Since this is a debutante ball, I thought I should let you know I’ve already “come out.” I was going through customs a few weeks ago and for the first time when asked what I did for work I answered, “I’m a writer.” I fully expected flashing lights, sirens and to be dragged to a back room where a burly customs agent named Flo would do a search I wouldn’t soon forget. I felt like there would be a sneer and a raised eyebrow. “So you think you’re a writer huh?”
I fought the urge to explain to the officer that while I still had a day job, I had sold a book to a real live publishing company. It was time to come clean, to stop hiding my true nature, to come out. Counseling pays the bills, but I make my living as a writer.
I didn’t become a writer in the customs hall, or when the book sold, or even when I finished writing the novel. It was a slow evolutionary process. These posts can only be so long so here is the short version of my development:
• Parents provide me with annoyingly healthy upbringing thus depriving me of fodder to write about in later years.
• Discover books are not just for chewing.
• Realize if you make stuff up and pretend it is true they call you a liar and you’ll be punished, however if you say it’s a story you are imaginative and precocious.
• Recognizing that mainstream cheerleader-style popularity will elude me, I channel my inner Molly Ringwald and wear vintage clothing and sport giant puffy hair.
• Believe passionately that Duran-Duran is the greatest musical talent of my generation.
• My writing stars a main character who is a slightly dorky girl who through a Cinderella-like process gets boobs, bravado, and the boy. I did not recognize the autobiographical elements.
Ages 21- 30:
• Fear of living in an impoverished garret (I like chocolate far too much to be a starving artist) leads to pursuing education in counseling.
• Meet, woo, and marry the man of my dreams.
• Spend time wondering if I can write a whole novel. Turns out I could: a really, really, bad novel. Decide to stick with day job.
Ages 31- to present
• Realization that no one else really cares what I am wearing, saying, or doing, thus freeing me up to spend time on more important things.
• Awareness that fear of rejection is not nearly as big as the fear of not having even tried. Begin writing more seriously, even sending some of it to (gasp) others.
• Find agent, sell novel, and daydream of full time literary diva status. Consume full daily calorie allotment in chewed fingernails while awaiting book release.
I can’t think of a better place to come out than here at the debutante ball. Come back often to see where we go from here. I suspect it won’t be all pearls and silk gloves, but I’m certain it won’t be dull. Maybe we could play some Duran Duran to get the party started….
17 Replies to “Coming Out Party by Debutante Eileen”
I love the timeline!
Oh, and as far as Duran-Duran, I’m partial to “Hungry Like the Wolf”…
Lol! I don’t knowabout Duran Duran, Adam Ant was much cuter.
I remember being so depressed when Simon LeBon got married. What kind of pre-teen/tween feels that way about a guy named “Simon LeBon?” Even if he is an international pop star, old enough to be her father, and is never likely to ever meet her? Gross.
Anyway, yaaay for you on the coming out party! 🙂
Clearly I have touched a nerve. Who knew so many hungered like a wolf after DD? I know a couple (grown people) who named their child Rio. I kid you not.
Congrats on getting in with the popular girls! Now you really ARE Molly Ringwold, as in The Breakfast Club. Better start practicing putting on your lipstick. 🙂
You are such an evolved writer! 😉 I still have yet to “come out” (one reason I have the pen name) but I’m working on it. Knowing that we can trade pearls and silk gloves any time helps …
Realize if you make stuff up and pretend it is true they call you a liar and you’ll be punished, however if you say it’s a story you are imaginative and precocious — amazing!! I, too, am a former Duranie, though I was always more about John than Simon.
“Parents provide me with annoyingly healthy upbringing thus depriving me of fodder to write about in later years.” The family still finds that you found some “fodder” as evidenced by your cousins comment on the Vacation Ham article I sent her. She said in her E-mail, “This is why Michelle and Lorraine wouldn’t allow Eileen anywhere near them after they got drinking.”
Friend checking in!
Love the digs. And Duran Duran… That brings back memories. 🙂
OK, embarrassing Duran Duran confession: I went through a phase where I swore if I ever had a daughter I’d name her Rio. This is probably why I don’t have a daughter.
Duran Duran. Oh, the memories. Love the post.
Your father is great! I think he provided you with a curiousity for life that comes out in your writing.
OMG, your father posted a comment? That is too cute. Really. Now you HAVE to post a photo of him – it’s adorable.
Great opener Eileen! Can’t wait until next week’s piece.
You are the second person to comment about a father posting or reading their chiild’s blog. I thought the job of a parent was to monitor what their children were doing even after they had “left the nest”. (In Eileen’s case this means her consevative father reads what his liberal daughter is writing about. Firstly to enjoy the humor and secondly to put the story correct when she errs in her writings about her family and how we mistreated and abused her when raised her.) As to the picture, I am kind of a mix of Robert Reford and Bob Newhart. (That’s two old flatulence that were known for their good looks and humor. I won’t say which one I got from who.)
Eileen’s Very Proud Dad
What?! You thought our novel was really, really bad? I’m shocked, appalled…and totally agree with you. It was a new category of crap – but a whole lot of fun to write. Simon, totally Simon. For the rest of you, Eileen’s dad is wonderfully funny, amazingly sweet and devastatingly handsome – as are her mom. (I even know where they live!)
To Eileen’s Very Proud Dad:
Seeing how the rest of us don’t have blog-savvy dads (at least not yet — you’re my inspiration!), you are welcome to post comments on my blog any time.
PS. Eileen, I am anxiously waiting a post by your mom next!
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