I realize 1am is not the most appropriate time for deep thoughts, but I’ve been sitting here catching up on Martha O’Connor’s blog.
Who is Martha O’Connor? I’m sure you’re asking. She’s the author of “The Bitch Posse”, a wonderful piece of “women’s fiction” (whatever the fuck that means, other than the protagonist and writer are women), that can, in no way, shape or form, be described as “Chick Lit”.
I abhor Chick Lit. I find it shallow, vapid and full of caricatures. But the biggest reason I despise the stuff is because its popularity has made it IMPOSSIBLE for the rest of us. By “us”, of course, I mean women writers who are not creating ‘genre’ (ie. mystery, romance, horror, fantasy), but who are not necessarily literary either. However, it seems that unless we’re penning “coming of age” tales regarding adolescent girls, or the twenty-something “I can’t find a man” bullshit, then we’ve fallen into the black hole as far as publisher’s are concerned.
Hence why I’m fond of Martha’s debut novel. While it does vascillate between adolescence and adulthood, her protagonists, drink, smoke, fuck, and generally traumatize themselves right into loony bins, stepford wifedom and torrid affairs with teaching assistants and young, coked-up authors. It’s fantastic because it’s NOT politically correct, and because these women aren’t NICE. Fucked up, but isn’t that at least real?
In an effort to be inspired (or something), I locate Martha’s blog and I’ve spent part of my day perusing archives. One of her regular features are interviews with other women authors, which, considering the source, should be pretty damned cool.
In reality, not so much. Unfortunately, with only a couple of exceptions, all the writers profiled on her blog are polluting the world with yet MORE Chick Lit. “Coupon Girl” – who are we kidding? Obviously I haven’t read the book, so if said author stumbles in there I hope she doesn’t take my frustration personally and send me a nasty-o-gram, but in all seriousness, can we PLEASE produce commercial fiction that appeals to someone with a decent IQ? Someone who appreciates Frank Miller, Pamela DesBarres, Kevin Smith and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but who avoids reality tv, howard stern, and professional wrestling because she finds no redeeming social value in any of them? Can someone tell me why this seems to be so difficult?
My aggrivation as a reader is only trumped by my desperation as an aspiring novelist. If I can’t find other published writers doing what I’m attempting, what hope do I have of locating an agent and a publisher? In this day and age, it’s all about marketing, not about risk-taking, or the ‘beauty’ of a literary work. Like everything else, it’s about the cashola.
With titles like “Nice Girls Finish Last” spotting up Martha O’Connor’s blog (of all the places!), I have about a snowball’s chance in hell. Too bad I’m too old to start a career as a stripper.