Stars, do you remember when I said I wanted to self-publish? Well, I found AEC Stellar through Shannon Thompson, and all they required was a blurb. I already had a solid blurb down thanks to the help of Nazarea Andrews. So I subbed my blurb, and within the hour AEC Stellar’s Raymond Vogel got back to me and requested a synopsis and part of the book. I worked an entire day on the synopsis, as I’d never done one. The editor for The Corner Club Press, Mariah Wilson, helped me whip it into shape, and off I sent it with part of the book.
The next day, I heard back and had been accepted! What’s interesting about this company is they do an assessment of the book, basically grading it as a teacher would. My partial received a 92.2%, which is really good, considering I’ve never had professional eyes look at it.
In fact, I just talked to Raymond Vogel today who said it’s in really good shape for having only been edited by me–and I had Mariah Wilson beta read it just for content, but she didn’t have much to say.
We’re hoping for a late summer release, but this is contingent on the editing involved in the process. I’ll explain in another post what prompted this sudden decision.
Okay, so Amber Skye Forbes loves attention, but The Dancing Writer is my brand, and so I’m trying to build off that. I talked a little bit about the monicker in this post. In any case, I’m going to admit I love attention. When I’m going out to work or anywhere at all, I dress as a pseudo Lolita: either sweet or casual or a little gothic. I love the attention I get from it, I’m not going to lie. As someone whose self-esteem was crushed by depression, it really does help me when I get outside affirmation from others. I mean, my self-esteem is pretty much back now that I am no longer depressed, but the attention, I still love it.
I like the attention because I want to be noticed as a person, and I think we all secretly do but are afraid of the social stigma of being called attention seekers, or, even more unkind, “attention whores,” or narcissists. As long as you’re not walking around thinking you’re the best darn thing on the face of the planet, I see nothing wrong with wanting attention. I’m not running around screaming “Look at me! Look at me!” I’m wearing my favorite style of clothes and enjoying the attention I get because of it.
I think as writers we need to get it into our heads to seek attention. We’ve got books to sell, after all. If we don’t become attention seekers, how can we expect to succeed? Plus, I have a brand I’d like to build, and I’d like people to know both my name and my brand because I’m going to use my brand for more than just books.
I want to be loud, noticed, and remembered. I don’t want to be some afterthought to someone’s day. But I don’t want to be remembered just because I’m a writer. I want to be remembered because of the things I do for people, or the things I will do for people. I’m not doing things for people just for that reason, but it’s a plus if I can go down in history somehow.
Where did this craving to be remembered come from? I think it came from depression. Depression can turn fatal if not treated–don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Not everyone who is depressed is suicidal, and vice-versa, but you can become suicidal if you’re the type to dwell on who you used to be before depression sapped the life from you.
When I was depressed, I felt insignificant. I felt like I’d never leave any mark on this world and that my illness was going to sap all my potential of ever being someone who can make a difference in people’s lives. So I guess this fervent desire for attention is my way of laughing in depression’s face, saying, “Yeah, you tried to get me, to kill me, to drag me down, but I’m going to show you I’m not insignificant, and you’re going to regret ever coming into my brain.”
Wanting to be noticed is my way of fighting. Looking back on how I felt during depression, I realize what a traumatizing illness bipolar disorder can be. Some people, I believe, can develop PTSD from being depressed or suicidal or manic or going through psychosis–it’s that frightening. I don’t think that will happen to me, but I do have my worries of my meds not working anymore because I love the person I am when I’m not depressed. I hate the person I am when depression has me.
So, Stars, go out there, seek attention, be loud, make a difference, and don’t hide.
I’ve spoken plenty on my writing life but hardly any on my dancing life. And I am The Dancing Writer, so it’s only fair I give my ballet a life a small spot in the limelight.
In any case, my ballet aspirations never manifested in childhood. Oh sure I thought pointe shoes were awesome and I’ve always wanted to try a pair on, but the dancing thing never grew in my bones and I was more of a soccer girl. I then became a track girl, then a horseback riding-band girl. It wasn’t until I saw Black Swan did I suddenly have the frenetic desire to dance. This isn’t exactly original. Lots of ladies like me saw Black Swan and wanted to do ballet. What sets me apart from most of them is that I actually stuck with it because after doing research, I knew ballet wasn’t going to be easy, especially getting en pointe.
Now that I have almost 2 years of dance experience, I look back at Black Swan with a different eye. It’s obvious Natalie Portman didn’t do most of the ballet work because she did rigorous ballet for six months every day, and even with all that, it is not possible to attain professional level dance skills within that time.
Anyway, I started ballet with private lessons twice a week for ten months. I moved up five levels within a year and got en pointe within ten months. I probably could have started sooner, but I never asked. When I wasn’t doing ballet, I strengthened the crap out of my legs, ankles, feet, core, back, you name it. I desperately wanted pointe because it is so beautiful. Also, I was obsessive because I started getting depressed in 2011 due to emerging fibro symptoms. I was obsessively pursuing pointe work to escape the pain. Because if I didn’t have ballet, I would have given in to the depressive feelings.
But obsession can be a symptom of depression. It was for me.
I then stopped private lessons due to rising prices and started classes with pre-teen/teen girls (who I adore, by the way). By the time I got to level five, it was time to slow down. I think a lot of adult ballet dancers reach a certain level where they peak and then find they have to slow down. Oh, yes, I will be starting level six over the summer, but level five is where I needed to hunker down and stick with it longer than any other level, especially because of pointe work. But my pointe work is strong enough that it’s almost like I’ve been en pointe for two years. After only a year, I can sometimes manage double pirouettes en pointe, and there are adult dancers who can barely manage a single or haven’t even started pirouettes because the dance studio wants them to be en pointe longer.
But pointe work is my favorite part of ballet. I don’t take for granted that I can do lots of fun things en pointe because it does take immense strength. Pointe work makes me feel beautiful and graceful, and I love my shoes because they are the perfect pair for me–and dancers will spend years trying to find their perfect pair.
But that’s a little background on my ballet life. I think it’s important all writers have another hobby so we don’t find ourselves trapped by writing day in and day out. What other hobbies do you guys have?