Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
(A)s a result of the sluggish economy, bank failures and tighter credit at many banks, the amount of available credit for auto loans, credit cards, consumer-finance loans, student loans and other types of consumer credit declined to $433 billion this year, according to Equifax Inc. The total is down 51% from $887 billion in 2007.
News about the strictures in the credit market has been around long enough now to have become almost mental furniture. Its reportage is reassuringly vague, and leaves the possibility for people like me - people who aren't seeking out more loans, and whose debt is at the moment at least reasonably in hand (people who are inordinately blessed) - to sit back quietly and feel all non-threatened and stuff.
Fifty one percent. That is soberingly specific.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I don't mean the religious positions. Christian I may be, but offended by *depictions* of paganism I can't say I am in (ahem) spirit.
Offended, however, by horrible filmmaking, I can be.
And by terrifyingly blatant, unquestioning misogyny.
I mean, Wicker 2.0 is just a primal scream of terror and loathing of women. Not even funny.
In a VERY sidelong irony, I wore my bee pendant today for the first time - a gift to me from people, oddly enough, who live in the Pacific Northwest. Heh.
Mine has a different kind of symbolism, of course.
Still an amusing piece of timing, though, with the bee thematics in today's special being about the only interesting aspect of the rewrite of the much more successfully and interestingly bad original
As to the rest, I'll be happy to have Netflix back on a quality movie groove pretty quickly now. For this chapter: so done. Eep.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Still, I refuse to forget. What makes me I fight to keep.
And in any case: denial and pretense seem to me antithetical to the power of forgiveness. If one fakes something away, it takes no courage nor care to accept its void. Living with life, with no substitutions to compromise what must be done with it, is the real power. Denying it is submission.
I don't like the stories in my in which where I am so defeated.
Amazing, the resilience of love.
Still, I weep. Only partly for myself.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Then to underscore my youthfulness, off to the liquor store. One can't make bourbon balls without it, and bourbon balls - that's Christmas! Also a bottle of Stolichnaya, because Stoli is just pleasing to say.
Finishing off at the drugstore for one prescription, now I am done, and have a few hours before my friends come over. Yay nachos!
Everyone seems to be in nice-mode today, and the leftover snow, the grey day, and the relenting of the very-cold-ness is so pleasant. I had an enjoyable time.
And now I shall have an enjoyable aspirin, and a short doze on my Queen's Chair, before getting ready for later. Fortunately, it will be a relatively easy get-ready, as these aren't friends who will note nor care whether I have simonized the basement or detailed the dog. Good friends, that.
Tomorrow, most likely: church, and then baking and fudge. Yum. Loved ones always welcome.
So here I sit, nursing today's headache with a Pepsi, and wishing I could get out, get done, and get home to maybe do some straightening up.
It does seem strange to me that a forty-almost-three year old woman is still so consistently perceived as being a bit of a child by the people closest in some ways, despite the many evidences of perfectly successful responsibility and adulthood. But I have a personality that apparently lends to a sense of, in different aspects, impulsive childishness (I guess), immature fixations (definitely), perhaps youthfulness, and just a general resistance to age.
That last one I think remains on the surface even though it's no longer as robust as it once was internally. I have habits of behavior that refuse my being middle-aged ... yet more and more, I quite embrace that part of my being. I decided just this week to quit reacting to my physical creakiness, which I'd been growing a bit more theatrical about, and interestingly, not wasting my time at three a.m. or when I get up, noticing and verbally responding to the pain in my feet has definitely made a difference in my experience of it. More generally, I've long had this business with not looking "my age" - but feeling "I earned my age" - and of late, I look at that age and kind of revel in it, more than in my outward nonconformity to it.
I'm not trying to turn into the old person we hated so much when we were kids. But there is POWER in my age. There is a position I've come to I never attained before. Just as a person, I may be at a different place in terms of my physical condition ... but the place I am in terms of my autonomy is second to none. I have yet again, this year, overcome unemployment. This owes no small debt to the level of my experience, and my confidence.
To my age.
Life drags and smears. So it's no wonder many still default to seeing me in the light I used to see myself. I don't resent it often (though, obviously, there's as much power in that resentment as there is in myself), but of course it comes out. The cognitive dissonance - "don't you people SEE me?" - is frustrating.
But what people see is what I present. So it's on me.
Off I go to do some responsible, mature stuff. With a stupid eighties song in my heart, no doubt. Probably turned up "inappropriately" loud.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I get that we live in a nation, to address or describe the population of which, "important" people invariably say: families. It is so automatic a prejudice, a set of ridiculous presumptions (and always "on" those of us it ignores), it's not even worth protesting. And, you know what? Most of the d*mned time, I don't even bother.
I get that by virtue of my abnormaility I am marginalized. It's a deeper, more wildly widespread, and vastly even-less-questioned bigotry than "fat-ism" is.
Whatever, is my response to it. I know my substance, and if my culture punishes me for it, to hell with that aspect of my culture and society. Seriously. Bite me, every one of you.
But holy cr*p. Someone I love has DIED, and two people I've talked to tonight could not WAIT to ignore that, push by it, minimize it, and discuss THEIR interests - in one case, the minor health issue of an aunt I swear I have never heard of before (in thirty years) and in the other, the CHRISTMAS SHOPPING I am meant to do for someone online.
I know I am nothing. G-d help me, to both these people, I have too long accepted this perfectly asinine demotion by default.
But can we pretend THIS means something?
The man who has died - he wasn't traitorously insane enough to fail to marry and procreate. Can you at least respect HIM, if I am of no account ... ?
I mean, holy &**^0%($$
Monday, December 13, 2010
The thing is, it's all perfectly true, but it's all really a load of dingoes' kidneys as far as my specific actual awareness of it went. My swamp was backfilled and suburbanized, smoothed over with lawns and little explored by me. I knew what lay behind the houses just across the street - and, because of that, I never went beyond those backyards. The most interesting frontier was the drive in backing up to our neighborhood; the legends about sitting on Havenwood, watching forbidden movies without any sound. I think "Saturday Night Fever" played there and some middle school kids saw it, at a distance, through the trees.
