I haven’t updated my blog in a while and I think I owe you an explanation of what is going on right now. I feel really bad complaining about this but, you know, that’s what blogs are for, right? A mass dumping of petty complaints onto faceless strangers?
Talk about first world problems. I may as well tell you that my chef overcooked the lobster and burned the dipping butter. My silk stockings got snagged on the door jam of the Rolls-Royce. My chauffer asked to have Christmas off, and my oiled, muscly pool-boy, Hans, developed carpal tunnel syndrome from—
Okay, I’m getting carried away with this. Point is, you should probably run out and buy some drops to lubricate your eyes so they don’t get cramped while they’re rolling around at me and this epic story of woe I’m about to tell you…
After five months of promoting my book, I have burnout. Publicity fatigue. The Malaise of the Memoirist. A bad case of Please-Don’t-Make-Me-Tell-My-Story-Again-itis. And it’s hard, people. It is hard. I will tell you what happened, but first: Peel me another grape, won’t you? Thanks. Here’s how it unfolded:
I wrote a memoir. Yay!
I sold my memoir. Yay!
I launched my memoir three times in three regions around the world. Yay! Yay! Yay!
I was invited to speak about my story and myself for publicity purposes. Yay!
I was invited to speak again. Yay!
I was interviewed. Wow, me? Again? Oh, yay!
I was interviewed again. I’m on fire! This is great!
And again. Oh, okay, well… sure.
And again. Are you sure you’re not getting sick of me yet?
And again. I’m getting a little sick of myself, but this is for publicity, so…
And again. Really? Again? How much longer will this—
And again. You really want to do this again?
And again. Really, people, really? Can’t I just—
And again. Sleep for a little while, so I can—
And again. Maybe get some energy back to—
And again. Okay, guys, please, can’t we just talk about something else, like global warming or, I dunno, the holocaust?
And again. LOL Cats? I can talk LOL Cats for days.
And again. We can talk about Honey Boo-Boo Child?
And again. We’re talking so much about me, but I want to know about you! Tell me about your father. What was he like?
And again. My lips feel numb. Am I making sense anymore? Is this English I’m speaking, or just a series of wet, guttural noises?
And again. I feel like I’m saying ‘Orange, orange, orange, orange, orange, orange’ over and over again, and it now has no meaning whatsoever. ‘Orange.’ Ha ha. ‘Orange.’ Means nothing.
And again. How do the famous people cope with this?
And again. How much is a gram of cocaine, exactly?
And again. A sniff here, a sniff there does not an addict make, right?
And again. Okay, fine, we won’t go down that snowy path. Coffee. I’ll stick to coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
And again. HimynameisTorreandmybookisatravelmemoiraboutthetimeI…
And again. Okay, I want to not exist for a little while, please. I want to become those little tiny dust particles that dance in sunbeams. Ah, to be dust! How relaxing! ‘Dust, dust, dust, dust, dust, dust.’ Listen to that word. It’s absurd! It makes no sense! ‘Sense, sense, sense, sense, sense, sense.’ Listen! It means nothing! ‘Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing…’
And again. Everything is meaningless! We are all going to die! Hahaha! We are ALL going to DIE!
And so on and so on, all the way down into the depths of an existential black hole. The God of Altruism and Charitable Causes then knocks at my door and he speaketh these words to me:
*Thunder cracks, clouds part*
So you want to talk about your own life story in book-length detail, eh? Write your mem-whaaa? Make yourself the lead character in a story? ‘Torre’ as the protagonist of a lighthearted, romantic adventure? You do realize that polar bears are dying, right? Tornadoes, earthquakes, hunger, injustice… But oh no! You had to go and tell a story about your one, insignificant human life. You shall be punished! I am condemning you to purgatory and ALL you will EVER talk about is YOURSELF and your OWN life! You will be forcibly self-absorbed forever! Bwah-ha-ha! Now tell us again: Did you always want to be a writer? What do you do with yourself when you’re not writing? Where do you think your fears stemmed from? What is your preferred breakfast cereal? ANSWER THE QUESTIONS, DEROCHE!
If I had narcissistic personality disorder, the last five months would’ve been an orgasmic time in my life. But I’m not the kind of person who breaks out into jazz fingers and high kicks under the limelight. I survive the limelight in the way that a cockroach gets by when you uncover its hiding spot beneath an old paint tin.
My idea of heaven is a place that extroverts commonly describe as “No life.” Saturday night, a block of chocolate, a movie, the all-encompassing silence of perfect loneliness… Ahh. Now we’re talking. Or, even better: Saturday nights, Jeff Buckley singing softly in the background, dimmed lights, an aromatic candle, and my fingers delicately stroking my laptop keyboard, massaging out a particularly difficult sentence. Yeah, baby. Writers are sexy like that. All words and no play.
So I’ve had to take a short break from it all. That’s why I haven’t blogged, or answered your phone call, or replied to your email, or paid your overdue bill, or come to your funeral. Instead, I’m curled up in fetal position under the covers, eating giant dill pickles straight from the jar while watching Portlandia—seasons one and two—on repeat.
I do that for as long as I can until my mother calls, concerned about why I haven’t been to visit my terminally ill father in the hospital for days. She asks: “How are you?”
“Jesus, Mum, what’s with all the questions? Can’t I just live? You want to know about me? How I am? Me? I am meaningless! You are meaningless! We are dust! Dust, dust, dust, dust. See? Means nothing!”
And then she hangs up and drives over with a dish of tuna casserole for my dinner, and I am fed and it is all going to be okay. She leaves and I find the jar of pickles in the fridge, and I take my iPad to bed and—
Oh, wow, look at that. An email from Oprah, requesting an interview. Hmm. Maybe I should email her back? But another interview? Really? Do I really have to? Nah. Psht. Screw Oprah, man, I have dill pickles and Portlandia now.
‘Oprah, Oprah, Oprah, Oprah, orange, orange, orange, orange, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing…’
But don’t worry. I’m totally fine. Handling it all like a pro.
Torre DeRoche is the author of two travel memoirs, Love with a Chance of Drowning (2013) and The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World (due out September 2017). She has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian Travel, The Sydney Morning Herald, Emirates, and two Lonely Planet anthologies.