by Giselle Renarde
Have you read my Adam and Sheree series? If you haven't and you enjoy extremely taboo erotica, you should treat yourself to a copy of the box set. And you know I'm not a sales-pitchy person, so if I'm telling you this is a kick-ass series, you know it is.
The third novella in the series, Adam and Sheree's Family Christmas, involves Adam finding his sister Sheree's diary--the diary she wrote when she was 19 and sleeping with her uncle (that was years before she started sleeping with her brother. Ahhh, the innocent old days!)
When I created Sheree's diary, I wrote it the way I figured a 19-year-old girl would. I'd completely forgotten that, at 18/19 I kept a diary too. In fact, 1999/2000 was the only (school)year of my life I actually kept a diary, if you don't count the dream journals I maintained from the time I was thirteen or so.
I found my diary earlier this year and I was humiliated. What I wrote back then was just so... so... so what? Embarrassing? Vapid? Selfish? I don't even know. Maybe I was seeing too much of myself. Let me tell you, I was jealous of Sheree. Her diary was so much better than mine.
And yet I couldn't put my diary down. I read it cover to cover, and then I read it all over again. I hated it, but I couldn't stop. See, 1999 was the year I fell in love with my teacher. And he fell back.
Ha! Wow! I know I haven’t written anything in a long time, but school has been all work and no play. But today was a great day!
Fun stuff first:
Lawrence hands me a set of beeswax candles: “A pre-Christmas present.”
Hi! Thanks! Yum!
“And, if you’re not busy during your fifth period spare, would you care to join me for a coffee?”
Hello! Yes! Of course!
Not so fun stuff:
When Lawrence and I headed to his car after fourth period, we weren’t the only ones in the parking lot. Mr. Dupont was out there, too, and he walked over as Lawrence turned the key in the ignition. He tapped on the window, and when Lawrence rolled it down, he asked, “Do you have written permission to escort a student off school premises?”
Lawrence sort of laughed in a way that I knew he felt awkward and ashamed. He said, “Uhh… no…”
Mr. Dupont didn’t let up. He said something about how teachers needed parental permission to take students off school grounds because the board of education could be sued if anything happened to me. But how stupid is that? It’s not like I’m a child. I’m a legal adult. Maybe Mr. Dupont didn’t know I’m eighteen. I don’t need parental permission to do anything.
I don’t remember what Lawrence said after that. My head started throbbing and I honestly thought I was going to cry. It was so humiliating.
But somehow the issue was resolved. I think Lawrence basically just said, “Thanks for the heads-up” or something like that, and drove away with me in the passenger seat. We didn’t talk about it at all. Far too embarrassing. What a blow to our egos. Thanks a lot, Mr. Dupont.
As Lawrence parked on one of the side streets around Hazelton Lanes, I was applying Cinnamon Sugar Lipsmackers. I asked him if he wanted some (just being polite; expected him to say no) and he said sure! We browsed for a while at L’Atelier Grigorian, and after that went to buy the coffee he’d promised me. When the coffee woman asked if he wanted cinnamon on his Café-au-Lait, he responded, “Please! It’ll match my lipstick.”
How amused was I?
Alright, so now for the good stuff that has Giselle on an enormous power-trip:
He thanked me for giving him the rest of my half (the smaller one, at that) of the almond croissant we shared. My response was, “You paid for it. [nota bene: I never offer to pay for anything.] It can get expensive to keep a mistress.”
Oh, he came this close to spitting out his coffee, but then he laughed: “I’m not sure we’re quite there.”
I know—I’m sure—that he did not say “yet,” but I distinctly heard it anyway, almost as though it had been implied.
At any rate, he followed that up by saying, “Yes, I can see how it could. I once knew a man who was revered because he could go to dinner parties with his wife on one arm and his mistress on the other.”
“Well, isn’t that ideal?” I asked.
I don’t think he even realized that he said, “Yeah.”
Like It's 1999: Diary of a Teenager in Love with a Teacher is weird. It's so weird. It's not what I want it to be, but it is what it is, and there's something strangely freeing about that for me, as a writer. I can't change the past. I couldn't alter what I'd written without making truth into fiction.
And I wanted to publish the truth for once. Like It's 1999 is it, New Age warts and all. I changed nothing but the names.
I don’t get it!
