Monday, November 26, 2012

Do not sent naked pictures to your favourite writer

I sometimes accept invitations from readers to meet for coffee or a drink. Sometimes these readers travel for the purpose. Sometimes they're long-time readers who, for a variety of reasons, have just moved to the area and are brave and think, Ah, fuck it, I'm going to try meet one of the people I know for sure lives here!

Each invitation is a leap of faith. So is my acceptance. But while I have occasionally wished I'd said no--and can only imagine the same is true for the other party--frankly, this is rare. Mostly I delight in these conversations with readers; they tend to be smart, and kind, interested and interesting; fine human being. We rarely spend much time talking about me or my work. What I have fun with is finding out about them, where and how they live, how they feel, what they think, what makes them tick. Sometimes we go way, way beyond the time allotted--which is anywhere from thirty minutes to four hours depending on my previous guesstimate of the fun quotient. (As a rule of thumb, if you're just from the other side of the city, you get coffee; if you've driven a reasonable distance, it's lunch; if you've flown in, it's dinner.) Sometimes, yes, it's true, I'd have to characterise the meeting as more tedium than fun--but I can always escape early with a "Gosh, is that the time?" and a reference to the exigencies (completely true) of work. But the occasional hour or so lost to experiment is more than made up for by the number of fine people I've met this way--a couple of whom I now count as true friends.

A certain percentage of emails from readers demand refusal but most of the time I accept. Every now and again, though, I get a vibe from an email, something I can't quite put my finger on, and I dither.

Our unconscious mind is expert: it can spot weirdness even when consciously we're not paying attention. And I admit, I haven't been paying much attention to the world the last little while: rewriting Hild means living in the seventh century; living in the seventh century demands the majority of my processing power.

Yesterday I was glad I had dithered over one particular invitation. And today I'm moved to made a Public Service Announcement:

DO NOT SEND NAKED PICTURES OF YOURSELF TO A WRITER YOU WANT TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH.

That's all.

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28 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It was just a bit of a shock. I don't think I'll ever open my email again holding hot tea...

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  2. Wise counsel.
    Thanks for the laugh.
    I always think of you when I visit my family in Seattle, but prolly won't ever make you meet me...

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    1. If you change your mind, just get in touch. (But with your clothes on, please...)

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  3. *splutters* *spews coffee across monitor*

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  4. And that is exactly the problem with opening an email containing naked readers first thing in the morning.

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  5. Yikes. My most-off-putting lunch invitation was from a reader who wanted to tell me how I could improve my books and republish them successfully.

    Yikes.

    I assume you've posted this picture online somewhere. (Kidding. I kid.)

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    1. Ah. Yes. I had that conversation once actually at the Nebula Awards when I was winning for Slow River. That is, a fellow writer began the conversation, but perhaps found my gob-smacked stare unnerving because she just wound down after a moment and backed away. Astonishment is good for some things...

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  6. It's things like this that make me somewhat terrified to be published. *shiver*

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    1. Well, I've been doing this a long time. This is the first stark naked picture ever. So I'm guessing you'd be safe for a while :)

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  7. I nearly feel bad for getting a laugh over this one. It is wrong to laugh over someone's pain, right? Or was the tea not that hot?

    On the upside, not much dithering needed on that email, right? ;)

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  8. what could be the motivation for doing a lame thing like that? Narcissism perhaps.

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  9. I don't want to speculate.

    Barbara, please don't use lame as a derogatory term (see this post for my reasoning).

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  10. First reaction: Ewww!
    Second reaction: So was it a man or a woman?
    Third reaction: Just more ewwww!

    Is it some kind of rite of passage? Have you now joined an exclusive club?

    Thanks for sharing. I have a feeling said reader will see your post.

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    1. I know of at least two writers (both male) who have no problem being sent naked photos of readers--as long as they're good-looking. But one, at least, refuses to meet readers.

      I certainly will never meet a reader who first sends me a pictures of themself naked.

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  11. Luckily I wasn't drinking my morning tea when I read your post...

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  12. As a general rule of thumb, I do not send pictures of me naked to *anyone*. I have enough embarrassing pictures of me clothed already floating around.

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  13. Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick. Does this get added to the ever-expanding list of "how you know you've made it as a writer"?

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    Replies
    1. Does anyone keep one of those nifty lists anywhere that I can link to?

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    2. Hmm, I know I've seen them, but a quick google doesn't turn up the blog post(s). Will keep looking!

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  14. Thanks for an early in the day snorting laugh! And I thought I had some scary readers following me.

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    1. Happy to help you start your day off right :)

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  15. *laughs*

    Even the slow ones understand that chocolate is the way to get to know you! How did they get such a wrong message? Too drafty? HAAAAA!

    Donna

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