me: (I hope you're okay with this -- I'd like to post it as a public update!)
johnreha: Of course
me: can I say the obvious?
johnreha: :) You're welcome. I'm kinda glad I was broke until today.
me: I'm not sure how ridiculous this looks from the outside!
Meaghan and I have almost completely hive-minded out.
johnreha: Oh, no
And ill-advised karaoke bar trips
What's your jam?
I've only ever done one song ever
johnreha: I usually start with Stone Temple Pilots, "Plush" and go from there
me: "This is Hardcore" by Pulp
johnreha: Very nice.
me: Complete with a 1:29 long instrumental intro
I did a little Jarvis meets Marlene Dietrich thing
John, why us?
How did you find us?
johnreha: To be honest, I don't remember, but I can kinda extrapolate
I found you through Katie West, I think, who I followed when Warren Ellis was pimping something awesome of hers.
me: Oh, Warren.
johnreha: And I've just been enraptured by your writing ever since.
me: oh god then that
johnreha: Wow, that came out sounding a lot weirder once I hit enter
me: makes me saying what I am about to say next a little less awkward?
(no me too!)
Warren is kinda an internet boyfriend
In that he's been very kind and gives me love advice here and there
Which I only ignore 75% of the time
me: But he told me to try being single and so far that's going GREAT
I'm happy to be in a close relationship with 200 backers right now.
johnreha: That's fantastic, by the way, congratulations!
me: No one to share my gcal with, but that's okay!
We're actually just one shy right now
Maybe we can make them show up or something with our heads
- come back come! -
(or whatever! does magic need spellcheck?)
johnreha: ...did it work?
I think it depends on if you're Grant Morrison or not
me: Too real.
Whereabouts are you?
We're figuring out a little where we might want to take this thing on the road
johnreha: I am in Los Angeles, CA
Where it's positively flooded at the moment
me: well then!
We'll come part a sea
johnreha: Thatwould be awesome
me: Though I doubt we can make it fast enough to pair up any animals
You'll have to mind that until -- April?
We'll try for April.
johnreha: April is a good month
It will likely be sunny again
me: Oh LA
johnreha: Sorry, I'm going to say something fawning again, just to warn you.
me: Maybe we can throw a danceparty with the book
johnreha: When you put out the call on your tublr about the private diary readings, it was one of the few times I wish I was living in NYC again.
I sent that to everyone I know who lives there.
Hopefully, one or two showed.
me: A really pretty boy came to my last one
Within ten minutes
I was just about to type what happened but then I'd be breaking my own rules
me: I don't do that, though. I don't take people home.
Or kiss them.
It's just the reading.
johnreha: I see.
me: It's like, if we meet like that, then that's how it is.
Somewhere between therapy and hooking.
Or not wanting to get thrown out of cafes, etc.
Tell me how I can fawn on you!
johnreha: Oh wow
me: You're a writer? Where should I send people to find you?
me: From a boy I met at a sex party in San Francisco in 2003.
johnreha: At the moment, my tumblr's linked up through my site: johnreha.com
me: Got it!
johnreha: And then there's my other project, Bumps in the Night, a ghost hunting web series
me: On the twitter?
johnreha: (That's probably the one to send people to)
johnreha: And on youtube: youtube.com/bitntv
me: Got it got it.
I'm going to dash off
Find you again sometime!
johnreha: Absolutely. Have a great afternoon!
When I got to work on Monday, I came through the door with a smile usually reserved for Internet boyfriends in town for the weekend, all aglow and squealing and trying not to just throw down my bag and yell OMG YOU GUYS as everyone tried to work.
Luckily everyone squealed for me, or at least nodded and said Congratulations with sincere eyebrows and Marco stopped me and said he was serious about helping us publish it to the Kindle so people wouldn't worry about walking around with a book cover that said CRYING & COMING in wacom-cursive on the L train. My heart was warmed. We had already met our goal, had made it in a few hours, and I stood in the middle of the office and told everyone all about it while I downed my 2nd cup of coffee (it's amazing how little you sleep when you get emails every few minutes with dollar amounts in the subject line).
