There are a few things–a few phrases–I really hate. General stuff, like “We can’t afford that” or “We don’t carry half sizes” (stupid English shoe stores, what the fuck is your problem with half sizes? Do all English women have perfect-size feet?). More specialized phrases, like “Don’t go there.”
But the one that really gets on my nerves these days is “The book of [my, her, his, their, our] heart.”
Why? Because it sounds sappy. Because it’s redundant. All my books come from my heart (and I just gagged, even having to type that, but I had to make the point). And because…it just…it reeks of the Harriet Carter catalog, the home decorated entirely in calico fabric stuffed cats and potpourri, the appliqued sweater and bejeweled eyeglasses. Of women who think Beanie Babies are just darlin’ and wear a lot of Black Hills gold.
Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with those things (well, except the Black Hills gold, but then I don’t like gold in general). But neither are they really professional.
And therein lies the problem. When I see someone online talking about “the book of their heart” I immediately assume two things: One, that the person is a bit pretentious, because frankly I don’t think what’s in my heart (hate, lust, rage, the occasional urge for some fries) is all that special that people would be lining up to examine it; and two, that the person is a beginner. Because all of our books come from inside us. If you think there’s something special about yours coming from there, you’re not really familiar with this process.
Worse, denying that your book came from your heart then makes you sound cold and clinical. Like those “book of the heart” people are artistes; you’re just some hack spitting out words in a calculated attempt to make some money. It’s kind of like how in ’97 everybody loved Titanic, and if you said you didn’t even bother to see the film they eyed you with suspicion. (Yes, I speak from experience. Never saw it, never will.) It was as though I’d admitted I liked to slaughter babies on my off-hours, rather than simply choosing not to see a schmaltzy tragedy film with a soundtrack that registered just above Bryan Adams on the Irritating Scale, when I could have been watching Hard Boiled instead.
Even more bothersome is the idea that because a book came “from the heart” that automatically gives it more merit than other books. Hey, Mein Kampf came from the heart too. That doesn’t mean it’s a worthy book. (It’s not. I’ve read parts of it, don’t ask why it’s a long story. It sucked. Obviously.) (Okay this is going to bug me. I had a rommate for a while, and one day her boyfriend “found” [so he claimed] a copy of the book, and he brought it to our place and left it there, and I was curious, and then I threw it away.)
Just because the book is “from your heart” doesn’t mean the rest of us have to give a shit, and ultimately, I feel like that’s what people are trying to force me to do when they say “This is the book of my heart.” It feels like I’m being manipulated. It feels like someone plucking at my sleeve and demanding I care about them, then following me around with big mournful Keane painting eyes until I want to murder them with an axe.
So please, let’s just avoid it from now on, okay?
Oh, and one other quick thing, just for my own benefit: a publisher that sends you edits when they do not have your signed contract or even the promise that they will get your signed contract is probably not a publisher who has their shit together enough to be worth your time. Thank you; I had to get it out, it was killing me.
New Words: 2,430
Total wordcount: 42,437
The Good: Yeah! Violence and sexiness!
The Bad: Oooh, bad guys breaking and entering and threatening…
The Gross: Well, injecting someone with WD-40 is pretty gross I guess.
The rampant drug use: Lines, pills.
Location: Chess’s apartment, Lex’s place
Downspeech: “Chess? Damn, baby, where you at? Terrible ripping this town apart looking for you, said your door open and your place all scraped? You alive?”
I Hate My Work: Oh, why do you suck so bad? This isn’t good. This is taking forever, because you are a hack.