The lowlands surrounding us - that was my brother's deal, exploring them, knowing them. I scarcely saw them.
For me, the geography of childhood was all about the Avenue - the longest road in the world, I thought. Still a remarkable expanse, a perfectly-straight stretch of four lanes (then, as now) underscoring my entire understanding of the universe. It was the south end of my experience. Everything sprouted off it, just a hair to its north, for the first few years of my self-aware existence. When I was very young, the trip to the grocery down in that sunken parking lot - now, it seems so close to my old home - was the limit of life itself. When they built a grocery store closer to home, it was New and Exciting - and still manages to carry that feeling somehow.
I am a Virginian. What can you do. What is thirty-five is fresh; innovation.
When I was first learning to understand the world, I built a cosmology as incoherently formed on the line of the Avenue as my physical experience and geogrophy were. If you took that road over its straight hills toward the country - toward the west, as it happens - eventually, you would find Old Time ... and kings and things ... Jesus ... and ancient things. Guys in white wigs and velvet breeches - that's where they lived. West on the Avenue.
Eastward now; was it coincidence - some pediatric intuition - that east led perhaps to the future? I had no concept of the future, but if the past were physically available, as of course it was to someone with no concept of "time", certainly what was yet to come must be as well.
Yet to come I could not have conceived of, beyond - "I want to get big" and knowing life consisted of waiting, that magic thing taking forever, they called growing up.
I still have no conception of yet-to-come. And in some ways, I can still reach for the past in a physical way.
Of course, I started reaching east, when I took Clovis for my text.
But I have always been affectionately fascinated by the cosmology I built for myself before having one intentionally taught to me. I can still see, in my imagination, the way those hills gave over ... to sunlight ... to heat ... past Buckingham, past the end even of the Avenue, into some mythical desert where Bible people lived. Where Jesus was breathing, just little, just like me. How he could be a man too I never cared to comprehend. He was small. In a manger. He was on the same line as I was, and so many at once, too. It didn't all have to coalesce, back then. Trinity was just a word churches used. And the nature of things wasn't something I had to consider.
I still prefer not to, frankly.
But my swamp - that is Christmas. My icy, wide, expansive swamps. Rich in water now; and in ice I can REMEMBER; the black crystalline chips glinting in wide fields of lumpy soil. Beautiful mud. I can see the patterns of the freeze; in those puddles. In the feathers on our car. In the tiny snowflakes my eyes once could see, even naked.
I said I didn't look; wasn't conscious. That doesn't mean my swamps aren't still in my DNA.
I recognize them every day.
I love them. I love the way these places have - miraculously - little changed. I love Virginia, its low places, its country, bordered by suburbs - and, yes, even its suburbes, bordered by country.
Once, long ago, Dr. C., our pastor back then, said, "The color of Christmas is black" and he explained about the night. About the cold. About the uncertainty, and the void into which light shone.
The color of Christmas is the color of a puddle, frozen crystalline into the soil of my swamps.
It's the white of the snow and the grey of those trees, today.
It's the white of the tree we used to decorate our front door; lights buried in chicken wire, glowing in hundreds of tufted tissues, forming a triangle on the front door of a little ranch house in the burbs.
It's the color of my dad's gloves.
It's the black of early nights.
I grew up in a swamp.
And the swamp still, somehow, grows with and within me.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Today I brought him down to help me decorate the tree.
I want him down here; where it is warm, where life really lives. Not to be displayed, not to be a trophy. Somewhere safe.
The bookshelves would be appropriate, but are not yet ideal to my mind. There is a drawer he could stay in, unseen, central, safe. Something like that. Ever present. As he is.
For now, he's helping deck the halls. Soon I'll know where he should stay for a while.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
So weird. G-d, I love her.
She also has an absolute manic yen for vegetable oil.
In winter, when she gets dry skin, I sometimes give her a tiny bit of oil with her kibble. She goes perfectly mad with joy over canola. It is so unbelievably funny. Vegetable oil. Who knew ... ? Heh.
Monday, December 6, 2010
But for me, writer's block doesn't happen because, if I don't feel like writing, nor have anything to write *about*: I just don't. For me, actually, that is by far the best way to ensure what I *do* write is important to me.
I won't say "ensure it is good" - nor even "worth writing" (as that cannot be defined, outside of my personal functioning) - but I don't write much I regret nor feel was fully wasted time. It goes back to that thoughtkiller thing, I suppose. The contents of my brain aren't all necessarily art, nor worth preserving.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
My team is spread across the system, so most of us are in different cities, different time zones. Yesterday, one of the guys in the boss's city came to me with a question about something happening there, and I chanced to have a chuckle that he hadn't asked the boss. He said, "He didn't know, he told me to ask you."
I have become The Keeper, at last.
This is a good time in a still-new job. When you've become a subject matter expert - SME.
SMEEEEE! That's me.
(I've been poco - POC - point of contact - for a while. Now I am actually *knowing* stuff; it's a step forward!)
Friday, December 3, 2010
The casting of this flick versus Ang Lee's version was embarrassing. The casting of Liv Tyler's new upper lip looks like it was supposed to yield a giant plastic dolphin. And ... can we talk about William Hurt? Cast as a general, and an aggresive one at that? ... Really? Wasn't that guy in "Beaches" or some other (every other?) chick flick? I'm pretty sure he's starred opposite Streisand, is what I am saying here.
So. I'm going to make "The Incredible Hulk" and when it's time to replace Sam Elliott - I come up with ... William HURT?
In any movie in which the term "hulk" is even used as a word, he doesn't make sense. It his one, he's cognitive dissonance cranked to eleven. *Blink*
Worse, for me, was the incredibly disappointing stone-age machismo and the gender roles out of 1962 which apparently somehow couldn't be avoided.
"It's just the rain," Liv Tyler coos. "It'll be okay," she Marilyns. At least Marilyn knew that schtick was just an act, and played it for one, patently.
