Sunday, July 25, 2010

Paying for Ish You want…Paying for Ish You didn’t do by Jeanie and Jayha

Please note that this blog was first posted on the 28 June 2010 at The Long and Short of It Whipped Cream Guest Blog:

Paying for Ish You want…Paying for Ish You didn’t do by Jeanie and Jayha

Things you need to know before you read this blog:
North Carolina (NC) is on Eastern Standard Time (EST); New Zealand (NZ) is on New Zealand Standard Time (NZST).
Depending upon where we are in the Daylight Savings Time cycle, New Zealand is 16-18 hours ahead of North Carolina meaning today in North Carolina is yesterday in New Zealand

6:30 am Wednesday in North Carolina/10:30 pm Thursday evening in New Zealand
Jayha clocks out at work and rushes home to get Mr. Jayha so she can take him to work. They have one vehicle that they share.

7:22 am Wednesday in NC/11:22 pm Thursday evening in NZ
Rrring. Rrring.

Stirred from sleep, Jayha attempts to ignore that ringing sound. Well, actually, it’s not a ringing sound but the theme song from Warner Brothers’ Pinky and the Brain. It’s fitting being that Jayha has grandiose plans for her and the universe involving a religious official, a treaty, a line of demarcation, and a benevolent despot.

Rrring. Rrring.

Realizing that that noise is the phone and that it probably won’t stop ringing anytime soon, a sleepy Jayha picks it up and croaks out a greeting. “I’m up. I’m up.”

“No, you’re not,” the New Zealand accented voice belonging to The Jeanie disagrees…albeit with great respect because Jayha’s the momma.

“Am too,” Jayha says. She is awake…now…kinda…sorta even though her eyes are closed.

“Mmm hmm,” The Jeanie says all disapproving-like. “Where are you? I rang the house and you’re not there.”

“Parking lot,” Jayha says as she stretches in the driver’s seat of her SUV trying to ignore the fact that she feels like she spent the night engaged in “Fight Club” and the fact that her stomach is trying to claw its way out of her body. Momentarily distracted by thirst, she considers her options for the official drink of the Empire—sweet iced tea. Every restaurant in all of North Carolina has iced tea but only Bojangles has Jayha’s favorite seasoned fries. Yum. Bojangles it is.

“Momma, are you listening to me?” Jeanie asked.

“Yep,” Jayha answers.

“What’d I say?”

“You said: “What’d I say?” Jayha says in an attempt to cute her way out of answering.

“How was work?”

“Work was like that line in Napoleon Dynamite—but since I don’t want a intellectual property right violation, I’ll simply say, that it freaking sucks every night I go there,” Jayha says as she turns into the drive-thru.
7:36 am EST Wednesday/11:36 pm Thursday New Zealand time

Jayha orders her fries, slams a 32 ounce sweet tea and starts in on her reserve cup. Jeanie is telling off Jayha. Jayha deflects the telling off with a question: “When am I going to get some grandbabies?”

“Da h*ll?” Jeanie asks.
7:48 am EST Wednesday in NC/11:48pm Thursday in NZ
Jayha walks in the door of her house, makes a beeline for her laptop, and fires it up. “Okay, home bambina. Hang up, I’ll call you from my landline.”

One minute later.
Jayha scans the email with the part of the book The Jeanie worked on yesterday while Jayha was at work. Jeanie has been on a writing roll and has pumped out over a chapter in text.

“Wow, that kicks all kind of literary a*s,” Jayha says before she and Jeanie launch into a discussion on the direction of the book and outline what each other needs to do today in order to stay on track for the book to be finished.

“’Kay, night. I’m going to bed now because I have to get up early for work, but I’ll call and wake you up so you won’t be late for class.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Jayha begins.

“La la la la la” [Jeanie ignoring her momma sound]

“Fine. Night.”

