That there up above? That’s the real deal friends. I signed the contract a bit ago, but in publishing it’s not real until PM Deal Report sez so. Happy to announce the birth of my next book, (wt) “Unbecoming a Woman.” to Simon and Schuster’s newest imprint, Simon Element.
First of all, give me a damn cookie. Because it was REALLLLLLY hard to sell a book in New York during lockdown. My agent is brilliant and she did it. Also, I am brilliant and I did it. My editor is also brilliant and she bought it.
It was hard for a lot of reasons. Try thinking of a topic worth reading that didn’t also sorta piss you off and make you want to punch people these past 18 months. Big Publishing was interested in a select handful of those topics, but deemed every other one controversial and tone-deaf. Everything took on lonesome angry suspicious overtones during that bad sad time. New York Publishing was under duress, a business who’s lifeblood are nice lunches and brainstorming meetings regulated to Zoom meetings in crowded city apartments.
BUT…it is New York and these folks are there in the first place because they be fierce.
I do not live in New York, tho. I live in Oregon. On the soft side of the state, with the people who take organic farming certification of one sort of mushroom very seriously while legalizing the microdosing of other kinds of mushrooms all in good fun.
I’m very proud of my pansy ass for dragging myself around after Zooming third-grade, putting piles of weird books by my toilet until something clicked…until some idea seeded that not only made me feel like I was adding (some funny burns) to The Great Conversation but doing so in a marketable way.
And that is why I deserve a cookie. And this publishing contract.
Honestly, I didn’t want to write a “Bad-ass Bitches of History!!” book. Because…well they’ve been done often and well. What could I add?
When I found her…I found what I wanted…needed, to add.
Claudette Colvin. I could add some Claudette Colvins. (She’s not in my book, I’m serving up even lesser known and stranger fare, but she’s the thrust of it).
You probably already know about Claudette, but she’s not a house-hold name like her successor, Rosa Parks.
Claudette did it all first, tho. She was feeling churlish and hormonal and she told a white lady she wasn’t going to move on that bus. And…you never heard of her.
Why? Because…history prefers it’s ladies to be a certain sort. Attractive in face and demeanor. Ladylike. A bitchy minority teen, no one wants to listen to that. But it’s the bitchy outliers that tend to have just enough crazy in them to DO stuff like tip off a revolution.
The Civil Rights Movement saw the value in what Claudette did, and recast the whole thing with a light skinned respectable lady, Rosa Parks. No shade on them, that was what they had to do to be heard across the country. They had to use a demure woman that would make people say “Well that’s just nonsense. That Rosa Parks lady is obviously being wronged.”
If you’ve lived to read this in 2021 you know that humans have weird and ugly mixed in with their layered warmth.
And I thought…who else did History leave out because she wasn’t the right sort? History wants a clear heroine, what of the women who were slutty, greedy, annoying, or did good things but also bad ones? Especially ones violating our 21st century values? (Margaret Sanger, y’all. She’s not in my book, neither is Claudette, but she’s an example. The woman who worked her whole life to create Planned Parenthood…but she abhorred abortion and believed in sterilizing people who couldn’t care for their young. So….whaddya gonna do with them apples?)
I’m writing a book about them apples. Those sour, rot spot, hard little apples. Because there were so many times in history where they were the best thing on the menu.
The Rules: You don’t have been a genius like Lovelace and Curie, a Homeric legend like Tubman, a Saint like Joan of Arc…and you can’t just have been an appendage to a great man, nor can you have gotten by on being attractive: you just need to have left a big important mark on history that nobody really appreciates. Cuz you were annoying, fat, weird, or unpopular.
Sometimes all of the above. Ha! I am writing about my people. (And yours too, if you read this blog).
Anyway…it won’t be out for a bit. I…have to write it. Then Simon Element is going to make is SPARKLE. They have to to compete with our internet addled attention spans. OH! I have an illustrator this time too, Lisa Jonte. I picked her, she’s mine. She draws my brain-cartoons. Better than I do in my own head.
NEW BOOK my friends! All hail the fatties and the butterfaces and the loud mouthed sluts! For upon their crooked and unlovely backs, a nation was built.