The Author and Her Therapist by K.Z. Snow

K.Z. Snow is one of the funniest writers around but you wouldn’t know it by her books which are mostly on serious topics. So occasionally I ask her to fly, (no, not that kind) 🙂 so that other readers can get to know the real K.Z. Here’s a side of this writer you seldom get to see:

As you’ve all probably deduced (because really, no matter how hard we try to hide this fact, it remains screamingly obvious), authors are uniquely dysfunctional individuals. We equate creative writing with religious calling, brag about hearing voices in our heads, and take umbrage at . . . well, at just about everything. If we lived during the Inquisition, each of us would soon be the centerpiece of a big-ass bonfire.

We obviously need help. So here’s how I imagine a therapy session would go with a more or less typical writer of m/m romance: female, straight, and a half-bubble off plumb. I’ll call my alter-ego fictitious author Jen der Gyllt. (I used speaker tags below just long enough to get you oriented.)

Jen: Doctor, I’m getting depressed over my writing career.

Dr. Philomena: You mean you’re getting depressed over an oxymoron. Try getting a real career and see how your mood brightens.

Jen: But I have to write. I do! I’ve been driven to tell stories since —

Dr. Philomena [holding up a hand]: Let me guess. Since you were old enough to grasp a crayon. No, wait. Since a past life, when you chiseled unsanctioned and slightly risqué hieroglyphs inside a Valley of the Kings tomb in the 14th century BC.

Jen [squinting]: Are you making fun of me?

Of course not. I’m a professional. So, what’s the problem with your cough writing career?

For starters, somebody gave my new release one star on Goodreads.

A gold star?

Actually, it’s red.

Hey, don’t be offended. The color isn’t symbolic; it isn’t like the Scarlet Letter. Gold is difficult to reproduce electronically.

That’s not the point. It was one star.

But isn’t a star good? Like a teacher giving you a foil sticker at the top of a theme paper?

[Glumly.] No, it isn’t good. One is the lowest rating.

So what’s the highest rating?


Why not eleven?

I don’t know!

Look at it this way: to somebody who thinks eleven is the highest, five sucks. Have you ever seen This Is Spinal Tap?

[Shaking head in dismay.] You just don’t get it.

Then throw something else at me that might stick.

I’ve never had a DIK.

Do you want a dick?

Of course!

[Clears throat.] Uh, Jen, you could have issues that go deeper than a nonexistent career.

I mean I want a D-I-K DIK.

I heard you the first time. Try not to be offended, but one of your problems could be you can’t spell worth a crap. Now, about your gender dysphoria —

I don’t have gender dysphoria! I’m comfortable being a woman . . . although I sometimes feel a little ashamed.

If it’s because you don’t have a dick, maybe you should try a strap-on.

That’s not the reason!

Is your personal hygiene lacking?

No! The reason has to do with certain words that make me squirm.

Like the ones you can’t spell?

I mean words like inauthenticity and appropriation and fetishization.

Well, if you can’t spell “dick,” you certainly can’t spell those.

I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t ridicule my concerns.

Fair enough. [Mutters to self: Let me shoot some staples into my eyes so I’m not tempted to snicker.] Go on.

I’ve never won a contest, either.

Like a pageant?

No, not like a freakin’ pageant.

Ever try entering one? You wouldn’t be bad looking if you dropped a few chair-pounds and got a spray tan. You might even score a cheap tiara. With gold stars. Wouldn’t that make you feel better? You could wear it while you typed.

I don’t want a tiara! Okay, maybe I do. But I mean a writing contest. Or an author popularity contest.

I’ll speak frankly, Jen. You’re not going to win a writing contest until you improve your spelling, and you’re not going to win a popularity contest until you improve your attitude.

[Sighs deeply.] Let me put this in a nutshell.

[Mutters to self.] Don’t even bother trying until you get that dick. Heh.

I’m constantly afraid not enough people like my books, and I worry about offending the GLBTQ community because I’m a privileged cisfemale encroaching on their territory.

[Blinks.] Hokay. . . Excuse me a minute while I jot down some notes. [Scribbles on a legal pad: Client suffers from extreme penis envy. Craves validation through faux-gold stars and contest wins & frets when she does not receive same; is content to neglect health and appearance by leading a largely sedentary, indoor life due to delusions of literary grandeur; has embraced terms & concepts indicative of social conscience, even though they induce profound guilt. Conclusion: inordinately defensive, with juvenile level of ego fragility/insecurity and psychologically masochistic tendencies.]

At this point, Dr. Philomena’s older colleague, Dr. Sandi Shore, walks into the office. Dr. Philomena excuses herself. Dr. Sandi asks to see Dr. Philomena’s notes.

“Ah,” Dr. Sandi says immediately, “it’s obvious your client is a heterosexual woman who writes gay fiction. I believe the APA recently defined a new class of disorder for those people.”

“Well, I’m stymied about what course of treatment to pursue.”

Dr. Sandi shakes her head. “Phil, trust me. Don’t waste your time. Bail out while you can.”

K. Z. Snow is (last time she checked) a woman who writes m/m romance fiction. Her stories refuse to settle into a particular groove. She likes penises very, very much, in part because they are generally more dependable than her ’95 Ford Escort, don’t rust, and don’t require licensing. And, yes, she’s always wanted a tiara. With Swarovski crystals.

twitter: @k_z_snow


I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports - especially baseball
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