Congratulations to missourivaun. She won a copy of Let the Lover Be (ebook or paperback) from Sheree L. Greer! Woo!
Gracious me, friends! I told you we had all kinds of awesome in July! On this, the last Tuesday of the month, author Sheree Greer joins us to talk about her debut novel, Let the Lover Be, which will be released by Bold Strokes Books in about two weeks! How awesome is that, to share this excitement with Sheree and all of us here at Women and Words?
Pretty dang awesome, I’d say.
Sheree is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin native with all kinds of writing cred under her belt. She’s been published in Hair Trigger, The Windy City Times, Reservoir, Fictionary, and the Windy City Queer Anthology: Dispatches from the Third Coast. As if that wasn’t enough awesome, Sheree has also performed her work in Milwaukee, New York, Miami, Chicago, and Tampa, where she hosts the only LGBTQ open mic series, Oral Fixation. She’s the recipient of a Union League of Chicago Civil Arts Foundation Award. She completed her MFA at Columbia College Chicago and currently teaches writing and literature at St. Petersburg College.
So holy moly, you know you want to try out her debut novel, right? And you just might get a chance because Sheree is giving away a print or ebook copy of Let the Lover Be right here! (NOTE: print copy U.S. only) To join the amazing-ness, just leave a comment below. Please include your email address in the comment fill-out form but NOT in the comment body (we’re saving you, people! From spam-bots!). We’ll do the drawing Friday, August 1 at 9 PM EST. Good luck!
And now, Sheree.
Be Gentle, It’s My First Time
By Sheree L. Greer
Firsts. At their best, firsts are exhilarating, an awakening experience full of the sweetest anticipation before a burst of satisfaction. Finally. It’s happening. It’s not a wistful dream or aching fantasy. It’s really, really happening. I’m totally thinking about the excitement of a good first kiss here. That press of lips, that melting sensation, the dizzying pleasure.
At their worst, firsts are wrought with petrifying anxiety, a terrible experience full of the highest pressure imaginable before a fumbling, bumbling misfire. That misinterpreted, misaligned lean-in for a good night kiss turned head butt. First kiss fail.
Sure, these are polarities, but the question emerges: How do we navigate between the two? How do we ensure a beautiful, quenching first experience and avoid a regrettable, pain-stricken first experience?
Hell if I know.
I’m poised to find out though. On August 19, 2014 my debut novel, Let the Lover Be will be released by Bold Strokes Books. To say I’m excited is an understatement. I’ve been walking around feeling something like a firecracker, a bundle of fireworks really. The fuses are lit and when the day comes, watch the sky for whistling, booming, crackling explosions of red, green, blue, and shimmering gold. In private moments, I imagine everyone enjoying the light show of my excitement, then I’m instantly hyper-aware of what it all means. A book in the world to be read and picked apart and criticized, and the panic sets in: what if everyone hates it? What if everyone loves it but I can’t deliver again? What if it does well at first then slides into oblivion? These doubts and anxieties are the equivalent of that one party-pooping cop that pulls up while I’m excitedly setting off really great, and surprisingly inexpensive, fireworks in the middle of my otherwise quiet neighborhood street. “Do you have a permit for those?” This may or may not have happened in real life. And I may or may not constantly side-eye my neighbors trying to figure out who called 5-0.
Is there a first-novel-flop police? A don’t-quit-your-day-job justice league? I picture them in navy blue uniforms, solid gold buttons and badges, and knee-high patent leather boots. They blow whistles to stop you mid-key stroke and wield hot pink, foam billy clubs that squeak as they knock writers on the head, saying, “Thou shalt not write crap.” Are those fur-lined handcuffs?
See how ridiculous it all sounds? How ridiculous it ALL is?
One never knows what a first time is going to be like, a first novel especially. And worrying only serves to drive you crazy, resulting in scattered, cartoonish flights of fancy about everything but what matters most.
I wrote a novel. A novel that is going to be published. That is the first for me, the sweet, intoxicating first kiss with being a novelist. It feels good, and I feel good, having finished something I put my mind and heart to, having been loved and nurtured through the process, having seen it through to the end. Writing can feel so solitary, so scary, but you aren’t ever really alone, there are writers who get nervous, who are uncertain, who are writing for their lives just like you. This is us. Writers. Who else and what else could we be? And suddenly, the fear is gone. The anxiety dissipated. First time fireworks or first time funk, we keep showing up. It’s what we do. If your ass is in the chair and you keep coming back, keep pushing, keep writing, you are doing something daring and important, every time a first time to surprise and challenge yourself, to surprise and challenge the world.
Perhaps that’s the point with something you love. Every time is a first time and it’s always everything at once; every time is an exhilarating-petrifying-high-pressure-fumbling-bumbling-awakening first time that leaves you dizzy and anxious, satisfied and wanting more.
Thanks, Sheree, for joining us!