8:09 am EST Wednesday in NC/12:09 am Friday in NZ
Jayha’s alarm clock goes off. Jayha finds it and throws it across the room. Jayha’s phone rings. It’s Mr. Jayha calling to wake her up for class. Jayha mumbles that she’s up. This time, she’s lying through her teeth. Jayha hasn’t even rolled over. Jayha’s landline rings again. “I’m up!” she screams.

“No, you’re not,” Jeanie says tiredly as she’s set her alarm for an hour later to wake her momma up from the nap Jayha will take in her car in the school parking lot in between class.”
The Jeanie doesn’t like her momma sleeping in the parking lot. Obviously, it’s cold in winter and hot in summer and depending on where her momma parks it could be unsafe.

Now, Jayha’s really up and feels like sh*t for having her bambina have to get up an hour into her sleep to call her to wake her tired a*s up.

8:29 am EST Wednesday in NC/12:29 am Friday morning NZ
Jayha cranks up her SUV, puts it in gear and drops the hammer all the way to class. When she arrives on campus she drives around for ten minutes not able to find a parking space despite paying $500.00 fee for parking.

9:00 am-9:50 am EST Wednesday in NC/1:00 am-1:50 am Friday morning in NZ
Jayha’s first clas, which she’s five minutes late to, which is like on time for Jayha. The whole campus is a hotspot and most classes students log on to their laptops and take notes. In between taking notes, Jayha responds to email dealing with their books and their boards. To stay awake she sucks back her iced tea.

After class, Jayha stays put. Her next class is in the same room. She lays her head down on her laptop and sleeps for eight minutes.

2:00 pm EST Wednesday in NC/6:00 am Friday morning in NZ
Jayha is on her way home. One of the inner posse (in another time zone) talks her all the way there so she won’t fall asleep. She loves those chicks.

Jeanie’s alarm goes off. Jeanie cusses it out, throws it across the room. Jayha calls Jeanie. “Rise and shine, bambina!” she says all perky because that’s what momma’s do to their children.

“Aghr, sunlight!” Jeanie roars.

“You can’t even see it. You have black out film on your windows, your blinds are down; your curtains are over your blinds.” Jayha says.

“Light can still get in. You don’t know,” Jeanie says.

“Burglars would have an easier time of getting into Ft. Knox than light getting into your room. The only light that could possibly get into your room would occur if God walked into your room and said: “Let there be light.”

“Wow, over the line, Momma.”

“What’s over the line is you thinking light is going to get into your room.”

“Yeah, but I know it’s out there…lurking just waiting to get me.”

“Wow, get up chica so you can get to work. I wrote ten pages in between class. I sent them to you already. I’ve got to do some errands, go pick your daddy up, get some grub and do some homework before I can crawl my tired a*s into bed. I’ll call you tonight at your lunch break.”

“Okay. Love you bye,” Jeanie says.
8:00 pm EST Wednesday in NC/12:00 pm Friday afternoon in NZ
Jayha calls Jeanie during her lunch break. Jeanie works on the book during her lunch. They discuss the progress of the book and swap notes and decide what has to be done tomorrow. Jeanie wishes Jayha “good night;” Jayha wishes Jeanie a good afternoon, bids her to not cuss anyone out at work, make sure she walks out with colleagues when her shift is over; and drive carefully.

8:40 pm EST Wednesday in NC/12:40 pm Friday afternoon in NZ
Jayha finally goes to bed; the Jeanie is back at her desk.

10:00 pm EST Wednesday night/2:00pm Friday morning New Zealand time
Jayha gets in her car and cusses all the way to work (she takes forty minutes of unpaid leave every day the front part of her shift so she can grab enough sleep to work with). Jeanie is at work, working on notes, etc. for the story in between calls.

Four months later:
Jeanie and Jayha share an internet toast of iced tea as their book that they’ve spent six months working on is finally out.

“Yay, us! Jeanie says.”

“Damn skippy,” Jayha says back.

