Like me, millions of writers with sour grapes are asking themselves daily how they failed to get published in the publication or by the publishing house of their dreams. It's simple: For years, they -- we -- were lied to.
Creative writing instructors and Writer's Digest tell you, "Just write what you know." That is great advice, as long as what you know is pitched to someone you know, very well, like a sibling, who works at, say, an influential New York City-based publication like The Wall Street Journal.
What could I have done differently over the past years?
For starters, had I known years ago what I know now, I would have gladly stitched a faux family crest on all the Ross and T.J. Maxx clothing I wore in college and maybe carried a lacrosse stick -- all the while pretending to know nothing of its Native American origins. Show me to any country club and I would've happily waltzed onto its veranda crying, "Connections!" If it were up to me, I would've been any of the Connections: Daughters of the American Revolution, Junior League... Brown -- the university, most definitely not the color of my actual skin.
I also should have created a fake lineage. I'm talking pilgrim. How many more times do I have to read about another connected writer wanting to experience the Trail of Tears, just like their beloved great-great 1/58th Cherokee grandpa did, so they could write a book about it? I'm gonna find me a boat builder, have him construct the exact replica of the Mayflower just so I can document and, of course, publish my 66 day journey from England to Massachusetts -- just like my beloved great, great 1/58th British abuelo did.
Providing spa services for rich people's "adopted" pets -- yeah, that would have granted me another connection.
Having Erica Jong as a mom helps, too. As the youngest of two daughters, I noticed long ago that my divorced mom with two jobs gave up on spending good money on pencil sets and notebooks for me. Instead of "Why don't you write a novel, memoir or handbook?" it's "Can you add to the grocery list that we need more toilet paper and tortillas?"
Then there was that writing conference. I should've done what I knew was best -- go to the main guest speaker, scoop up his book, take a few pictures, and write him essays and post blogs and tweet about how spending that afternoon with "Bradford" changed my life. Because everyone knows that if you don't flatter a published writer enough, you are NEVER going to get his contacts to The New Yorker.
And to those Connected Writers who, like actress Ally Sheedy (whose mother was a writer and press agent), by age 12 got their first children's book published or who co-wrote a guilt-free brownie recipe book with Gwenyth: Yes, my tias send me your news clippings and ask, "Where's your book, mija?"
Yeah, you make us mere mi'jas look bad. (Also, I am desperately jealous and willing to pay a lot to learn your secretos.)
To those claiming that I am bitter -- you bet I am! An underachieving selfish writer making excuses for her own failures? That too! To those of you disgusted by this, shocked that I take for granted the wonderful gifts I have been afforded as a Latina from a working-class background with years and years of rejection slips and not privy to an ounce of nepotism? I say shhhh -- Girls is on.