On my way in I had called my Dad, skipping the bus in favor of a long walk in the unseasonably warm weather, coat all unbuttoned, asking him if he remembered that book project I had alluded to a few times and he seemed to remember and I said, about sex, under my breath and he cleared his throat and said that was exciting and nodded with his voice, encouraging me from a distance it seemed, always in the interest of my happiness if not his understanding, and then we moved on to talking about the cruise he went on with his girlfriend that weekend.
Later in the afternoon John, my boss, and I went to a big brown bag lunch and he congratulated me on the way in and he told me not to forget them- ha!- and we talked seriously about it and he gave me advice and then we went into the meeting which skewed male and skewed suits and a few of them who I had never met congratulated us on the book and my god, this is the most unlikely audience! I saw my friend, an ex, and he talked about running into people who always seemed to know me and love me from my blog and he figured it was because I, as I have been told my whole life, had no filter. I nodded and said what a privilege it was, to work for a company with a product whose very mission is people 'sharing themselves online,' to be in an environment that actually supports and encourages me to Be Myself™ and do that passionately.
The more people I talk to about this, and the more I detect a tiny cringe in them, the more I realize that this transparency we preach is such an utter privilege. Because the worry, the cringe, is always followed by the questions, "Have you told your boss?" and "Have you told your parents?"
And the answer is, Yes! They were the first people I told! And they are the first people I keep telling, the people I reach for the phone or the people whose desks I linger around after I get exciting news.
I think I learned a lot about this (in so many different ways), from my last job, working for Jonathan Coulton. I remember when I first mentioned my tumblr in passing and he asked me what it was and said he wanted to add it to his RSS and I cringed a little. Would I be self-conscious? "Unprofessional"? Because as lame as that question may seem or be, when you value your job as I have been lucky enough to do time and time again, that risk doesn't seem so obvious.
But then, I remember, the next time I saw him, he knew more about me. He asked me questions about my life, I relaxed, I suddenly became more myself. We were fellow human beings. And I think that's both the challenge and the benefit to that lack of filter ("shameless" was what my mother called me growing up, with a laugh), is that you must acknowledge another person's human-ness, even when it may be more convenient to ignore it.
And so yesterday I got this email from him,
We just realized that two pairs of underwear have been floating unclaimed around the house for some time; the theory is that they belong to you. I'm going to use them as the top level donation for a kickstarter project if that's ok.
Speaking of which, congrats on the Internet loving you. Unfortunately, now you have to make the damned book.
Haha. ED NOTE: I used to house sit for him when he was away on tour. OKAY? Okay.
Anyway then I got home and called my mom and recapped the day, like I always do. She was relieved I didn't seem too Unprofessional. And I stood on the sidewalk gesturing madly, filled with ideas, and knew that this position we are finding ourselves in is incredibly unique. We can preach about transparency but the world hasn't entirely caught up yet, we are just lucky enough to find ourselves in a place where we can do this. And damn, what keeps giving me pause (and minor panic attacks), is what a responsibility this is.
I imagine the next few months will see many more nights like this-- late, late nights at the office, hanging out with Melissa after hours, finished kicking ass at one dream job, staying put and doing another.
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CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE: In addition to the book and photos, one of us will write a story just for you. Pick your writer, your topic, and, well, not much more because you're paying us to use our imaginations, right? Share it with the internet or don't -- it's all up to you.
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SO YOU DON'T WORK IN PUBLISHING(?): You not only get a book (and photos), but also a bonus copy inscribed by the both of us for the object(s) of your desire (but nothing stalkery or too weird), and a private reading in a public place, AND you also will help us pay our contributors more, make things fancier, and throw a better book party. The more money you help us raise, the more wonderful things can be for everyone. We thank you, the Internet thanks you, and people everywhere who have sex and have feelings want to give you a hug.
- (43 days)