A day later
Some a**hole puts the book on a pirate website. The book is downloaded over two thousand times. Jeanie and Jayha don’t even sell 100 copies of the book.

“You okay, momma?”

Sigh. “Yeah, all good? You, bambina?”

“Yeah. Do you want to write anymore of the series, momma or just let it go?” Jeanie asks. “That’s a lot of time and resources to throw at a book to get so little return.”

“Don’t know, Jeanie. Right now, I’m not feeling it. Like you said, that’s a lot to put into a book just to have someone take it all away. I don’t know if my heart’s really in it.”

“But what about the books we already wrote?”

“They’re going to have to sit there for a minute. Maybe we can offer them in print. Maybe we won’t offer them at all,” Jayha says with a touch of regret.

Jeanie looks at the email she just received: “Oh, my goodness! I love this book! When’s the next one coming out?” a reader asks.

Jeanie clicks on her other window and reads the book request on a pirate website: “I love these authors. Looking for any of their books.”

Jeanie looks at the list of their titles that have already been illegally uploaded on the pirate website. Clicking on the other window, she responds to the reader: “I don’t know…maybe never.”

“I’ve got to go, chica. I’ve got class,” her momma says.

“But you didn’t even get a nap,” Jeanie protests.

“Doesn’t matter. Someone’s got to make the doughnuts.”

Jeanie can hear the fatigue in her momma’s voice. She worries about her working all night knowing how bad her momma hurts. She worried about her driving sixty miles to college knowing how tired her momma is. She keeps quiet knowing her momma has to do what she has to do. She needs a better education if she wants to get a better job where she doesn’t have to work nights…standing eight hours on concrete. Sighing, she sets her clock. “I’ll call you to make sure you’re up,” she says.

“You don’t have to,” Jayha begins. Jayha stops knowing Jeanie is going to call her anyway. Jayha worries about Jeanie knowing she works long hours at her full time job and taking care of her family obligations. She worries as Jeanie’s sleep is always interrupted…by requests of others and obligations. She feels guilty because she is one of those obligations. If she didn’t go to school, she could get more sleep and Jeanie wouldn’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to call and wake her up and to talk her to school and back home. Jeanie needs to sleep. Maybe then she’d have time to play more but alas, Jeanie’s always writing. They’re both always writing…always. She looks around at the sea of paper on her table…post-it notes, backs of envelopes, backs of receipts that represent the births of many books. She loves these stories…wants to tell these stories. Sighing, she clicks the link to the pirate website and copies and pastes the link into the letter of her and Jeanie’s takedown request. They write so many, they’ve got a pre-printed form for them. All they have to do is change the date and insert the link because part of Jeanie’s routine is searching these pirated websites out; part of Jayha’s routine is writing these letters…always searching and writing…wondering how readers who gush about how much they love them not only steal from them and other authors but preemptively steal from them every day.

“I’m getting at the man,” one reader said.

“Me and Jeanie aren’t “the man.” We’re just two chicks writing stories we love trying to make it.”

‘I’m only trying to pay some bills,’ Jayha thinks as she sends a payment to the cover artist…and another payment to the editor…and another payment to the proofreader…and another payment to the website guy.

Half a world away, Jeanie thinks, ‘I’m only trying to get money to pay bills…and to get back home to my momma.’

Somewhere, a pirate posts another link to one of their books prompting a thank you from a reader…and more take down requests that Jeanie and Jayha will have to tend to tomorrow.

It feels like the blues when you see evidence of people stealing from you. It’s not just the words that get pirated…it’s everything: your time, your energy, your talent, the editing, the cover art, the formatting, your love…everything that goes into creating a book. It feels like the blues when you see evidence that they know they’re stealing and don’t care.

-Jeanie and Jayha

Addendum: Though this blog originally posted on 28 June 2010, we are reprinting it because it is especially valid considering the guest author interview that appears next. Madison Hayes is one of our favorite authors. Read her interview, then read the note on her webpage, and understand the consequences of piracy.