I was reading an article about the stunning, talented Angelina Jolie. The interviewer met with Ms. Jolie in Venice. There’s all this talk about canals, paintings, amazing history, boats, servants, the clothes, VIP entrances…the life of a megastar.
It all got me thinking about my amazing and glamorous life, the book signings, the requests for my autograph, the people who can’t wait to hear how awesome it must be to be a writer, the bestseller lists…
When I was eight, all I wanted to do was be a writer. I learned to drink coffee before I was twelve so I could stay up all night with a pen and paper. By the time I was an anguished teen writing (horrible) poetry about unrequited love, I decided it was cool to be a tortured soul. (I was not an obnoxious teenager, I was a tortured soul.)
I kept at it, fueled by coffee and cigarettes (I didn’t inhale. No really. I didn’t. I gagged if I tried. So I valiantly puffed). Oh, yeah, and dreams of stardom.
So…the glamorous life I lead…
My first book signing was a blast! An author who has now gone on to become a New York Times Bestseller was gracious and encouraged others to buy my books as well. I sold out of all my books. (Okay, so maybe ten of them.)
My last book signing, my mom came. And my sister. And my kids, because they were brought, whether they wanted to be there or not.
The last time I was asked for an autograph, it was by a clerk when she presented my credit card receipt. “Can I get your autograph right there?” I was stunned and flattered and uh, actually signed with my pen name, not my legal name. I had to cross out the flowing signature and replace it with the much more pedestrian real one.
Recently a publisher sent me copies of an upcoming release. I went to pick up the package at the post office. The publisher had addressed it to my pen name. Since I’m so well known (did I mention the adoring fans?), I had to go home and get a contract that had my pen name and my legal name on it. Oh yeah, and stand in line again.
Writers love to be asked about their latest book or newest story idea while we’re at cocktail parties. Usually, though, people only ask because they’re interested in telling us that they’re thinking of writing a book. “You don’t say, Doctor Allen. I was thinking about doing brain surgery.”
The bestseller lists are the best. I learned how to do screenshots so I can prove I was there. (Don’t believe me? Check out my website. Yep, screenshot right there.) See, world? I did hit the best seller list. For three and a half minutes. (I have learned not to “refresh” the screen when my name is actually on the list!)
Can’t forget the beautiful clothes. When I write, I wear yoga pants, not haute couture. I forget to put on make-up. And my just-styled hair falls limply into my eyes. And yeah, in desperation, I even go to Starbucks dressed that way, even though I tell myself I won’t.
And, darn it, I’ve become an adult. I no longer drink pot after pot of coffee. I gave up the cigarette habit. And I sleep more normal hours.
Oh yes, the glamorous life. But when I’m interviewed by a national magazine, you can bet I won’t tell the truth. (And surely movie stars don’t look like movie stars all the time. Hey, it’s my fantasy.)