Not so welcome is the attention I've gotten since the mid-'90s, when I went from writing little smart articles for little smart (poor) publications to more mainstream article for big fat (rich) publications. People seem entirely content to look at something I wrote and say whatever shitty and insulting thing comes to mind, and every single one of them is burned into my brain.
Just in case you don't believe me, here's a partial list:
- "No offense, but your magazine's worse for women than Hustler." (nb: six months later, the same person was begging me to get her novel excerpted in that same magazine)
- "I just can't believe you think it's OK to pump that crap out." (two weeks later, an email from this person asking how she could freelance for my magazine)
- "Why not just write for Bust or Ms.?" (I was able to tell this person that, in fact, I was writing a feature for Bust that was paying me $150, while the Maxim feature she was bitching about had paid literally 20 times that)
- "We don't want any more of these." (An agent, indicating the three-book arc I'd written about teens who become reality TV stars. My babies! We don't want any more of my babies?)
- "Well, how about this... is that stupid enough for your article? (This from an expert who was getting free publicity for her stupid sex-advice book via my stupid article)
- "You mean there's a difference between Glamour and Self? I thought they were all just 'ten ways to get a guy to hand over his wallet.'" (I reserve comment.)
- "I can not believe you got paid money to write... that." (Full disclosure: the story I had pulled out was really silly. On the other hand, fuck you. What did you ever get paid to write? Actual answer: "A lot of money.")
- "No seriously, I'm totally impressed that you wrote books! This just isn't the kind of thing I usually read." (I've had 2 husbands and 2 serious boyfriends since I started writing books, and 0% of them has managed to plow through my prose. Granted, they're essentially Gossip Girl with less sex and more smarts, but how hard could it be?)
- "Good lord, can't you just write for the New Yorker?" (Yes, mom. I can, I just won't.)
Usually I take the criticism in stride. Yes, it's odd to me that, like lawyers and Catholics, I seem to be in a group that it's just considered OK to take pot-shots at. (at which it's OK to... oh, never mind.) Sometimes it rankles. What are you gonna do?
No seriously, is there something I can do?!