2-16-13: Friends, Readings, and Complete Disgust

I can’t sleep. So much happened yesterday and so much is on my mind that I just can’t manage. The launch party and other events were such a roller coaster of emotions that my brain can’t even fathom sleep despite how tired I feel. I figure writing it all out will help; even if I don’t manage any more sleep, I still want to be able to enjoy the day I planned to spend with my boyfriend.

So, the launch party for the “Written in the Mitten” anthology started at 2pm and was held at the Detroit Yacht Club. The weather was not cooperating and my parents and I came within milometers of being hit in a large, multi-car collision but made it through and to the event on time (the roads were complete ice). The event, mostly planned by a woman who no longer worked for the company, was never “fully” planned after she left – this became apparent as time went on and the room got smaller and smaller as more people arrived (among other things). I had great fun meeting my fellow authors in the anthology though! Talyn Marie, Diane Condon-boutier, and Rosalie Kakos were just a few of the great authors I got to sign my copy of the book. After the meet-n-greet, we all sat down to listen to the “publisher” (so not a publisher, he was just the owner) and then we did some readings. And that’s when the fun began…

There were several people who got up and read a piece of their work (people much braver than I for sure) but the one that stands out is Talyn Marie as she read her controversial and graphic piece “Norton” which is written from the point of view of a pedophilic killer as he abducts a child and afterwards. Yes, I agree that a slight warning about the content would have probably been a good idea, however this was a room full of intelligent adults (and two or three kids who had been escorted from the room for obvious reasons). This was a crowd who should be able to discuss things like adults. From my point of view it was incredibly brave of her to read such a piece and it is an excellent piece that shows her real talent as a writer – to be an expectant mother and to put yourself in those shoes shows amazing character work to me. Of course, I get that the subject matter is not to everyone tastes and, yes, people were meant to be disturbed, but some people just could not get past the “icky” factor, listen to the whole story, and see the real point to it (see below if you don’t care about spoilers). It’s The Catcher in the Rye, it’s American Psycho, it’s the rape scene in the movie Irreversible… it’s real, no matter how much we turn away and try to pretend.

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

After the readings, the “publisher” talked again (about how there were errors in the book – very unprofessional) and then we all chatted again before heading home. That’s when the “complete disgust” part came in for me. There was a small get-together afterwards and upon hearing “I don’t want to go if that woman is going to be there” (referring to Talyn) [other things were said, but it was just one conversation] I just… I can’t even describe how I felt. To judge a person based on one piece of their work, to imply that she is somehow personally linked to the content (aside from being the author)… and yet you didn’t even pay attention to the piece long enough to understand it? You’re adults. First off, she has a name, kindly use it. Secondly, never judge a person based on what they write, especially if you only know one piece of their work. I have a story about a serial rapist/killer that is equally as graphic – doesn’t make me one in the slightest. Lastly, act like the adults you are and have an intelligent discussion with her about the piece if you don’t understand her reasoning behind it – not a lecture, not a debate… a discussion.

I was very happy to get away from all that and to the small event afterwards which was just writing friends getting together – many of whom were in the book (and Chris came with me which made it even better). Honestly, it was WAY more fun than the launch party. I had such a great time that Chris even put up with things long enough for us to stay the whole time (not that he wasn’t enjoying himself, but it wasn’t his cup of tea to hang out with writers all night you know?) We got home around 10ish and were going to enjoy a much needed dinner, but… I got a “thank you for attending” email from the “publisher”, which was very hastily -and poorly- written that apologized for them letting Talyn read. Again, disgusted. Not only did he basically admit that he never picked up the book before in his life (like I said, he was just the owner – trying to pick up the pieces he was never involved with after he fired the one person who brought us all together), but he is apologizing to intelligent adults -mostly writers who understand things, obviously, better than he does- because we had to listen to material we are perfectly capable of handling as said intelligent adults. One thing I can not stand is being treated like a child, as if I can’t handle sensitive issues and need someone to “protect me” from them.

Ugh, the whole thing was just messy and full of narrow mindedness – not the kind of “publisher” I would want to work with in the future. The writers – love the writers. That was the best part of the day because I got to meet so many talented people that I greatly admire all at once. That is what I will take away from yesterday; not the controversy, not even the event itself, but the fact that I got to meet people I admired and be in a book with them. So, thank you to everyone who contributed pieces, and thank you to Diana Plopa for bringing us all together! I will forever be grateful for the enjoying reads and the new friends!

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4 Responses to 2-16-13: Friends, Readings, and Complete Disgust

  1. Mike Kitchen says:

    Where’s the “like” button on here. 🙂
    I agree with you. I wish I had been there last night to further acknowledge Talyn (and really celebrate!).
    What kind of publisher is quick to point out spelling mistakes he finds, but doesn’t know the content of the book and vet the planned readings for an event?

  2. Diana Plopa says:

    Thank you for wrapping this up so nicely. I bear no one ill will, what’s done is done. However, I do fault a person who professes to know what he’s doing and then so clearly demonstrate, in multiple ways, that he doesn’t… injuring the reputation and talent of a gifted writer; while insulting the other many talented writers and their guests. I’m not impressed with his behavior. But I am overly impressed and in constant awe of the writers who have bravely shared their creativity with the world through this book. We will continue to write. We will continue to publish. And we will continue to celebrate the written word!!!

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  4. Talyn Marie says:

    Wow, I am humbled. Not by the fact that a letter apologizing for me was sent, but by the fact that there are great writers such as yourself willing to stand up for my work. I look up to many of the writers in your group, including Mike Kitchen, Diana Plopa, and yourself. As a new writer, I am stumbling through the steps, learning as I go how to walk among you with my head held high. I can’t thank you enough for your support! It means so much. It’s wonderful to know there are people who won’t judge a person for putting their hearts onto paper.
    By the way- I did ask the so-called publisher if he thought I should read the whole story shortly before the party got started, just to make sure it was ok. Maybe next time he will read before he answers and not have to apologize for being incompetent.

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