I have an odd rep among folks sentenced to deal with me on a regular basis in the real world: I'm not seen as a "bad" guy, per se, but there seems to be some never-quite-articulated understanding that I'm not eligible for membership on the "good" guy rolls, either. One friend (shaddup—I have friends... so far as you know) described me as "the most likable asshole" he'd ever met.
So I got that going for me.
The thing is, I'm always having to explain to people that I am not especially impressed by people who seem to be nice just for the sake of being nice, as sometimes there's damned good reason to not be nice, and if you're one of those ass-puckered types who drives around with a "MEAN PEOPLE SUCK" sticker on the back window of the medium-beige family OldsmoBuick and feels half-compelled to cover the ears and go LA LA LA LA! every time someone starts the old "There once was a man from Nantucket" line, then chances are you and I just aren't going to have a love connection, cha-cha.
No, I tend to prefer people with a little bit more... zing. A little more snarl and bite, and given that I'm sure we're all pretty damned sick and tired of the italics, I'll just cut to the chase and say it point blank:
I like smart aleck assholes with a touch of a mean streak.
So when I stumbled across these two blog sites, I was a happy little asshole.
Both of these fine snarling folks work in the lit biz as agents, and for those who don't understand (or have never had reason to care in the first place), theirs is a world where the sadly desperate come knocking all day long, hoping to find a publisher. And when the desperate squat huddled over a word processor for years, banging away on some mediocre (or much worse) pile of words they truly believe will be The Next Big Thing down at Barnes & Noble, agents often become the first outside eyes (in other words, "not the writer's mom/wife/best friend") to gaze upon the verbal shitstorm.
There's a reason agents and publishing types seem so cynical: they gaze into the maw of Hell itself on a daily basis. They get to read the heartbreakingly inept cries for attention and pleas for approval submitted by folks whose desire is real yet whose ability to pursue those desires seems tragically limited.
Both Evil Editor and Miss Snark post queries and pitches and letters and respond with what some folks will see as hateful sarcastic abuse. I happen to find their comments and criticisms both hilarious and educational. I also find these comments a little bit tragic, since the people who most badly need to see and hear the hard brutal truth are often the least enabled to recognize it for such, preferring instead to ignore such capital-T Truth as just mean-spirited childish sniping, or arrogant insulting abuse abuse.
Life is hard, my pretties, and if you have serious hopes of sailing the wide wondrous seas of cheese out there, sooner or later you will have to let go of Mommy's hand and wander out to Where The Wild Things Are. And when you do, you will find that there are mean folks who care enough to try and help, and then there are mean people who care just enough to point and laugh.
A wise man once screamed "it's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll." If you are serious about having your creative output seen and judged by those who might help your career, there will come a time when you reveal yourself as having either sufficiently thick skin or an overly thick skull.
Swing by Evil Editor and Miss Snark to watch some of this sorting happen in real time.