Mental quirks again

Imma talk about another aspect of my brain’s Escher-esque architecture in this post. Today’s stray personal oddity: on top of being face-blind and conflating all context-related memories into one, I lack a tagging system for remembering readers.

Neurodivergence is FUN! Data storage? Plenty! Randomizer that shuffles data together? Top-notch! System for relating data points to origin? Non-standard. Long-term associative storage? Faulty.

Without regular, consistent replacement, memory connections between source & data fray, get impossibly tangled and snap.

This is not cool in many ways. Case in point: even if I know you well in real life (no, honestly, especially if) chances are excellent that I do not know if you’ve ever read any of my books or if you did, whether you liked them.

It isn’t a matter of what I want. I LOVE knowing people love my stories. It is pure happiness. I have given years of my life to my characters & their crises and conflicts, and knowing others also love them is a joy and an honor, and I am beyond thrilled whenever readers tell me what they like about my worlds. It is EXCITING. it is WONDERFUL. AFFIRMING. GLORIOUS.

But there’s a difference between that goodness and getting it to stick.

Seriously. You could tell me my books changed your life, creating a memory I would keep forever and use for encouragement during Bad Writing Times..but three hours/days/weeks/months down the line, my ability to associate that memory with a specific who will be lost.

A few special folks make a point to strengthen and refresh their book connections by reminding me of them–repeatedly and often–but that’s a gift I accept with gratitude, but an expectation. The default for everyone else is “not interested or read them and did not like them.”

This is a thing I felt was important to share with readers & friends– especially since those groups overlap–for two reasons.

1: Uncomfortable updates. If you’ve ever told me you were going to read one of my books? Please stop nervously waiting for me to ask about it. I won’t. Ever. Please stop reporting to me that you haven’t finished it, or got busy, or…whatever. Leave me ignorant. I’ve forgotten, and I loathe the idea of reading from a sense of obligation. Hearing you are forcing yourself to read my story despite thinking it’s too “meh” to make you stay up late finishing? That hurts. Skip it.

2: Accidental secretiveness. I put detailas onto social media in dribs and drabs as my self-confidence allows, but I rarely volunteer details about writing in real life. It’s hard to bait me into talking about my work, and I find ways to quickly change the subject when I realize I’ve wandered into those weeds.

Don’t I want to talk about my imaginary friends & villains & my clever plot ideas & plans for maybe-books? OHGAWDOFCOURSE. I’m dying to yammer on. Get me wound up, and keep asking me questions or pose hypotheticals and I could go on for hours. Blissfully.

But while I know some of my friends online & off have read my books, I don’t know which of you would rather be boiled alive than be subjected to discussion. And I am Not Good about social interactions in the first place.

Most questions containing the words “writing” or “book” fall into the same conversational heading as, “How are you?” People want a quick call-and-response social interaction, not an information dump. When the subject comes up, I will reach for a canned response from my polite-interaction playbook, not an armload of plot bunnies and funny character quirks from my series bible.

And because the questioner or other listeners might be someone who thinks my beloved fictional buddies are made of MEH, I’ll lob the conversational ball away ASAP.

I’m not reticent because I lack faith in my writing. I think it’s fabulous. I’m quiet because talking about it hits an unfortunate intersection of brain idiosyncrasies.

ANYway. If you ever wonder about the mechanics of T-series rampages, or how R-factor activation works, or you want to know all about Colonel Galloway’s backstory and why the hell Kris married a jerk like her ex-husband, or if you wish I would share what adventures I have in store for Serena & Justin & Felicity…hit me up.

I’m not snubbing you. I’m navigating social shit as best I can with uncooperative hardware. If you want to know the workarounds, they’re pretty simple:

  • ONLINE:
    • respond to work in progress updates with questions. Regularly. Eventually it starts to sink in.
    • comment on writing-related posts that you liked a book & why. (that second part is critical because a 2nd connection = 2x the sticking power )
    • All this assumes the social media platform cooperates by showing you posts, but the more we interact, the more likely that is.
  • IRL
    • drop book-related trivia on me, or ask questions
    • be persistent when I turn the conversation to something else. Deflection is a deeply-rutted habit.
  • BOTH
    • resign yourself to me still not remembering you’re a happy reader the next time
    • Maybe think of it as an easy way to give me a nice surprise

In other news: I’m about 55% of the way through the edits on Sharp Edge of Yesterday now, and while working speed will slow down again when I near the end where things need more polishing, it’s a blast to be racking up multiple chapters a day right now. GOOD TIMES.

That’s all until later!

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