I didn't realize it might have been rude until she glared at me and demanded to know why I was staring at her.
"I'm just looking at your shoes," I said, horribly embarrassed.
And she replied: "They don't wanna know you!"
It's the kind of moment that stays with you, and sometimes, like when I'm about to post on LJ or--especially lately--when I send out another novel query after the previous one was rejected again (three for three so far!), I hear those words. They don't wanna know you.
I realize this isn't helpful, and not even true (at least with non-footwear). I've met many people who wanted to know me, though I can't speak for their shoes; and many of these people both still know me and still want to, as far as I can tell. And I know that the people rejecting my novel aren't actually rejecting me. Maybe they'd want to know me if we ever met in person, even if they did describe my novel as 'fairly well written' and 'off-putting' in the same paragraph.
Maybe I wouldn't want to know them, but that's not the point.
Radio Host Jay Smooth, who is a bit of a YouTube celebrity for his commentary on racism, homophobia and gender issues, calls these kind of internal mantras "Little Haters". He has a video about them, which is pretty cool:
And Martin Freeman, lately of The Hobbit but possibly more beloved as Sherlock's Dr. John Watson, told an Entertainment Weekly interviewer that he doesn't read reviews because (to paraphrase, because I can't find it), it wouldn't matter how many awesome reviews he got, he'd only remember the negative ones and they would ruin his life. He has inner haters too.
That's reassuring, of course, to know that even famous people have their they don't wanna know you moments. But it's also discouraging. It'd be nice to think that at some point, somehow, maybe, I'd reach a threshold of success that would mean I didn't have to make the little haters shut up all the time.
most some days, like right now, it's a constant battle to keep writing, and posting to LJ, and sending out my novel when it seems like no one will ever want it. And to remind myself that they--whomever 'they' actually are--probably do want to know me. Just maybe not my writing.
It's a battle I don't think I'll win, but I'm still trying. And I'm still writing. And that's something, right?
But their shoes would love me. Really.
Photo: "Colorful Sport Shoe" by John Kasawa, via Freedigitalphotos.net