The scene where she attempts anger ... let's not even discuss. Oh, Livvy. I'll remember "Crazy" fondly enough, if you'll just stop making movies now. 'kay?
Because if this is the sort of thing you want to perpetuate ... the woman limited to "look out behind you!" - whose "doctorate" is only represented by the fact that she carries a canon character's name, but whose role in any lab is limited to standing next to her man, alabaster and limpid-eyed ... Good grief, deliver me from your oevre, please, woman.
I might not have been passionately in love with Jennifer Connoly's turn, but compared to this dreck, at least she had a CHARACTER - and wasn't turned on a dime without reason nor grounding (see "anger" above) for an extremely weak joke. At least she was given, in addition to her *impeccable* hair and terrifyingly-thin figure, the semblance of LINES.
"Oh, Bruce," she obligingly did not coy, with some sort of cosmetic surgeon's nightmare occupying what once was the top half of a cute enough pout, if you like that sort of (natural) thing. Connoly, chic and skinny as she is, at least provided a performance.
And she did have better hair. (I say this as an OWNER of bangs: they make some women look like gamely scruffy nine-year-olds; frankly, this is a disturbing image, for a leading lady.)
Anyway - yeah. Finally saw it.
And I'm okay with the Lee version. Even the attempt to increase the grittiness failed here, with the most distracting and weird chest musculature ever animated, and the strangely long-hair/pretty-boy thing they were going for with the Hulk himself. Um. Odd.
And it is a pity about the revolving-door Banners, too. Bana (heh) and Norton were both pretty good, and now apparently the franchise is getting ANOTHER new lead (can we exchange the rest of the cast too ... ?). I guess if it ain't broke there's no reason not to "HULK SMASH" it.
Very nice, Hollywood.
Now I need a bath to stop shuddering at the feminist nightmare.
Monday, November 29, 2010
I'm glad one of us finally dialed a phone. That whole "thinking about you" thing is so much less effective than communication and actual visits. It may also be fun to go visit him and then go visit my "cousin", TEO, which was my previous Master Plan ...
Hurray for cousins!
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Just as important to me, if not perhaps as "practical" by the standards he might hold, or even my mom probably does, is the ability this little machine has given me to (a) finish, and (b) query my novel(s).
The keyboard shows inevitable signs - every keyboard I have used in the past twelve years or so has; since hardware manufacturers began depending on decals for their letter labels, rather than those old, fine, putty-colored keyboards which had embedded contrasting plastic extruded, formed right in, and indelibly present to deliniate the poor N which seems to suffer most from my typing-with-my-nails style - of my typing-with-fingernails method of getting things electronically done.
Otherwise, though, it's as clean and pristine as the day I was gobsmacked to open the laptop box, December 25, 2009. The case is a gorgeous mahogany color, almost - but, elegantly, not *quite* - black. It does bear one single scratch, which I affectionately forgive, because I almost certainly sustained it on my trip to see my family on the West Coast. But it is still new. It is still neato. It is still a pretty whizbang little box to report in to most every day, to waste time on, and to work on.
I'm still a bit eye-blinking about the gift.
Makes Christmas tricky - but mom did give me a great idea. So that is a good thing. I can show him some gratitude.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Two weeks isn't long for an agent to take reading a full manuscript.
I figure, the shorter the response time, the surer there's no interest.
I figure I haven't *really* got a shot here.
I figure the work is good - its home, I just may not have found quite yet. But there is one.
I figure - *EEP* - two weeks sitting stark naked like this, *knowing* (when) I'm being read - not just "that" it is happening, but when the file needed opening ...
I'm loving it.
But I am all squirmy about it, too.
And by G-d, I love my good, good dog.
This morning, she headed downstairs ahead of me. This isn't typical, but it's nothing I worry about much. When I came down, though, I saw her water bowl was emp-oh-tee. She must've been thirsty - and I realized, even just a tiny bit of ham fat is more, to a dog. And I realized - oh, man. SALT. Aiee.
I filled her bowl again, and added even more when she drank about 2/3 of what I'd poured without even glancing at breakfast. She drank a little more.
Full on water, she never did look twice at her kibble.
And I am no fool. I had an idea what this would mean.
To her credit, wee girl *did* wee a *lot* along our walk. But I fully expected what I did find, when I came home. Well, the artifact.
I didn't expect the terrified dog.
Siddy peed on the tiny, cheap rug in my front hall, which was frankly nothing more than I expected, and hardly less than what I had earned with the sequence of salt and water. I wasn't upset with her.
Oh my heart, but she was in trembling fear.
Eight YEARS I have had her now. Eight years over a month ago.
But whatever the discipline she was given, so severe it held her to the point of obvious distress, and I am certain, actual pain, through that hurricane, had her SHAKING in fear. At me.
I told her it was okay, I put her harness on, I took her outside. I took the rug out, too, and rinsed it. When she saw me carrying it, she clearly understood her "crime" was clear to me too. I took it over to the hose, rinsed it off a little. I brought it back, and slung it over the rail on the back stoop.
And I sat with my poor girl, caressing her velvet ears, as she shook and shook and clearly vascillated in fear. I told her it was okay. I told her it was okay over and over and over again, and I scritched her and patted her and put my hand on her back with the same gentleness I hope she knows eight-years-well-and-deep from me by now. I bonked her head with my own. I hung out, unconcerned, watched the sky, watched her. Told her again and again it was okay.
I'll say it again.
And what a great dog - BEST dog - my old Siddy-La is.
I am so lucky to have her.
I sure hope she is lucky in me.
Relative to my predecessors, clearly at least she's SAFER.
But I won't relax until she's really fortunate.
Po' lil t'ing.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
... well, by anything but my poor dog. Who remains all unknowing and unconcerned. Bless her.
No, seriously. Bless her. Even as she makes sad noises at me. Because at least she isn't making food.
"The ground is all weird!"
Monday, November 22, 2010
Oh, and writing a bit, too. Yeah. That.
