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With Friends Like That (It’s Hard to be Humble)

July 31, 2008

First, you don’t have to adjust your computer monitor (or GoogleReader or Bloglines) – this is still the same old blog, just with a new(ish) name. I always felt The Written Word was too generic, so welcome to Stephanie’s Written Word! There is no need to adjust your links, since the URL has stayed the same. 🙂

As promised yesterday, Rebecca Flowers was nice enough to write a guest post for Stephanie’s Written Word. As I mentioned, one of my favorite parts of Nice to Come Home To was the humerous writing and as you can tell by the below post, Rebecca didn’t hold back on me! Thanks Rebecca. 

People ask me how I can be so humble, with so much amazing success on my hands.  It’s true!  I’m not bragging!  I’m really, really, really humble.   It sort of blows my mind, when I think about it.

 

Here’s a good story to illustrate where all this humility comes from.

 

I got an email from a reader in NEW ZEALAND (!!) who had gotten my book at a local library and wanted to tell me how much she enjoyed it.  After zipping that baby off to my agent, my editor, and my mother (in that order), Twittering it, blogging it, and posting it to Facebook, I then forwarded it to my support system, my sangha, the five people I’ve known since college and have been emailing with all day, every day, since email became available to people without pencil pocket protectors.  I knew they would be thrilled for me, impressed at how far the little book had traveled.  Here’s an exact transcription of our email exchange:

 

ME:  Look at this email from NEW ZEALAND!  Someone in NEW ZEALAND read my book!

[long, dreadful, no-replying pause]

Blobby:  Wow.  I didn’t know Orcs knew how to read.

 

(For those of you who haven’t been tracking these people for a hundred years, this, as I and the others instantly knew, was a reference to the fact that the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in New Zealand.  Clever, huh.)

 

No other replies. For another half an hour I sit and stare at my in-box, waiting for the others, who will surely have more appreciation for my stardom.

 

Finally, the replies-to-all come pouring in:

 

San: LOL!  I literally am laughing out loud at that, Blobby!

Ditto: Me too!  ORCS!

Me: Oh brother.  I have a reader in NEW ZEALAND, and Blob gets the props for a dumb Orc joke?

Blobby: Jealous much?

Morty: We haven’t even begun making fun of that letter yet, Bec.

Ditto: Orcs!  I’m STILL LOL’ing!

[Unfortunately, I am using gmail, so I don’t have the eyeball-rolly emody, but if I did it would totally be IN THEIR FACES!]

 

I know, I know, at times like these your nearest and queerest can seem like insensitive jerks.  You may feel hurt, or angry.  You may want to feed their email addresses to LOLCats spam bots, and blog about all their dirty little secrets. (Blobby picks his nose in the car.  I’ve seen him do it.  In fact they all do it.)

 

But you must remember: hard as it is to believe, you need these people.  When things seem to be going well, when you’re “surfing,” you’ll need those who have known you the longest, who have seen you at your worst, to help remind you that, no matter how high you may be riding that wave, you’re just the same old goober that you always were. In the book-writing business, particularly, it’s very important to be reminded of your essential gooberness because having a book published is chock full of head-inflating opportunities, oh boy is it ever. 

 

Such as when one single solitary person shows up to see you at a well-publicized reading in Albany. Or when Amazon says only 3,812,456 other books sold better than yours that day.  Or when the single email you get after a prominent radio interview says how annoying you were.   

 

In those moments, it’s helpful to have someone who will smack you down like a boneless chicken breast (Blobby: “Well, to be fair, I’m sure you were annoying.”). Otherwise all that amazing success will go to your head and the next thing you know, your guitarist and bassist have both quit, even Sheryl Crow won’t date you and you’re well on your way to Celebrity Rehab III.  We great all need our levellers.  It’s a tried-and-true, classic arrangement: Prince Hal had Falstaff.  Gatsby had Nick.  Whitney had Bobby.  Liza Minelli had that gay fool, oh, whats-his-name.  You get the picture.  When you’re an amazing famous person, you need help keepin’ it real.  Fo’ shizzle.  Know what I’m sayin’, homes?

 

So when your crew fails to respond positively – or, hell, even appropriately – to all your little triumphs, consider yourself just one step closer to achieving true, universe-ruling greatness.  And anyway, when it comes down to it, what’s more important, having friends, or selling books?  Well, maybe that’s not really what it comes down to, because the answer to that, obviously,  is selling books, which is more important than watching your whole bridal party get tossed into a burlap sack and beaten senseless with baseball bats.  Which, actually, I would pretty much enjoy seeing, under any circumstances.

