Friday, May 18, 2007

What Does That Mean?

Yesterday on CNN some talking head suggested that we "man up" and "get 'er done." I heard this while passing through my parents' living room, where CNN blares 18 hours a day. I paid no real attention and don't know what topic was under discussion, only that a paid professional used these phrases in all seriousness.

I've heard "man up" before, of course, but now broadcasters are using it. In context, it always seems to suggest that someone become more agressive, more forceful, less compassionate, less concerned with repercussions.

Why do we saddle men with those attributes? And does anyone really think that's a path to success?

My editor wrote to me yesterday, rejecting the chapter intros I wrote for The Book That Would Not Die. He wants me to rewrite them to "add more meat" and "up the envy factor." He also asked me to make each one about 100 words longer.

Longer I can do, but "up the envy factor" ? In the midst of massive concern over global warming and reducing our carbon footprints, I've already written a book suggesting people replace their low-flow showerheads with units that pump out 10 to 15 gallons a minute, already detailed how one can create a smoking lounge in their home, already described how to spend massive amounts of money chasing a kind of "luxury" that makes no sense to me personally.

As I read his e-mail, I could hear Gordon Gekko's voice in my head saying, "Greed is good."

Part of my problem is that my work has never been so soundly rejected in my professional life. Part of it is that I simply don't think I'm capable of providing what he wants. And part of it is that I honestly think this is the wrong path to take in today's world.

But I signed a contract, agreed to write this book according to an outline approved by the publisher. This is what they want and as a professional writer, this is what I'm obliged to give them.


It's about 5:00am here and I've been up fretting about this for almost 2 hours now, trying to figure out how to give him what he wants and still maintain my integrity. The one bit of ease I've found was half an hour ago when I consciously tried to breathe with the Earth, tried to see myself as part of this organism. For a moment, I relaxed into the truth of that, into the embrace of being one with All That Is. And then immediately launched into another round of concern about betraying myself and that trust.

Maybe I should just "man up."


Michelle O'Neil said...

Might I suggest playing the "How would I feel?" game?

"How would I feel if.....?

Imagine both scenarios already played out.

You can never get it wrong, either choice will take you someplace and provide you with new opportunities.


Mystic Wing said...

Friends might advise you to "man up" too, though with an entirely different meaning.

I'm quite sure your publisher appreciates your effort even under difficult circumstances. He likely even shares much of your sentiment, even while knowing some of his buying public enjoys NASCAR and watches Survivor.

Amber said...

Lol at your last line. Heh.

I admit, I am one to use the term suck it up. I actually htink a person can get a lot done in thei rlife if they do just learn to suck it up sometimes. I think I grew up with a lot of people who had a real victim mindframe, and have worked with a lot of people like this, too. Sometimes people DO just need to stop bitching and just move their ass, you know? lol

But I agree with you about the other side of this. I have been blessed with a really sweet and compassionate littl boy, and I would hit anyone who tried to "man" that out of him. The world needs more men who feel deeply, like he dose.

Your work situation is interesting to me. I don't know what the "envy" factor is? But that would be hard to know what to do...I have read about things lke this is Writer's Digest, you real writer, you! lol!


Cynthia said...

I think that every job at times asks that we compromise out integrity. At least, I've never seen one that didn't on one level or another. I have no answers, but you do have my prayers.

Stacy said...

Ohhh! Is bite the bullet any less macho? Sorry. It is probably best to just get it out of the way and over with for good though.

Anonymous said...

This is so hard. You have to play their game, with out compromising yourself. Wish I had an easy, magic wand way out. I know if you meditate, breathe and let it flow you will come up with something you can live with. It really stinks you have to even deal with this at this point in the process, but it will be so good to just be done with it, and move on to the exciting projects that await you. Good luck, although I don't think you need it, because I know it is in you. XOXO

Suzy said...

Yeh, ya gotta give em the old party line-Unfortunately having a job like that along with many other jobs you have to give them what they want. It's a job and maybe even realizing that some people really want this kind of extravagant information that they will use instead of doing it wrong and wasting more resources if they didn't read your book. may help.

Go Mama said...

Hang in there Jerri.
We're still with you....

Sue said...

Man up? Haven't heard that one before.

This all reminds me of a book I read in the eighties, "Games Mother Never Taught You", about how the corporate world is based on -- well, sports. And how women don't understand the heirarchy, the terms, the beliefs that men hold; we were never on a football team with a coach yelling at us. We don't understand their rules. We are forever trying to figure out how to play the game, but we have no clue.

i hope you can retain your sense of what you want, what you know is right. I'm rooting for you.

riversgrace said...

I like the idea of embracing rather than 'bracing'....and it has to do with finding the opening, the place where you find your connection. It may not be in the outcome, the final product, but in the process of creation.

You are so abundantly creative....I just know there a way, an angle, a shift, that will allow you to connect. And then it won't be so totally arduous. Then you can just pray to your muse and wait for her company.

Deb said...

I'm with Prema on this one. I believe there is a way for you to give your editor what he's asking for in a way that allows you be the light you are. Sending prayers and love your way. Looking forward to hearing what emerges - certain it will be as powerful as you are and the women who surround you.

Kim said...

Oy, I have been that person at the publishing house, asking authors for what the market wants, having lost all perspective on what I personally think is best. I'm sorry you're going through this.

I've been out of town and may be too late, but just in case: I would begin by hunkering down and just writing "what they want"--go totally over the top no matter how much you hate it--and as you do it, a path will emerge to make it palatable to you, the right compromise will reveal itself organically. In other words, I would "fake it 'till you make it."

Good luck!