Now to consider whether to post anything with the Sarcastic Broads ...
Or the one whose name is one single letter away from that Communications executive who once accused my writing of being "elegant" (and who is a great guy, to whom I owe a lunch ...). Who happens to rep Mayim Bialik, who returned to TV on one of my favorite shows. Heh. (Am I a snot, though, to note that QT misspelled her name ... ?)
I'll be sure and keep you posted. She's with William Morris Endeavor, one of the biggest of the big (so calibrate expectations, O Anonymous Querying Comrade), and I likely haven't got the breath of a chance. But I did have a referral - so: nice. All the best to you, AQC!
*Toasts all the querying authors out there*
Thank you to let me see these articles and pictures,it is so cool, I am very excited, which to me is incredibly, I finally found a soul mate, if possible, please read these my pictures!!!concord watchI mean, the Engrish is even getting boring. Am I going to have to turn off the comments function?
... and my complex begins ...
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Being a good girl, I am using this time to get back into Absolute Write a little bit, at last to set up 1000 Literary Agents and Query Tracker accounts, and to query Suzanne Gluck at WMA. I have put off for far too long my query to her - via the incredible generosity of Adriana Trigiani.
You'll notice I'm naming this query, where in the past I haven't noted anyone I have submitted to. I figure, I had to do the work to find my submission sources - you all have to do your own. But William Morris Endeavor is so big, and Suzanne Gluck so major, there are two reasons I needn't be too precious about this intel. One is that my chances here are nil, and I know that. Two, a public revalation that I am shooting for the stars here (even acknowledging the star is likely to shoot me down) is nothing to be embarrassed about.
This goes along with the urban fantasy agent I liked so much from the Conference (got my R from her last week) and in-person pitches with agents who don't usually handle my genre. I am bouyed by their generosity and positivity, and honored by their willingness to open doors to me - but I am little burdened with illusions that this kindness necessarily translates to lasting interest. I'm confident the right relationship will come, so I'm not overly sweaty about every last possibility along the way.
I'm also not failing to make the query, given the route to it (the word "referral" is gold in query country! especially "referral by super hot author" fella babies!). "Small chance" is still a chance - and why would I just not try? I've got the nicest, most amazing author in the world encouraging me. It'd be outright moronic to write myself off, given that context.
Realistic as I am, I do still have a dream. And it's FUN to let thoughts slip, occasionally, about hitting the big time. That's what this whole industry is about. It's all well and good to be pragmatic, professional, and un-precious. But it wouldn't be wise to ratchet my expectations all the way down to nothing. William Morris doesn't deal with nothings. Just ask Adriana.
Friday, November 19, 2010
When look at the article and picture,I as if know the real! I'm surpised to it. It's so cool! You share so good thing,I should report back to you! Recently,I found one good website when skim over some websites.It'sreplica Mahina Louis Vuitton Handbags?
ON A POST ABOUT HOW BAD MY HEADACHES ARE.
Now, come on. Actual people. It is okay if you commment. I turned on the function for just such purposes. I love good Engrish as much as the next guy, but ... no. Not in my comments. I prefer real comments. M'kay? I love you guys.
Not the bots so much. Don't let them outnumber you, or I'll get a complex.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
It also *really* makes you wish for more variety in takeout options.
Today was a four-Advil day, and yet the headache is strong. But I got out by 4:40-ish, to go home. Progress!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
"I am made of hope," I have been known to say.
Apparently, over time, one comes to be made of sadder stuff.
I resent this loss.
And - even so - I content myself with it.
Ah, content. Cold comfort for those of us without satisfaction.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Here's hoping she spends a little time enjoying it this weekend.
I still don't have breath-held expectations of success with this query; I know her agency does histfic, but she does not. So it was a thrill for her to ask for the manuscript. But it is still kind of nice to know a query's at the top of a slush pile, just a week before the first meeting of the SBC.
Squee is a burst of excitement. She's cute, she's still small, she's affectionate and amazing.
Oh, but Wow. I've known Wow longer; she was the first for our family. I have been fascinated and smitten with her so many years she's almost an adolescent now. She's poised, she's brilliantly intelligent, and she's beautiful in a way that goes way beyond the surface-appearance benefits of good health, good humor, and wide eyes. She's always had an innate generosity and creativity which make her genuinely remarkable.
And she can DRAW. She can paint, she can bead and braid and knit and MAKE. She is the very essence of creativity - able to make pictures and stories and objects - I even get compliments every time I wear the earrings she made for me.
I miss those girls. They just can't know. Amazing.
Squee moved me deeply, when she cried for happiness, seeing me last summer. Wow did it when she cried, when they left Virginia. The two of them are such a future. What a glorious legacy, our family.
Not long ago, I was told: Squee is writing, now. She wants to tell stories, and she can't even write all the words.
Squee is five.
She goes to ask daddy how to make the word she needs, and he tells her it doesn't matter, to make what she thinks looks right for it, and just to tell her stories. Just to write.
He's a pretty great daddy, I suspect.
He certainly has amazing daughters.
As luck would have it, I bought one on Wednesday night. I'd seen it in the shop near my work on Tuesday, and thought that it was probably too blue for me. But looking at it Wednesday, I realized I wanted the little beauty.
As it turns out, the fear that it was too blue (to go with my extremely turquoise *green* mantelpiece) was totally unfounded - and now I have myself a Queen's Chair. It represents for me a sort of final giving-up on worrying about decorating to accommodate a man whom I don't expect ever to be physically part of my life again; it's entirely feminine, a piece all for me. For MY house. For MY taste. It's a giving-up in one way, but entirely an indulgence too.
I have realized, one of my favorite things about this chair is unexpected. The way it sits right now, it faces the first painting I ever got from my youngest niece. Big green smiling face, with smeary bright eyes and almost vestigial watercolor arms and body. Nothing of its body matters but the happy big green head, the undeniable, ineffably joyous smile, and the eyes, which are red and fiery yellow. It's a big picture, and wonderful. It's good to have a chair that sits just where I can relax and contemplate it.