 

In conclusion, I think I’ll just let the rest of the email thread speak for itself:

 

Ditto:  When you guys give me a compliment, I’m through the roof, but when you say something critical I’m down for days.  I give you all way too much power.

Me: Maybe we’re just shitty friends.

San: I’ve got the power!  I’ve got the power!  Now YOU’VE got that song in your head! Ha ha!

Ditto: You may be shitty friends, but you’re all I’ve got.

 

*

 

 

Rebecca Flowers is the author of NICE TO COME HOME TO (Riverhead Books), currently available at premier bookstores everywhere (crappy ones, too).  She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two Viking warriors, aka the children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Cat permalink
    July 31, 2008 11:43 am

    Oooh, sending out email addys of people who tick you off to LOLcats spambots. That’s a great idea! Haha! You are very funny and I have already added your book to my wishlist (and will check to see if my silly library has it in English!)

  2. July 31, 2008 12:06 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this! It reminds me of the other day after an author offered to send me a review copy and do an interview after I’ve read it, and I was so excited because I’m still new to this game. I told my daughter about it, assuming that of all people she’d be happy, and she rolled her eyes and said, “Mommy, don’t brag.” I hope she shows a little more excitement when I finish writing my book. 🙂

  3. July 31, 2008 12:09 pm

    Anna – yeah, children have a way of grounding us…usually in not the most subtle way either!

  4. July 31, 2008 12:55 pm

    I’m glad you kept the same picture on top. It is my favorite!

  5. July 31, 2008 2:26 pm

    Ms Flowers is SUCH a liar!

    I would never pick my nose in a car. Ever. I think anything that comes out of the nostril area is horribly disgusting.

    However, to be fair – the rest of what she stated I had said was verbatim….and in context. Guilty!!!

  6. July 31, 2008 3:29 pm

    Nice post. I’ll have to check out your book. Then you’ll have a reader from Pennsylvania!!! Wish I could say I was Amish to perhaps impress your friends, but no such luck.

  7. Andrew Schamess permalink
    July 31, 2008 6:14 pm

    I have ridden in a car with Blobby and will testify that my wife is absolutely right about him. But let’s rise above that and run a campaign based on the issues.

    This is hilarious, Rebecca; and, Stephanie, I’m so glad to have discovered your lovely blog – I will definitely check back here and read it often.

  8. July 31, 2008 6:28 pm

    OK, I have to admit, I’ve never even met Blobby, but with a screen name like that, can’t you just imagine a nose-picker? “)
    Thanks you guys for visiting and I am so glad that Rebecca has such a great, albiet a tad bit “off in the head” support system.

  9. August 1, 2008 9:10 am

    HEY! I was in your bridal party!!!!

    LOL column, as always, Becca. Thanks!

  10. August 1, 2008 4:08 pm

    In the enclosed walls of our home we lack humility on all levels. We do silly dances, we break out in singing songs that we make up as we go…all in honor of our success’.

    When we walk out the front door we walk in complete humility for having had such an honor, opportunity, elevation in life, liberty and justice for all.

    For years I owned a very successful business, on the frontlines of those in my industry as being a leader, and I being someone to know. It was not until divorce stripped me down that many of my friends asked me why I never told them I owned that company?

    I loved being part of something so good, I did not know how to always handle the attention and flattery outside of my four doors, except of course the polite thank yous.

    Selling books or friends you ask? They fall under two different catagories. If your friends are buying you the food in your frig, the car payment and the morgage then definately your friends come first, but true and real friends know it’s the job that is going to fund that next friends get-a-away, or the dinner over with friends, or the drinks with friends and so on. I enjoyed reading your blog today.

  11. August 2, 2008 9:26 am

    If Dr Schamess has proof of this alleged nose-picking incident, I suggest he produce it at once.

    I will NOT be Swift-Boated!!!

  12. August 4, 2008 2:04 pm

    Rebecca – EXCELLENT guest post. I’m headed over to your blog to check out your digs myself. 😀

  13. August 4, 2008 3:25 pm

    LOL! Love the new name and the guest post! Brava!

  14. August 10, 2008 11:25 am

    Rebecca is hysterical! Fo shizzle!

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