the balls to be a guest judge on Top Chef (’cause obviously they would ask me). When I get sad about this fact, I usually eat a lot of cookies…
I never got into a cat-fight: As a teenager, there were so many opportunities to brawl “girly style”. Over boys, over clothing, over trendy fashion accessories (i.e. heart-shaped pendants on choker faux-velvet chains, which were the height of mid-nineties glam), over registered and accurate boob-sizes…the cat-fight potential was endless. I witnessed my share of cat-fights in the girls’ locker room, and what struck me more than the fistfuls of ripped-out hair was the lasting impact a pointy-nailed claw could have. The blood-red four-pronged scratch on a forearm grew into a frightening scar, and those who wore it were survivors. It was brave and bad-ass. I certainly wasn’t brave enough, in my paranoid and self-conscious youth, but I comforted myself with expectations of grown-up cat-fights. But…the thing about grown-up life is…unless you’re a guest on Maury Povich screaming out “Nah, you skank, he is MY man!“, cat-fights become obsolete. And so I roam the streets with my scar-free dainty forearms, and everyone thinks I’m a weak-ass little bitch. As Rodney Dangerfield says: “I don’t get no respect!”
And so I reach the end of Regret-Highway, and even though I can’t ever fix those ancient wrongs, my failures make me all the more committed, to make the rest of my days before the inevitable garbage-truck-collision turn out right…
Once upon a time it was Summer 2010 and I was sad.
My heart was a pile of glass shards, on the metaphorical linoleum floor of life.
Then a truck full of teddy bears and rainbows ran it over.
It was the bestselling “The Book of Awesome” by Neil Pasricha, and it was trying to say that life is full of great little things. It told me that putting on underwear just out of the dryer, smelling gasoline, and popping bubble wrap was awesome.
None of these things seemed awesome to me, as the glass shards of my heart started slowly collecting dust on life’s linoleum floor.
Not only that, but how could the word awesome be applied to a thousand things? Can’t we come up with different adjectives? Why beat one word to death? As a writer, I was insulted.
Fueled by a glued-together damaged heart and vocabulary-driven revenge, I spent the next ten months writing and completing “The Book of Awful”.
I finished it a month before “The Book of Even More Awesome””s release, just the right time for me, the underdog, to metaphorically pee in front of the metaphorical fire hydrant of bestselling royalty. Or something.
And then a funny thing happened.
I realized it takes about a trillion years for a book to find the reader’s hands, in the traditional and ever-slow-to-adapt publishing model. Still…I thought, let’s see how it goes.
First I ditched my agent, partly because she’s never sold humor, but mostly because her idea of a parody was not what I had in mind (“focus it on celebrities”…umm no). Nice lady though, I wish her well.
Then I began the search for a literary agent who deals in humor.
From there I received the following:
-“This is just the kind of quirky stuff I like!…But I don’t think it will sell.”
-“Humorous essays are a tough sell.”
-“You don’t have a platform.” (I think this one was trying to tell me I’m not a celebrity…)
-And then…on the plus side, four requests to read the book! :-)
Three of those requests are still in progress, but here’s the startling climax of the story:
-I said “fuck it”, and I published the book myself.
Believe me, I did my research, which is precisely how I got to this point. Self-published ebooks are making up more and more book sales by the day (despite what The New York Times Bestseller List would have you believe), and it actually fits my rebellious mission to a tee.
Because just as I don’t like others deciding what is awesome, I don’t like publishers deciding what potential readers should have access to and taking FOREVER to do it, whilst a timely parody risks losing relevance to the very readers it was intended for. If 0.01% of writers get published via the traditional model that’s GREAT, I applaud them, it was my own dream too, after all. But what happens to the other 99.99% of writers? Are they shitty writers? Maybe many of them are, but not all…yet their completed stories gather dust on their personal hard drives (not on the metaphorical hard drives of life, but on actual computer hard drives).
This is wrong.
Let the people decide what they’d like to read, and let them save money too, which is easy when you strip out the middle men.
And so, as part of my rebel alliance, my book is $2.99 and you can buy it because I’m selling it.
The most important aspect of my rebel alliance is the content of the book itself:
-I don’t tell readers how to get happy, but I describe one potentially horrific scenario after the next (i.e. Santa Claus being real, turning into a vampire, bacon running out, etc.), to remind them that they’re safe. It’s being grateful via negative reinforcement, and as close to “happy” as we get in this modern world, if we all stop lying to ourselves.
In the end, every sale I make is one step closer to “stickin’ it to da man.” And so, if you like the idea of sticking things inside a metaphorical man, go ahead and buy my book.
[This is the link to my book on Amazon Kindle US. You can also buy it on Amazon UK, Amazon DE, and other ereaders everywhere (it should be live on these other devices within a few days). There is ALSO a free Kindle app for your iPhone or Android, to all my friends who think they can get away with being technologically challenged. (psst, for those of you who don’t have a smart phone, I continue to reject your excuses, ’cause you can easily download Kindle for your PC or your Mac! Ha.]
PS: If you get a chance to read it please leave a review on Amazon, it’s your way to entice (or warn) others! ;-)
PPS: I’ve linked to both the “Book of Awesome” and its sequel in this blog post. I’ve done this because I’m not ashamed if readers prefer the “happy” stuff, and so I want to help you find it, as soon as you possibly can!!! It’s a free world after all. Whatever, you goodie-goodies…
PPPS: free samples are as good for food as they are for writing, and since I’ve posted actual entries from the book on my blog before (under the guise of a different title…product testing, if you will)…here you go!