I may not have a partner. But I am loved immensely, and I have a family who are incalculably wonderful. There are blessings.
Well, the lawn is only half mowed. Must get to the rest of that. November ... and I'm sweating in the sun, mowing the grass! Fabulous!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Go watch it again.
And if you didn't watch it the first time, I am not going to be your friend. Because - seriously - so stinkin' coolio.
It's been a pretty weekend, and the house is indeed clean, with laundry underway as is fitting for a Sunday evening. The work week will be very short this go-round; three days, as we get Veterans Day (there's a post happy to stand ready a while yet), and I took Friday as well. I mean to use the four-day weekend to do some final detail work in the kitchen, things put off too easily for a while now, with a job no longer quite so new. I'll also hit up the antique mall, and maybe the southside junk shop - and, if my mom and I can get in touch with them, my dear friend and her baby daughter might get a visit.
The first Sarcastic Broads Club meeting will be at my place, week after next. Kind of looking forward to that; something different, hopefully constructive.
Tonight, though - more ease and a little laundry, in my nice clean house. Then off to bed. What pleasure.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
The work week was actually surprisingly productive, considering my rotten attitude (I don't share my attitude with those who pay me to be nice, for the most part ...). But when 4:30 came and went yesterday I slipped into a bit of defeatist humor about it. Eh, well, the later you leave on a Friday, the easier the drive is.
Still, it was a little amusing that the thing taking me so long was something to do with my printer.
My printer and I have a bit of a fraught relationship. And my printer is the only one I can use to do what needed doing.
So I got stubborn and bent it to my will (not without a bit of a fight, obviously), and left about an hour and a half late.
Apparently, my printer was feeling a stickler over the fact I had left an hour and a half *early*, with that feeling unwell business, the previous Friday.
But I did get home, and had a quiet evening finishing out season 3 of Deep Space 9 on my new DVD set, went through all the little easter eggs and special features, and went to bed by I think 9:45 or so.
I spent a night of pretty good rest, brain CLOTTED with dreams - a constant production line of scraps, images, stories - none of them bad ones, most of them I can't remember. Evidently my brain needs a good emptying-out. I drowsed this morning, silly writer-mind coming up with reviews for DS9. Heh. That's a typical Saturday morning for me. Letters to E, reviews like that, scathing arguments with people who offend my sensibilities - my sleepy brain writes.
And not always well. As we already know. Heh.
So I won't subject you to all of last night's (or this morning's) mental smorgasboard, but I do have an idea that this weekend I'm going to want to get out a couple thoughts which have been suggesting themselves for this space recently.
First, though, to survey the estates, and see what there is to see. Strategy time.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
November has never been a kind month for me and my brother. It bears its own unpleasant dread. I'm not much depressive - and I'm not (much) superstitious - but experience is experience, and experience has never induced in me a carefree love for this month of the year. It has borne good fruit. But it has been unremittingly cruel more than once.
I'm not down, but wary.
November comes in like a migraine and leaves like a flu. Or something like that. Not to be trusted, months without cute little lamb similes.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
When I was a kid, the first real concert I ever went to go see was The Clash's combat rock tour. I got right up in front, and before the show even started, somebody (either a jerk who wanted to get rid of the fifteen-year-old girl for whatever reason, or a nice guy who was worried about the supposed daintiness of fifteen-year-old girls whose durability he was not acquainted with) summoned a security guard to pull me up out of the press at the stage barrier, which (a) separated me wholly from my friends, already out of sight to me but at least somewhere in that general area in front of the stage and (b) didn't stop me but for about ten minutes. The joy of festival seating, and of being a smarty-pants fifteen year old girl was that I pushed my way RIGHT back to the front, where I had been - and, though I lost my shoes doing it, I literally didn't miss a beat ... of the show. It annoyed the life out of the people who were trying to pretend they'd saved mine, but I had a heck of a good time. From the ankles up, that is.
Worth noting: when attending an arena show populated almost entirely by people wearing genuine military surplus combat boots (this was ten years before that poseur Doc Marten came along and fashion-ized the cool-kids footwear market), it is poor planning to wear teeny little cotton maryjanes. Take it from me, Fella Babies.
The second uber-cool thing I am able to say is that my SECOND concert was David Bowie.
I try to minimize the fact that it was the Serious Moonlight tour, to be sure.
But I saw David Bowie. Ended up up front again (children: look up the term festival seating in some ancient 1980s text, and marvel at the wonder of all the people who got gave their lives for The Who and AC/DC, and wonder at the capitalist impossibility of being at the front of a concert without paying ninety bucks for the privilege ...). Caught his towel.
I still have my half of the towel. My brother's ex girlfriend's little sister has the other half. Or did back then, anyway.
I suspect neither of us ever forgave my mother for WASHING David Bowie's towel. But, still. I have it. Even if the sacred sweat *was* abluted away. I use it to stuff my flapper/Clara Bow wig, keep its shape vaguely.
So I have gotten some mileage out of being able to say I've seen The Clash and Bowie live. There are deluded punk rock wannabes who die over these facts (though I must reiterate for them all the time, The Clash were not in fact punk). People half my age in faux-distressed tees get a bit wobbly when I have the opportunity to discuss this stuff. I've wowed generations now with my old lady tales of seeing White Cross live - and Minor Threat - and The Exploited (the latter of whom, of course, were a right gang of unmitigated turdheads). I even saw Ten Thousand Maniacs once, and generated a tiny little meme with my response to Natalie Merchant. I'm a bit the Grand Dame, able to make certain claims to the wee kidlets who would have died for the chance to've seen some of these performers.
Less exciting is the real truth, that my VERY first arena show, age ten, was actually Shawn Cassidy. I spent an endless after-school afternoon harrassing my father into taking me to at all, and miraculously he DID - and then I harrassed him again, into taking me out of the arena, when the opening band TERRIFIED me for some reason. When I tried once again harrassing him back INTO the arena, when I heard the magical strains of Da Doo Ron Ron or something off of Born Late - astonishingly - dad was not to be harrassed that magical third time.
