Cake or Death....by Heather Mallick
Heather Mallick is a Canadian writer, for those of you who haven't heard of her - Us journalist types think that everyone has always heard of us - we're so wrong! - who has worked at many newspapers as a writer and editor. She's now writing for Chatelaine and CBC.ca.
Anyway, a couple weeks ago, after my first reading for my book Wiped! Life with a Pint-Size Dictator, it kind of hit me hard - like a slap in the face - that readings are awful things to do as a writer.
It's so awful to walk into a room, see two hundred chairs laid out, realize that your reading is on some big playoff hockey game night (and I couldn't give a rat's ass about hockey) and that it's lucky that 30 people showed up.
So I made a pact with myself that I must support the arts more.
And by supporting the arts, I mean showing up for readings of other authors who come through town. Literally, I will be a seat filler if it does make an author feel better during a reading. Because I've been there, done that, grateful to all those who show up.
At around the same time I heard Mallick was coming to Calgary, she received a brutal review about her book in a newspaper. It was so brutal, in fact, that I was completely intrigued by the book (Maybe it's true that all press is good press?)
I decided that, because of my new pact to go to book readings, and because of this awful review that completely intrigued me to the book, that I would go see Heather Mallick in person (I have never met her before) when she came through Calgary.
One of my writer friends, when I told him I was going to a book reading FOR MY FIRST TIME that night said something like, "Well, bring a pillow you might fall asleep."
Anyway, I was very proud of myself because not only did I make the reading, I forced the fiance to come with me.
I often tape shows on television for the fiance about writers and "The writing life," just so maybe he can understand how hard and depressing and isolating and how insecure all authors are.
I need him to know that writing is not always, or ever, that much fun. And that I'm not completely crazy. I'm just a writer! (What came first, the chicken or the egg? Am I crazy because I'm a writer, or am I writer because I'm crazy?)
The point is, that maybe by bringing the fiance he would see that being an author is hard work.
Anyway, I arrived at the reading, took a seat with the fiance beside me and Heather Mallick (who I was stunned to see looked so cute and petite in person) began to read from her book. She started with one of her essays about why we should have higher taxes.
Immediately, in my head, I was like, "OH MY GOD. DON'T DO IT! DON'T READ THAT!" I mean, this was in Calgary, where everyone and their dog believes that they are already taxed way too much.
I thought the fiance was going to walk out in fact. But he stayed put. (The Fiance and I do have different beliefs when it comes to taxes.)
I have to admit that I never really got Mallick's columns before. I mean, they were certainly good enough for me to read them, from beginning to end (a huge feat for any writer) but I always felt like I was missing the joke.
But, in person, she's probably one of the funniest women I have ever met. I get her now! I get her!
She's friggen odd! And by odd I mean in that great way, in the way that you actually start getting a crush on a person because they are so odd (Kind of like my American Idol boyfriend, Blake Lewis...there's just something about him.)
I swear to god, I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time.
And this is also why people should go to book readings. Because as she was reading her essays or "rants," I completely understood her sense of humour. Now, not only do I have a crush on Mallick, but I'm obsessed with going to more book readings.
When I told this to another male writer friend, he said, "God, you must be really bored!" The thing is, I'm not bored. Heather Mallick was super entertaining. Honestly. She was better than any movie I've seen in the past six months. AND I'M SUPPORTING THE ARTS!
The fiance and I went out for dinner after the reading. As soon as I got home, I cracked open Mallick's book, Cake or Death, and practically read the whole thing in one night.
In fact, I don't understand why she got such a bad review. I don't get it at all. The reviewer, I think, should go see Mallick in person and then maybe she'll get her writing.
The book is laugh-out-loud funny, even if you don't agree with Mallick. I was literally reading lines out of the book to the Fiance, while he was watching the golf channel.
Or maybe I'm just as strange as Mallick is. Who knows? But I do know that she's my new girl crush.