I’ve been involved in all things writing for the last two days. So consider this my epic “projectile vomit finish” to the weekend. We’ve all been there.
So…feelings. What if we could bring them to life in the most accurate imagery that I’m certain you’d all agree with?
-Falling in love is when two magical unicorns knock at my door. They ask if they can make some romance with each other in front of me. When they do, a rainbow with chocolate truffles sliding down it shoots out of their horns. An invisible harp provides the soundtrack to it all. Ten kittens appear out of nowhere and snuggle me simultaneously. Wine flows from a tap. Everything smells like the best men’s cologne in the world. The late Mother Theresa shakes my hand and says “well done.” It is bliss.
-Being rejected is when someone tells some other someones that I have the Ebola virus mixed with Mad Cow disease. Then all the “someones” run away from me screaming. I’m supposed to be exterminated too, but that would mean someone coming near me again. Which is impossible, because hello, I’m being rejected. A voice-over on the P.A. instructs me to take a lot of showers and hope for the best.
-Feeling sad is when those kids in Slumdog Millionaire get blinded with the acid, (so they can beg on the streets to make money for their slum pimps), against the soundtrack of “Fix You” by Coldplay.
-Being in denial is a bunch of Indian (holla!) computer programmers living inside your brain. If you should ever feel anything that can’t exist easily in reality, they will type really fast and delete these magical feelings from your brain. But the deleted feelings get sent to the Recycle Bin, and these supposedly smart programmers never “emptied all items” from the bin. Once you take a search in the Recycle Bin, you’ll meet up with our next friend, regret.
-Experiencing regret is when you have an epic meal at a restaurant. You order appetizers and why not three or four? We can split ‘em with the table. Your entree is an even better surprise, and you attack it with the strength of a thousand Ancient Roman soldiers. Your stomach’s at the absolute limit; yeah, it was a pretty good time. And that’s when the waiter brings you the dessert menu. You’ve never seen such an incredible menu of desserts in your life. It’s everything you could’ve dreamed of in desserts, but wait: you’re already full. Those desserts are oh so close yet so unattainable, unless you could turn back time to the beginning of the meal, and make some more intelligent choices in your second attempt. But you never can go back, now can you? So you wave the menu away, saying you’ll save room next time, but knowing that you’ll never be back.
-They say the best revenge is living well, and that is absolutely the truth. The visual representation of living well is having the hottest body ever, the coolest car ever (and that’s the most generic statement ever, since I don’t know shit about cars), tons of jewelry from Tiffany’s (if you’re a girl, that is—if you’re a guy, please don’t wear tons of jewelry from Tiffany’s), and a hot new boyfriend or girlfriend. Then you drive past your revengee’s house when they’re out picking up the newspaper in their slippers and ugly pyjamas. And you give ‘em the finger. Ha.
Of course…that isn’t MY definition of revenge. I don’t even know if I’m vengeful, really. I just know that for everything in life that never turned out as I’d hoped, I have a chance to exploit the shit out of it…through the arts. I can and I shall, with the strength of a thousand Ancient Roman soldiers. So for a writer or musician or painter, maybe that’s revenge enough… ;-) (I’ll take the hot body too if it’s available though…thanks)
So what’s the deal with loneliness?
Most of the time I can justify the loneliness well, by calling myself an aloof writer gal. I drape myself in scarves, drink a lot of tea, and shut out the world in the name of making art.
But that’s bullshit and we all know it.
Having people all around you is the best! Not because I enjoy the company of others, but only because if I faint, or have a heart attack, or if a refrigerator topples onto me…PEOPLE are the tools that can assist!
And so, when you don’t have the tools, when you live without the presence of humans, it’s scary and it’s the worst. So let’s feel sorry for ourselves, agreed?
Maybe. Except…isn’t it better to be alone than in the company of extra terrestrials?
Let’s say it is a proven fact that aliens exist (well of course it is but I’m trying to be unbiased), and let’s say one night you are abducted in your sleep.
How bad could it possibly be?
Not so bad at first. You’re simply on a silver ship, with lots of strange lights and buttons and fancy screens. It’s almost a little bit…awesome.
But then you see the slimy big-eyed creatures. They speak to you in their crazy alien language. It’s still not as bad as being lonely and having a refrigerator fall on top of you, but we’re getting there.
Let’s say the aliens caress you, because those long slimy hands weren’t made for standing idly by. And then let’s say they put you in a medical room, hook you up to a bunch of machines…and put your ass to sleep.
It’s a nightmare-free and restful sleep, so it’s fine if you still think the lonely/”fridge fall” option is worse.
But then you open your eyes, and there are five “alien/you” hybrid babies slithering around.
These are your children now, and they are uglier than a bottom of a foot that’s been run over by a truck. Twice.
The next thing you know your alien husband or wife wants you to clean up all the hybrid baby slime, to play with the hybrid babies, and to bathe the hybrid babies once a day.
It’s all the annoying aspects of parenting without the natural lighting and freedom, but WITH the random testing on your body, as well as potential anal probes (if alien fables prove correct). Not to mention a very ugly slime-covered mate you’re supposed to “do it” with.
So if you’re all alone and that refrigerator topples onto your sad little self, just remember that you read this, and remember that you’re not on that ship. Two very good thoughts before you die of neglect at the hands of a major appliance…