Not even close.
What the fuck was that, Lawrence?
How could you have done it?
And not told me!
I’m not even sure whether I’m more angry that you did it in the first place, or that you completely neglected to tell me about it.
Do you know how stupid you made me look? Patrick is one of my best friends. I’ve known him since he was eight years old. I know his sister! I know his parents! And you had to go report him and George to the principal? You are such a hypocrite, Lawrence. I’m not even joking.
It’s because they’re gay, isn’t it? I mean, George isn’t even a teacher. He’s a volunteer! And not a skeevy old man, like some people—he only graduated two years ago. And here you go acting like he’s some kind of sexual predator just because you saw them doing whatever. How is their sex life any of your business? Patrick’s a smart guy. He can make his own decisions.
And did you really think you could tell on another “teacher” without your virtue being called into question? It doesn’t even matter that we’ve never done anything wrong. People see the way I look at you, and see the way you look at me, and they draw their own conclusions.
For all your embarrassment about your diary, I think a future writer is evident in your entries, unless you have edited these. At 18 I could barely write a complete sentence. Sometimes I wish there was a reset button for that age. Do you go to class reunions?
It is very much not edited. Well, that's not true. My girlfriend went through and pointed out places where she couldn't understand a reference etc and I did make a few slight alterations just so readers wouldn't be totally lost, but that's about it.Delete
Marketing question: What's your approach to convincing potential readers that this is really a real diary detailing true events? That, no, it really is. Really. I mean, the concept of "true confessions" has been so abused over the years, it's like the whole publishing industry has cried wolf a thousand times. I know it says so on the cover, but how many times have we seen that before? I hope you can find a way to cut through all the cynicism and communicate how remarkable a document this is. Because it really is. Really.ReplyDelete
Awww thanks, Jeremy. My marketing approach is to cross my fingers and hope someone buys a copy. LOL Kidding but not kidding. Honestly, I wouldn't want anyone to read this book and conflate it with my current writing style. I've got the handwritten diary if readers need proof.Delete
This is fascinating, Giselle. Thanks so much for posting the excerpts from this. I'm particularly interested in what came of the hypocrisy issue raised in the second post--guess I'll have to read the book!ReplyDelete
Jeremy raises an interesting point. If I didn't know you in some way, I probably wouldn't believe this was a real diary. I can't think of any obvious way to signal that—I guess the way you categorize it in ebook stores would send some clues, but there may be no way to avoid skepticism.
Also, I tend to think of myself as younger than everyone else. But... I had already graduated high school by the time your diary was taking place. So hmmm. Lol.
I'm the baby! Also, Ontario's high school system was weird back then. If you wanted to go to ("community") college you could get out after 4 years, but if you were headed for university it was 5 years. That had changed by the time my little sister was in school (she's a decade younger than me), so she started uni at 17. When I graduated high school, I was 19.Delete
I categorized it in weird places at Amazon. I think "biography" and "adult children of alcoholics." FYI it sold 4 copies and was the #3 bestselling book in the Adult Children of Alcoholics category.
I will prepare to game the system by writing specifically for that obviously hot category...Delete
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Isn't "memoir" the hot catch-all these days? A Smut Writer's Memoir: the Teen-Aged Diary. Of course taken literally, that would mean that the diary itself is teen-aged, but...counting...it really is.Delete
(Yes, I'm anal, deleting a message for one typo.)
Is it hot? I'd better write more. I put too much of my life into my fiction, methinks. And the fiction ain't moving.Delete
Absolutely no reason to be ashamed or feel badly about either the budding writer's diary or your past. You can't change that. It all brought you to where you are.ReplyDelete
My past doesn't bother me. My writing does. LOLDelete
You're much braver than I would ever be, Giselle. I hope your bet pays off. I can imagine that this might be hugely popular among nineteen year olds.ReplyDelete
And I agree with what others have said. The diary might be a bit self-involved (what teenager is not?), but the writing shows a good deal more insight than I'd expect from a high school kid.
You say bravery, I say poverty. Braverty? No, that sounds like it's about bras or something.Delete
This is intriguing, Giselle. Keep us posted on how well your diary sells.ReplyDelete
I can tell you right now, because I launched it in April. I think it's sold about 5 copies? But one of them was paperback, so WIN.Delete