12-Foot-Tall Fighting Amazon


We dispatched the 12-foot Amazon with a spear.

They thought she was dead, but it was her most common trick. She waited until they turned their backs, pulled the spear from her chest, and sent it right back, going through one head and then the next.

In college I worked as a nighthost. This meant sitting at a table in the lobby from 11:30 pm until 3 am. or from 3 am until 7 am. I checked IDs, had the guys sign in their guests, and watched out for smuggled alcohol. I worked in the fraternity dorm. Six fraternities lived in the building and I was the only woman who worked the night shift.

My fellow nighthosts and I had to keep a log of things that happened during our shift. Most of the time nothing happened. So one of the guys, started making things up. The guy who worked after him, added to the story. It didn’t take long for the story to turn into a bloody adventure tale pitting the guys against me–and I became the giant amazon.

I opened the log and saw the lines packed with details of how they had to rid the world of this monstrous amazon named Marta. I wrote back. The amazon had amazing powers of survival and she hunted each guy down and slaughtered him in one gory fashion or another.

The stories went back in forth. The daytime receptionists began reading them. The guys’ friends began reading them. Our boss read them.

“Don’t they bother you?” someone asked.

“No,” I said. “The stories are funny, and I kill the guys too.”

“You’re a good sport.”

I got called that a lot. The guys who wrote the stories called me that. “Thanks for being such a good sport.” “We like you. You’re such a good sport!”

The other day my friend JES said something about being a likable guy–which he noted doesn’t help during the submission process. Absolutely. I’ve been a good sport, polite, nice, and other bland but pleasant words. Too bad I can’t get published for having a pleasant personality. Editors don’t like me or dislike me. The story must speak for itself. Plenty of jerks get published because their writing works.

(Though I’ve never understood how writers who create thoughtful characters end up treating real people badly. But oh well.)

It scares me to have my writing stand up for itself without me alongside it to give it a gracious, friendly introduction. Do you ever think that if you could just chat with an agent or editor for a while, it would help get your stories through? What is it about you that ought to make an agent/editor accept you–if they only knew!

10 thoughts on “12-Foot-Tall Fighting Amazon

  1. I’m so self-conscious and prone to nervous, ditzy chatter that I think it’s better if I don’t meet people. The one editor I met asked for a submission, and then never responded, so…

  2. I think if I were a writer, I’d not want to present myself alongside my manuscript. I’d want to use my manuscript as a shield of sorts, and let it protect me from having any personal contact with an agent or editor. “Look at the book! No, no, don’t look at me, look at the BOOK!” I’m pretty sure that’s more how I’d be. πŸ™‚

    But that’s just a personality thing, because I hate the spotlight. Other people love it. However, I do tend to believe that most spotlight lovers generally aren’t writers, they seem to vie for things like acting or singing.

    1. My manuscript leaves me feeling just as exposed as nothing at all, so I’m not sure I’d feel better with all the focus on the book. I don’t want a spotlight, just a press!

  3. I’m so self-conscious and prone to hesitant talk and long silences that I think it’s better if I don’t meet people.

    If that had happened to me, I’d have seen it as everyone ganging up against me and retreated further into my shell.

  4. That whole Amazon story sounds like a hoot — like a pre-industrial version of Burning Lines. πŸ™‚

    Like I said someplace else recently, I hate talking on the phone. And (at least when it comes to “career moments”) I am really awkward face-to-face. Which, taken together, really doesn’t bode well for marketing, does it?

    The other night I told The Missus about an upcoming writers’ fest here in town. The biggest draw: a workshop featuring a big-name agent (Donald Maas), you, and the first N pages of your novel. She said, “You ARE doing that, aren’t you?” I hadn’t wanted to spend the money — $200+, in addition to regular conference fees — so I really hadn’t considered it. So next day I looked into it some more. Turns out the deadline to register for the workshop was two weeks ago.

    I was SO relieved that I had an excuse for not meeting a big-name agent. Sick, eh?

    1. The stories were usually funny. No one ever wrote anything truly sadistic-best I recall.

      Maybe when the marketing comes your way, you’ll manage to do what you’ve got to do. You never know until in your in it, and by then you ought to be so proud of yourself that you can pul anything off. Right?!

      ooo. Donald Maas. I’d probably actually get sick to avoid meeting him. Scary!

  5. Interesting. Bland words, not a good thing? I guess I’d have liked to be called bland things when I was young. The saucy stuff I got didn’t do much for me or my self-esteem.

    1. Since I don’t know what you were called or why, Darc, I can say much, but perhaps this is a grass-is-always-greener thing. If you’d been bland, you’d be wishing to have been otherwise.

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