Year One – Part Four – On Sucking Balls

By Tee Tyson

In the fourth installment of our Year One round-up, Miss Tee Tyson tells it how it is, and balls are frequently sucked.

This isn’t my first collective. Actually, I’m a collective whore. In fact, this isn’t even the first one where I’ve been a founding member. Because I am a blunt sort of girl with a ‘let’s be honest’ attitude, I’ll pull the Band-Aid off quickly.

Collectives suck balls.

And to those who feel sucking balls isn’t a bad thing, then I say, collectives suck hairy poop holes.

And for the few who actually enjoy a little A2M, I’m sorry, but I simply don’t have the patience to amend my statement any further.

But seriously, being in a collective, a group of writers wanting to put a book together, it’s plain old crappy. This is how I went into Pankhearst. Not even joking. I remember very early on stating this whole endeavour was going to be a bee in my bonnet and a tack in my food. Not the best head-space to face a project with, now is it?

So, why the hell did I do it?

I thought it was going to be different.

Was it?

Well, maybe we need to go back a few paces before I answer this question.

In the past, I’ve been a part of three anthologies and thought up this brilliant zombie collaboration project that I honestly felt was going to be amazing. What did I learn from these experiences? A whole lot of negative stuff.

People are unreliable. Egos always get in the way. Personal crap often derails fantastic projects. No one is ever who they truly say they are. A lot of individuals can’t take direction. Virtually no one knows how to work to a deadline.

The list goes on and on. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy writing with a few of these people. No. The truth is, I currently just finished a third novel with one of the individuals from another project that never got off the ground. Still, these group tasks all turned out to be more of an annoyance than pleasure. To the point where I just grinned and bared three of them and actually dropped out of the one I brilliantly thought up. Yes, I made the right decision, because I currently still have no grey hairs. Totally telling the truth there.

But despite how truly horrible these experiences were, I continued to sign up for them. It’s pretty easy to understand why. The camaraderie, the friendship, not feeling alone in the writing universe. I actually love writing for people and helping others grow their stories and find their creative grooves. Sure, I can be harsh, but it all comes from a good place, a kind and sweet place, just below my left breast.

I’m talking about my heart.

When Evie came to me about Pankhearst and told me the idea of a writing collective geared to publishing cutting edge, raw, and honest work, I kind of fell head over heels in love. It’s a fantastic idea. An independent publisher designed to give readers stories written from their hearts. Pieces of fiction, and non fiction, crafted without worrying over whether they will be able to sell them to an agent or publisher, without worrying whether it is commercial enough to please the masses. Twisted tales of hell bent revenge and authentic emotion offered to a public who wants something unique and true.

Simply hearing about it got my juices flowing, creative and otherwise.

Even right now I’m excited about it.

You see, as a writer, I have heard the line ‘it’s not marketable’ a hundred times before. Agents have said it to me. Authors have uttered it as they type away at their computers. And I think it’s utter bullshit.

I cuss because I’m passionate about this.

Readers are not mindless cows grazing in the field of clichéd plot lines and stereotypical ideas, no matter how desperately people want to pain them as such. I firmly believe they need to be given a chance. One day, stories like the ones in Cars & Girls will be considered sought after and not given a cult following.

Do we really want creative individuals tip-toeing around, kowtowing to the Big Six, so desperately seeking recognition they’d rewrite their entire manuscript and threaten the integrity of their novel simply because some editor at a massive book publisher said it was ‘too brutal’ for the mainstream?

I think not.

Besides, violence and sex sells. So, Cars & Girls should sell millions.

That said, these are the reasons why Pankhearst was different and the project so appealing to me.

Then it came down to the people, myself included, and the truth came out. This whole independent collective thing was a lot of work. It took up a lot of time. Communication fell to the wayside. Writers dropped out. Still, I remained optimistic. I figured we just needed to find the right set of individuals and things would move along more smoothly. I refused to back out. Not only did I fall in love with my own story, Road Runner, but I seriously think the other stories are worthy of major publication. They possess an intangible quality that endears them to the reader and will stalk you through the weeks after reading.

At the end of the day, this isn’t my baby, but I’ve watched her grow up. I’ve been here since the beginning. I got on at the ground floor. And now she’s taking her first steps now. I’d be lying if I didn’t feel a little bit responsible. Of course, I only put a fraction of the time and energy into this project, but I like to think I was reliable enough, dependent to a point, and at least responded to emails.

There’s pride here.

So while Pankhearst did face some of the pitfalls of a lot of the other collaborations out there, she didn’t succumb and pack it in. She maintained. Held her head up high and kept beating her drum. And with Cars & Girls having been released, I breathe a sign of relief and say, ‘It was worth it.’

I’m fully prepared to do it again.

And again.


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