The Independent Writer: My Two Faces

I’ll state the obvious.  This is one creepy mash-up but an artist I’m not. It was just the best way to visually depict how I’ve often felt.

I’ve been torn. Split. Divided. Conflicted and unsure of how to promote myself.  My first choice has been not to but that would be counterproductive and silly because I have to admit that I actually want people to read my stuff.  If I didn’t, I’d write about my tortured soul…by candlelight… in a tattered journal I keep hidden under a mattress; a sad testament to my lonely existence.  Um…wait…that isn’t what I do. Really! I swear it!

Never mind all that, okay?

As an independent writer, or, to use the dreaded SP phrase “self-published,” I come with a built-in sense of un-worthiness.  Like I’m just a hack that no publishing house wants to take on. On one hand, I would love to be a published writer, supported by a proper publishing house with cool editors cocooned in the glass and steel of a New York skyscraper.  But alas, I’m not.  To achieve that would take an act of Congress and I don’t even know what good they are any more so pardon the misguided analogy.

The truth is, I’ve gotten over the blubbering boo-fucking-hoo of all those pie in the sky notions and jumped on the indie content bandwagon.  After all, self-publishers are widely accepted at on-line stores worldwide.  Just like American Express.  All you have to do is put it out there.

But back to my original conflict:  I’m an independent writer of children’s books and screenplays in more than one genre:  comedy and drama.  Also, dramedy which is a mash-up not dissimilar to my creepy, homemade photo art.  That means, I write in cute, kid-friendly rhyming verse on the one hand and then use shits and fucks and explore more adult themes in my screenwriting.  To me, it often feels like reading porn in church, for lack of a better comparison.

To be clear, as far as you know, I don’t write porn scripts because they don’t actually have words…just sounds.  That porn-in-church thing was just another euphemistic cliché like the act of Congress.  And I don’t even know if  “euphemistic cliché” is an oxymoron or just my own bastardization of a phrase.

But who cares?  I’m an independent writer.  I can do whatever I damn well please. I can make of words and phrases at will and generally no one objects. After all, texting has created it’s very own vernacular so WTF?  To be clear…again…I really hate text acronyms. I still write out all my words and try to use proper grammar when I text.  This dates me in a big way when texting someone under the age of 30 but I refuse to drink that Kool-Aid.

And that’s okay.

Therein lies the beauty of it all.  I can drink the Kool-Aid or not drink it. I can keep one foot in the analog world if I want; a mash-up of both that’s totally acceptable.  Independent creators can do as they damn well please, any day of the week, any month of the year within any format or platform they choose, forever and ever into oblivion.  In this beautiful, frustrating, illuminating, scary, exhilarating world of the indie artist, there are no limitations for those brave souls who have chosen to create their own paths.

It took me quite a while to feel brave but I’ve been inspired by those who have come before me.

Specifically, two authors who have been particularly influential having navigated both the children’s literature space and adult-themed content are Shel Silverstein and Tomi Ungerer.  Both have created a stunning body of work and both have straddled the fence of wholesome and edgy to varying degrees of acceptance.  Especially in the case of Tomi Ungerer.

If you’re curious about this French provocateur, check out this documentary:  Far Out Isn’t Far Enough:  The Tomi Ungerer Story.

Meanwhile, I’m gonna go put lipstick on both sides of my mouth so I look balanced when I sing the praises of independent artists everywhere!