So I still count The Clash as my first *real* show experience ... ahem.
My poor dad.
But lucky me.
Because that sounds MUCH cooler than "I saw Shawn Cassidy because Leif Garret was too popular."
Eventually, I did see Leif. I think it was the year after his "Behind the Music" fiasco - and I know it was as a joke. Interesting one. Not at all good, though.
He should try out for The Exploited, I think.
Monday, November 1, 2010
As much as I was dreading today, yesterday, now I am dreading tomorrow. To be sure, I know this is hardly the attitude to go into *any* day with, but voting days do tire me out. Even on non-presidential years, when it doesn't take all that long, running such an errand in the dark of a November morning (the new time for Daylight Savings has given a literally-dark new flavor to election days these past few years) is mentally tiring. Maybe I should stop, after getting it done, and bring in some bagels or something for my crew. Hmm, must check the hours for Einstein Bros., see if that's an option ...
Except of course that I like the breakfast at work. Man, they do the most amazingly good thick-cut bacon.
Oh, just thinking about it makes me a poorer coworker. Heh. I like bacon and biscuits better than bagels anyway.
The good news about this week is that after tomorrow, the days will be significantly easier. And after Friday, we'll be adjusting this oh-dark-thirty business for this year. I must be old: I'm looking forward to this like it's a holiday. "Yay, Fall Back is coming!"
But right now, even one extra hour's sleep sounds like platinum-plated luxury. Mmm.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
And that's the trick to getting it right. I used to think white makeup was best served by trying to scrub my skin to the freshest, healthiest layer. Because it seems to sit on the slightest dryness like a highlight, white makeup can make you look positively scaly - so I used to try to scrub and scrub so there could be no possible patch that wasn't perfectly smooth. And then I'd try to go out for Hallowe'en as a vampire, and find that my skin wasn't perfectly smooth except to my poorly attuned naked eye - the makeup would do its "ha ha, you're a reptile" thing - and the effect would be ruined.
White makeup, it has to be said, is not designed to disappear on the skin the way color matched foundation is. It's mean to COVER, not blend - and so it has to sit on a surface primed for that purpose. Not just glopped straight on, more and more, hoping for the least-worst. And no amount of moisturizer will perform this (surface) service.
The trick is: lay down a thin layer of the makeup you use that DOES match your skin. Maybe a shade lighter, sure. But don't try to go straight from your skin to white makeup. Even as pale as I am: that doesn't work. Period.
A layer of your own foundation - even a thin layer - gives something that communicates to both sides, as it were. The foundation designed for your skin is compatible for the job of making up your skin. And the white foundation is compatible with THAT. So you get the velvet-smooth desired effect.
It's a ton of makeup, yes.
But it ends up being probably less than many slather on working white makeup up to the point of a geisha effect. And less makes more of a point, too. You don't have to go clown-white to get a pretty heightened effect, with white makeup.
Anyway. Hallowe'en tip from me to you ...
I'm off to the grocery to put something in the larder. And then in my tum. Then, quiet night at home handing out goodies to wee ghoulies. Blasphemously, I'll most probably be watching Star Trek (I got DS9 season 3 this week ...) rather than Langella's Dracula, or even my recent copy of Nosferatu - but that's a show heavy on fantasy and costume, so I am hoping even non-dorks will forgive me.
Off to the races. And still not napping at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday - go me ...
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I'm a woman of prodigious noise, but (like most of my kind, frankly) at my core, that stems from timidity more than confidence. When it comes to really fundamental points, unfortunately, I'm the sort who'll go out of my way NOT to be heard, sometimes.
But ... when someone steps out of ambiguity, past perhaps-creepy, and into the outright baffling in their offerings of attention, you have to begin to think: when am I going to have to say something about this?
Because I have a feeling there's going to be a when - and I am not so frail I'm likely to sit mute very long.
I'm not so dainty I can't survive inappropriateness without my calm perfectly intact. The point is that: I don't *have* to survive it, and my tolerating it does no favors to those more dainty than I.
Just because I am made of stern stuff doesn't mean I can't be offended. It doesn't require raving lunacy for someone to be out of line.
Then again ... sometimes, even small moments are ravingly lunatic, at that.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Plus, he's pretty attractive, for the sort (like me) who dig good looking nerdy guys. (Sheldon - seriously - call me. Or Jim Parsons; I'm not too picky.) Amazing, actually, how wildly popular those've become.
It's hard for a performer to carry a movie - to this day, I never have made it through "Castaway" beginning to end - but I've always liked Rockwell, and not just because of his Zaphod or even his turn in Iron Man 2, though he was a gas in those. Have you ever seen "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind?" Do. And see this, too.
It does the sixties-seventies vision of the future dead-on, right down to Sam's haircut. It incorporates visuals right out of those paintings we used to gaze at for ages. It says hi to "Alien", to "2001", but it doesn't quite pay homage. It's neither bogged down in tribute nor distracted by sarcam. It's not done in irony, though it's capable of flirtily winking.
Seriously. Spacey. Have to love it.
I didn't even wait to watch the DVD extras, I just hit buy it now on my new copy.
Great little space movie. And not a bad human one either.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
So far, so good.
Off to go finish watching.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Today is Saturday, house cleaning day, and hopefully going out night. I wanted to have a fun Saturday night last weekend, but was a bit depressed - more a physical sort of thing, more just the opposite of "elevated" than anything one might ascribe to Marvin the Paranoid Android. So I just didn't go, even though it was a nice night, and I haven't gotten out in a good while.
Today, I'm not feeling so subdued, so I see gettin'-out in my near future. Good.
Soundtrack to housecleaning: "Dune", my new DVD. Big brother, now this is a movie you'll have to share with your sarcasm-training class some time, don't you think? Heh. Almost up there with "Planet of the Apes", AND it includes the wonderful enunciatory powers of so many egregiously wonderful actors.
