Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sister-in-Law Update

So remember how my sister-in-law told me she wanted me to look at her story? And it turned out that there were no typos or grammatical errors, but was bland and generic besides? You might remember that though I told her and told her I didn’t want to do it, I wound up reading it, because a) she wouldn’t fucking let it go, and b) she assured me it was just for her son, and she just wanted to make sure he ‘didn’t think [she] was an idiot when he grew up and read it’. I sent it back with comments, but not before she’d sent me two messages asking where it was.

Needless to say, she emailed me back and shifted the goal posts.

Now she’s wondering if she revised it, would it have a chance of being published? ‘I mean an extensive revision – you’d probably be co-writing it’ she said. For the love of Jesus titty fucking Claus.

I hate that I had to say no, I don’t think it’s publishable, and I resent that she put me in that position. So I emailed her back, as nicely as possible, telling her what I thought. And telling her I didn’t have time to do an extensive revision, and I couldn’t co-write a children’s book because children’s literature isn’t where my skill is.

Hopefully she doesn’t get offended. It’s not like she’s a friend of a friend who I can just ignore; she’s family and I don’t want any weirdness in our relationship, firstly because for all her shortcomings I do like her, secondly because it’s such a fucking cliché for the sister-in-laws to be bitching at one another.


Anonymous said...

Totally off topic, but is there another whaddyacallit... black market?... thing happening in Northcote any time soon?

I'll be in that neck of the woods in July and would LOVE to take a peek.

(The Lazy)

Anonymous said...

Oh Gawwwwwd, how awkward! My tip: get her to have a look at that other website you contribute to.. 'Deliberately Barren', isn't it? hahaha, not really. Although I do personally think it's fucking brilliant.

Sorry, I don't have any advice or suggestions but I do sympathise. As you say, she was the one who put you in that situation and then pushed it, so she has no right to feel affronted.

Perseus said...

I'll do it for a nominal fee. Say, a carton of fags, a slab of beer and two tickets to the circus.

Melba said...

Her reaction is her own bag, baby. You can only be honest, and that's what she's asking for, right? And I reckon you would have tried to be as gentle as possible. Doesn't matter who's doing the asking - sometimes you just have to say No. It's one of the hardest lessons in life, but a Very Important One. Leaning how to say No is hard, but completely necessary.

eat my shorts said...

It is hard though when it's family.

Maybe tell her what you think and if she's not happy with that then say she should mail that fucker out to publishers and see what they say.

It's pretty rude of her to keep hassling you to read the thing when you said you didn't want to and I don't think gentle reminders of the fact you didn't want to read it are out of line. Particularly if she arcs up about your opinion of it.

Ultimately though, you're not responsible for how she handles her reaction. She's a grown woman.

RandomGit said...

Let her know the problems with her writing, get back to your own projects, have a crisis of professional faith, get her to sit in for you at an important meeting with a client, see famous people love her work, be consumed with indignation, have her find the key to someones lies, have a chase through a Louisiana swamp culminating in her getting shot.

Or maybe I'm just remembering a movie I saw. Whatever.

Desci said...

NOI: I'll check MGF and get back to you when the next one's happening. Generally, they don't run in winter because it's an outdoorsy-type event.

Anon: But you know how people are. They think they want you to be honest, when they really just want their ego stroked.

Pers: Swap out the fags for books/dvds and the beer for wine and that's an excellent fucking idea.

Melba: You're right. I'm usually fantastic at being assertive, but her being so insistent, and NOT GETTING THE HINT, really threw me. I say 'hint', when it was actually me directly saying, 'no, I do not want to do this'. I have to learn how to negotiate situations like that more effectively; though my approach would have worked on 90% of normal people!

EMS: You're completely right. And, see, if she was just a friend of a friend, it would have been no problem. But this is someone I'll be seeing for decades, which makes it that much harder.

RG: Hee! It took me a few sentences, but I got on the train in the end.