Today I proofreaded the Createspace proof of my latest book, squinting at the print by candlelight for six hours straight, until my eyes stung and I developed a splitting headache. Remember… I live in a tropical rainforest and the electric grid is worth *bleep* here, so I spend nearly 100 out of the 168 hours that any given week has in the dark. (In fact, I’m composing this blog entry in longhand, on a notepad, once more without electric power. I’m gonna get another headache when my tired eyes try to decipher my horrendous handwriting).
You probably did your last proofread, sitting on a cozy chair and by the subtle yet powerful light of a nice reading lamp. So you better STFU!
Yesterday, I had to put my memory pen drive into double ziplock bags, march through a knee-deep bog and under a soft but constant drizzle (remember; they don’t call this the rainforest for nothing), which is the closest to a sunny day I’m getting these days. Thus I walked ten miles of bad rural roads, back and forth, to the nearest place from where I could upload my book’s latest corrections to Amazon, SmashWords and CreateSpace.
You probably did that today from the comfort of your own home, sitting by your computer and simply logged in. Then it was a matter of just hitting the ‘upload book’ button. Then you probably went to the kitchen for another cup of hot tea… So you better STFU!
I returned to my house (notice I don’t use the ‘home’ term at all) feeling cold, miserable and tired. My nose was a little runny and I know I’m inviting pneumonia the way I’m running this show. There was no one there, waiting for me, to heat up a cup of tea while I removed my drenched clothes. Or to fill up the bathtub with hot water, for that matter. Because I neither have a) a wife b) a GF c) hot running water nor d) a bathtub. You see, I don’t have a significant other, because women are too keen on having luxurious items like running hot water, electricity and such, so no one will ever consider coming to this jungle of mine to play little Tarzan-and-Jane games with me.
You probably woke up this morning, basking in the comforting body-warmth of your better half, be it husband or wife (or maybe your neutered tomcat… Tom?), next to you in bed. I can’t even have a cat; they die all too easy in this jungle. So if you want to complain about the racket your kids are doing downstairs (gosh! how I’d like to have a dozen kids to complain about, so don’t get me started on the subject), you better STFU!
To make this worse, I’m a non-native English writer. I switched from Spanish to embark in a writing career. Since I started life as a Spanish speaker, you can see how my previous language occasionally encroaches into what I write, which isn’t as glamorous as Kurt Vonneguth tried once to make it sound like. There are very few occasions that people go: “Gosh! I can’t believe that English isn’t your first language!”, somewhat marveling at this accomplishment. Most of time I only get the indifferent reaction of the public and in some cases even downright hate for my cheek of even daring to write in English. I’ve met a few readers out there that basically compare this feat of mine with a crime deserving capital punishment, as if the English language was a sacrosanct shrine I shouldn’t be allowed to defile by treading on it.
So, if you think you got it hard with your indie writer carreer, remember me the next time you do your own editing. Sharpen up your red pencil and have another go at your manuscript; you were born into a free and advanced society, which did its best in hammering the necessary grammar rules inside your brain since elementary school. I never had such a benefit; I taught myself English from the ground up by means of reading, through the practice I got by writing short tales and MAD magazine. You know the drill by now, don’t you? STFU!
Don’t worry.. I’m about to finish here… though I suspect I’m the more likely recipient of a STFU! (from you) at this stage. I can see you thinking: ‘This guy’s just another whiner, let’s skip him’. Well, sir/madam/whatever, I’m not. I live under conditions that would have you running underneath your mommy’s skirt for cover, crying like a baby if you had to face them even for a single month. Like having to round up rainwater to flush my toilet, and walking back and forth to the grocery store with forty pounds of foodstuff strapped to my back. I’ve endured these conditions for almost fourteen years now, which are some sort of medal to pin on my chest. These are my war scars and I’ll show them whenever it pleases me. And since there are no signs that these conditions will improve, now, tomorrow or ever, I’m somewhat entitled on the occasional bitching session of moans and groans, which is the only solace I’m allowed nowadays. So if you’re about to call me a whiner, better think it over… because you wouldn’t survive a month in my world… Ah… for the record… STFU!