Yes, I said this was my new DVD. I may be a geek, but here's how bad a case I have: my copy has been, for some years now, on VHS. Now that is a very special stripe of nerd cred. I know many nerds enact it by being the first with editions of certain entertainments (and I know DVD is hardly state of the art, too). But I'm a LUDDITE nerd, kids.
Anyway. Wow, what a movie. I marvel at it every time. Let it be understood, this is not precisely a statement of admiration ...
Off to clean. Later, taters.
Monday, October 18, 2010
So this year - time to do something as extravagantly dorky as that once again. And I ended with: GlamaZombie. Or Glamazombie. Or Glama-zombie. Seems I need it capitalized, but spell it as you wish. The fun's in the outfitting, not in the semantics (next year: grammar-zombie ... ??).
I found a grey chiffon dress online for about forty bucks, which will lend nicely to a ghostly look - and a white wig I've already started to distress. I found a suitable body paint in a wonderful pearly white, and have been strategizing some monochromatic gore (grey bruising, perhaps, and pitch black blood here or there). Add to this a bit of tattering, and a ludicrously over-the-top set of jewelry, and keep the gashes "Hollywood" (the inevitable pretty little cut just at the top of the cheekbone, maybe a dribble of lip-glossy blood beside the mouth/nose) and my joke is to be the prettiest corpse I can be.
Speaking of nummy braiiiinnnnnss ...
I love Hallowe'en. This must be the reason I never had kids. They might distract from my own plans for the holiday.
He is the best friend I have.
That is not a statement of the slighest sadness, nor disappointment.
Talking about our weekends, it transpired that we both spent them a little bit down, as did his entire family, and several people I know of down here as well.
"It was the ennuikend."
Juicy, yummy, delicious brainmeats. Plus: Teh Funnay!
X is kinda awesome. Nummity, nummity bwwwaiiiiiiiinnnnnsss ...
Yet, apparently, it's incumbent upon employers to deal with what their workers prefer to do ON company equipment, ON company TIME. This absolutely floors me.
I am a born and true underachiever. I really am. If I had my druthers, I would nap every single day, and not have to work for a living. If I had my d*mned druthers, frankly I would be a waste of skin. In many ways, it's lucky I was born at such a time as to get vomited onto my first serious job market in a major recession - because I had to learn how to be a decent employee.
It's like this, you halfwits: People WANT TO WORK. If you are lucky enough to be DOING that, consider seriously the option of doing so ethically - of, you know. DOING SO.
It amazes me how incessantly, now, I am hearing stories about people who seem perfectly happy to abuse their *living*. And did I mention? I am lazy, people. I do not like that I have to work for a living. That is why they *pay* people to come in and do it. But, dang. The older I get, the more I feel like some sort of meritorious service award winner, because I just can't get over how happy people are to act like jobs aren't particularly worthwhile endeavors.
Promise you: those 200 people, working on their resumes outside the door? They think it's worthwhile. You insult THEM, perhaps more than you insult your very own employers, by wasting work hours.
The thing that really bugs out my eyes about the level of "entitlement" to play on social networks comes around page 6, where the CORPORATE side of the equation is discussed. The bit about how easy users make it for the marketing professionals happily gobbling up their data to get their personal information.
The other big advantage, says Rosetta Stone senior vice president Jay Topper, is how much data companies can glean from sites like Facebook -- for absolutely free.
"Companies spend so much money trying to get information from their customers, while places like Facebook are essentially a free 24/7 focus group where every day thousands of people are providing you with a constant flow of information," he says. "It's mind-boggling how much you could mine from this."
In what universe is this a desirable state, no MATTER the supposed return on the venture ... ? And what actually is the return? Seriously.
I have belonged to FB. Even apart from the incredibly creepy and horrifying reality of this aspect, I quit it because ... seriously, there is no discernible content. I don't GET it, and that's not because I'm a frowzy weirdo fuddy duddy. It's because the people I want to have relationships with, I want to have RELATIONSHIPS with. It's just not possible to do that on an electronic wall. All I ever got out of FB was advertising, exhortations to join groups I was not interested in, to sign things, to give to things, to do things, which - as an old weirdo - resemble friendship about as much as an advertisement resembles entertainment.
Never mind the fact that some of the people I've lost touch with in this life, it took me literally years to do that with. Why would I wish to invite them all back to be "friends" (who can then ping me with pointless links, animated livestock I don't understand the point of, or expect me to bask in their importance)? Why should I expect that of the people around ME, for that matter?
But I have gotten off my point.
That happens, when I am as thoroughly creeped out by human behavior as I am by both sides of the satanic bargain people seem to love to make with their personal lives. Yeep.
My point was that doing all this stuff at WORK - apart from the sheer, exuberant selfishness and stupidity of it - is dangerous indulgence. And not strictly becuase of the way it compromises one personally. Because it compromises your bread and butter. The security of computer equipment YOU DON'T OWN. The security of the entity which PAYS YOUR BILLS by employing you. The security of information - personal and professional. You name it, it's poor thinking to go assuming hitting a mirror site is harmless just this once. It's poor thinking, frankly, to put this sort of playing above your d*mned job.
When you accept a job, you accept a certain contract. Are we all so inured to maintaining an attention span, that we can't concentrate even on our own livelihoods for eight lousy hours in a day? Seriously? Is it THAT bad, is it THAT HARD - to discipline ourselves into such simple behavior? Is the next comment on your own last comment actually even that interesting ...
Good grief, if nothing else, leaving that stuff alone for a sec gives it time for all the other slackers to manage to accumulate something for you to actually read, if you aren't constantly checking for new updates.
I was only unemployed for three months, and I THANK MY LUCKY STARS I don't have all day, every day to waste on emptying my piffling brains online. I am so bleeding happy not to have time for that stuff. Even on my lunch hour, the reward for me is this funny hardbound thing made out of paper, called a *book*. I pull it out, I read it.
It doesn't put my company at risk.
Nor my job.
