Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Crumbling Under Pressure

I’ve been struggling to write the articles that my British publicist wants for the various “women’s magazines” she’s talked to. My problem is actually kind of simple, though I think there’s a deep psychological component as well. The initial, simple problem is this: I don’t write non-fiction. I always struggled to write this kind of stuff in high school, and I’m always much, much happier when I can just make s**t up.

The deeper psychological component is also simple. I’m totally freaked. The amount of pressure I feel to make these books sell well o’er there is akin to deep sea diving in the Marianas Trench.

The good news is that I’ve started them. The problem is that I also keep wanting them to be “about” something, and so keep veering into subjects that are really much to complicated for this audience. I started one about talking to your kids about the higher power and why I think that’s important no matter what your bent (even if the answer is none at all). But when I sent this snippit…

My parents don’t know I’m a Witch. This is not the confession of a teenager. I’ve been practicing Wicca for nearly twenty years. I’m – ahem – well over thirty, own a home, and have a three and a half year old son.

In fact, I’m expecting my son to spill the beans. He’s at that age before the concept of “private stuff” and “public stuff” really makes sense and the Goddess has been on his mind because we started introducing him to the idea at Yule, our Christmas. In the car the other day he asked, “What is the Goddess like? Why can’t I see Her?” I, of course, explained that he could. All he had to do was look around. The Goddess is the seed that transforms into a plant. She is the metamorphosis of caterpillar into butterfly. She is compost – decay that becomes nutrients for new life. Of course, after all my poetic language, my son gave me one of those why-can’t-parents-speak-plain-English sighs and asked again, “Yeah, but what does She LOOK like? Is She big?” At which point I had to revert to the Socratic method and ask him what he thought the Goddess looked like, but that didn’t satisfy him much either. I’m surprised he hasn’t started asking random strangers in the Mall.

I’m sure he’ll quiz the grandparents.

I’m nervous about that moment, but not for the reasons you might think.

… to my publicist, the answer was, yeah, your instincts are correct. This is too dense for this particular audience.

This is surprisingly hard. The good news is that she rather liked the one that starts:

No one can tell I’m a Witch. I don’t wear black (well, at least not exclusively). There are no tattoos or piercings or jewelry on my body of Ankhs or pentacles or vampire bats. I may be over thirty, but I’m not quite a hag yet, thank you very much. You’re more likely to find me at my son’s playgroup with a backpack full of Cheerios and diapers than skulking around a graveyard after midnight.

Disappointed?

Don’t be. I still dance naked at the full moon. I still cast spells and throw hexes. I could give you the evil eye – well, that is, if I believed in such a thing.

Gah. Must get to work on these...

1 comment:

Sean M. Murphy said...

I also rather like that last one, because it's so playful. It allows the reader to have had such foolish notions, and also to participate with you in laughing at them, while secretly believing that you might not be letting them in on the darker secrets. Be open, but coy. You're not being the spokeswoman for the occult--you're selling books.