Big Round Numbers

‘Kay… Zoomboy is sick, first of all. And it sucks– we woke up a three this morning and he was throwing off heat like Sacramento in the summer, and then, at five (when I actually get out of bed) he didn’t feel bad. At six thirty, when his father gets out of bed, he’s back to super-nova again. He’s so sad when he’s sick. Squish hunkers down on you and just, well, squishes. Zoomboy can’t get comfy on you and mostly just lays in bed like a dead fish–too out of it to even flop. I guess the good news is, he’s too tired to beat up his little sister in the evenings… but I got to tell you, it’s eerily quiet in the backrooms here at night! But I’m staying home tomorrow–and possibly Wednesday, and Zoomboy… well, maybe by Wednesday we’ll MAKE him play soccer because he’s running around and making us crazy. I certainly hope so– crazy is crazy, but feeling bad for the goombah, well, that sucks.

And I’ve been thinking about ‘big, round numbers’.

When I used to get a review, ANYWHERE, I read it with great trepidation. I remember a couple of years ago, my hands actually got sweaty and shook, and I couldn’t swallow, and I had spots in front of my eyes–and that was for an review, not for a review site review. And I kept absolute perfect count on my review stats, too. I knew which book at amazon had how many reviews, and how many were good and how many were bad. I knew the exact same stats for, and could recite them at will–it was of PARAMOUNT importance that I knew these numbers–they were the SCIENTIFIC PROOF–and about the only proof I had that I was doing the ‘write thing’ with my time and whatever spare gifts the gods chose to throw at me.

I’ve had to get past that in the last couple of months–it’s been weird.

I mean, I still have to read them–I do. I like to see what I’ve done right and i NEED to see what I’ve done wrong, and I have, fortunately, developed an acid test for reacting to this information. If I read a review and think, “D’oh! I could have done that! It would have made the work better!” then I allow myself to internalize the criticism and take it with me. If read the review and shrug and say, “Even knowing how this person feels, I would still have written the same book,” then that is me, hopefully growing mature and learning to live with this very public form of work assessment that most people in any sort of art or performance endure.

But still–I’m getting to the place where counting every review on and is simply unfeasible, and I need to leave those sites alone and keep my own perspective. I’ve been looking forward to this place, because I recognize my own obsessiveness and I know that the only way to deal with it is to ride it out.

Well, is about to hit 1000 ratings for Amy Lane. It’s not significant in any way whatsoever, except it’s a BIG ROUND NUMBER… and that’s it. The end. It doesn’t mean I’ve ‘gotten there’, it doesn’t mean I can stop worrying what people think about my work–it just means I can stop counting, and for those of you who know my math skills, you know that’s a big weight off my chest.

And hopefully, it means my journey towards that elusive thing known as ‘perspective’ is just a little bit closer. Sometimes I think it will be like splitting infinity– I’ll never achieve it truly, and always be a bit of an exposed nerve when it comes to these things–sometimes, I think that’s where I’m supposed to be. With exposed nervedom comes a sort of necessary sensitivity–you can’t write well if you can’t feel, right? Of course, some of my best work comes when I sit at the keyboard and “open up a vein”– but even that gets messy. One of the things that writing the short pieces has taught me this year is that sometimes, you rip your heart out to write, and sometimes, occasionally, it’s okay to take a limb off a tree and let the sap flow instead. A sweet, sappy read–sometimes, it’s just the thing–and heaven knows I’m gonna bleed sometime tomorrow, right?

Anyway– it’s a big, round number, and I’m glad to reach it. Like i said, I can stop counting, cause I was never any good at it, and that means more time writing, right?

Wish my little fish well–I feel for my poor flounder! And wish me well too–I’ll be home with him tomorrow! (Yikes!) Oh yeah– and wish BOTH Mate and I luck… we’ve got double duty at two back to school nights! I got second grade–you know, it’s like a vacation?


0 thoughts on “Big Round Numbers”

  1. Poor Zoomboy. Hope he feels better soon.

  2. Mardel says:

    I live in California also, and I also work at two schools. It's weird because a week before school started, my grandson (2) came down with a very high fever that lasted a couple of days. a few days later my granddaughter came down with a 12 hour fever – pretty high also. We've all been coming down with fevers. The grandchildren both spend overnights at our house. Kids at school are also coming down with high fevers, and kids of co-workers. My mom came to visit from Panama and SHE has a fever and a pretty heavy chest cold. I haven't seen her this sick since….forever.

    Hope your little one gets better soon. If he's like my granddaughter, hopefully he'll only be sick for a little while – a day or two. My grandson now – he'll put his food anywhere and still eat it, exposing himself to tons of nasty germs….(boys!)

    And Reviews! There have been some books that I absolutely love that have been slammed by other reviewers or bloggers. And there's been a few that I thought sucked and everyone else seems to love them. You just never know – we all have such different tastes. But as an author, it must be hard to read negative reviews – especially the ones that tend to give this generic line – "I couldn't connect with the character". My thought is, you don't have to like the character. The book could be about a complete asshole, and if the story is good, then enjoy the story!

    Somehow, that was supposed to be an encouraging word from me, but I don't really have a way with words (or people for that matter! haha). But I like your more mature way of looking at criticsm – sometimes you use it, sometimes you don't.

  3. Chris says:

    Perspective is good!

    Get better, Zoomboy!

  4. roxie says:

    If Zoomboy is going to be still and radiant, maybe you could put some bread dough in the bed with him to get it to raise faster. Just trying to find the silver lining, here. Sorry. When Zoomboy is quiescent, the world quivers on its axis. Hope he heals fast, and the rest of you avoid whatever it is.

    A thousand reviews. WOW! That IS a big round number. Yay Amy!!

  5. Julie says:

    DOOD! A THOUSAND REVIEWS!! WOOT! That means a THOUSAND people read your stuff and cared to comment! Who cares what they said! (Well, okay, we care. But a THOUSAND!) I, um, I shall spaz for you, shall I?

    It does sound like you're getting mellower about reviews, and that's a good thing. I get where you're coming from on wanting to know what you did right or wrong. But, yeah.

    Sorry about Zoomboy being sick. Hope he feels better soon.

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