I signed up for this employment, assuming what it means is, I'm not going to be the transparent ween calling in sick every third Monday, or suddenly having family drama and car troubles conveniently timed to allow me to sleep in (or go out late the night before - *ahem*). I'm not going to take home all the paper I want to print my book (I don't have a printer in any case - that works - but one has a point to make, har-de-har). I'm not going to spend my time at the office texting, or talking on the phone, or shopping on eBay, or social networking. Good grief. I wouldn't have time, even if I wanted to do these things. Because MOST of us who still have the good fortune to be working are so stinkin' slammed, because there's still as much to do as when millions of our bretheren and sisteren were ALSO working, who aren't now.
I don't know - maybe that's the point. Maybe people who feel overworked, when so many are not employed at all, come to feel a sneaking entitlement - it's okay, just this once. They get so much out of me, they can give me my Facebook too. I've finished my spreadsheet, now I'm going to look at my wall. Or maybe the habit, the addiction, really IS as pathetically entrenched and automatic as I'm sitting here assuming, and people are just idiots.
Experience lends, a bit, to that last possibility. Yeah, it's probably a mix.
But people really are kind of idiots. Just look at the emails they're still forwarding, even after all these years.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Adriana came to the Conference two years ago, and she was lovely and funny and excellent and enthusiastic. More than once, she fulsomely exhorted attendees to reach out to her when we finished our respective works, whatever they might be - or in whatever form or genre. Thoroughly generous, and enthusiastic enough: I believed her.
So tonight I hit AT's website, and wrote to thank her for being so wonderful - for giving those of us still aspiring a dose of her potent and heady encouragement. I wrote to her so I could write something completely unlike a sweated-over, stakes-are-everything, oh-no-did-I-MISTYPE-A-WORD-OH-NO, query letter. She offered - and I figure the worst outcome of such an entre' is that it could be deleted by a site administrator. So it goeth.
I never feared to network when I was unemployed.
Well, fabulous day job or not, in a way - as an author - I'm unemployed. And networking.
Plus, it's just a pleasure to reach out to people. I've found, from that Conference: it has rewards much deeper than getting oneself agented.
I mean, oh sure - as E points out, from the perspective of someone who knows MY interests and oddnesses, it does make sense. But looking at it from the king's standpoint ... who the heck am I to go around presuming to recount the life of the first king of France ... ? Seriously. And yet, here I am, the American weirdo - all up in bed with an ancient barbarian. He and I did something, we made something - I don't think there is any sort of direct line, but I do think that if we have souls, his is not unaware of my activities in his relation. I think, if he hasn't CHOSEN me: he hasn't objected. And I'm mystified I have gotten away with what I have.
It's impossible to write about my relationship to this character without skewing all Frowsy Nutbar Middle-School Art Teacher (not that there is a dadgum thing wrong with middle school art teachers, whom frankly I should be so lucky as to resemble - particularly Miss H, who was in fact not frowsy, and a stone cold fox actually) ... But the fact is that I have always felt some manner of consent issue, since I'm touching HISTORY. Fiction, to be sure. But about actual people.
For the most part, I have felt myself nothing more than a framework, a doorway through which some sort of traffic has emanated - onto my 530-plus pages of manuscript. I know I put in a lot of work, and I remember some of the oldest parts of it. But the extent to which the product is unrecognizeable to me, even un-encompassable, I would probably do best, actually, not to disclose. It's amazing, and I marvel at it all the time. "I *did* that" is not an expression strictly of wonder, that I took on a project and completed it. It is wonder at the "that" itself, which seems well beyond me. It's almost confusion, not at the process, but at the simple fact of creation at all.
There is a definite remoteness between me and my character, and actual barriers - of many kinds - between me and the man my character means to speak for. Never mind time itself, and gender, experience, understanding, and intellect. I know some writers are a little in love, or even in lust, with their creations. This is not me. I know some writers long to know some "real" avatar (if such a phrase can even be invented) of their character. I would probably hate him, and vice versa. I think most of us write, and exorcise parts of ourselves within the pages - the people - we try to create. This may be possible, but what I would work out through the lips and acts of ... this person ... I cannot imagine. I've never even thought to try, and I'm one heck of a navel-inspector. ("I know, you're saying, 'Howie! Can't BE!' ... "). It is beyond me to understand my own relationship, my own bond, to my creation OR the real man behind it. I started off going, "neat, my middle name means 'famed warrior' - cool!" and ended up a novelist.
That is pretty amazing.
And I like that it is so.
I like not understanding, not even particularly wondering. It is the closest I can come to thinking of the thing I have experienced, and the thing I have done with that experience, the work that's come out of it, as being artistic. It's ineffable, inexplicable. I don't get it, I don't want to. I am simultaneously honored and proud to have been the instrument by which this novel came into being. Pretty humbled, and only occasionally coherent enough to be confused.
I sit here typing, seeing more of the screen than the peripheral image of my pale, big hands. I can see the veins reaching upward toward my wrists; like my father's hands. I can see the deft motion of my fingers, the speed of my typing. But I can never truly break down what it is traveling between my cramped and shadowy hypothalamus and this white, grey, orange, blue and black page, and on out into the world. I would be disappointed if it were knowable.
I made a book. I feel like I made it with consent of its character. It wasn't given, but what I took wasn't theft either. And I have honored the king.
Strange bedfellows, we.
I wonder how the offspring will do now.
"That is NOT a boyfriend."
Of course it's not.
Fortunately for me, I don't want one of those. I want to love X. And that is what I got.
If John and Abigail Adams could do long distance, why should I settle for less? Some souls are more important than their geographical proximity.
The complication ... I had a dinner invitation. Unfortunately, I was mistaken in the nature of this invitation. I'd thought, oh, everyone wants to go for a sandwich shop. Good. I can do that, come home, bat this thing out.
I am betting this sandwich place sells wine. Because (a) the time of our occasion is supposed to be 7:30, which speaks to me of a Friday Girls Night Out, more than a "let's get a sandwich"-y occasion. And (b) 7:30 also does NOT speak to me of a relatively short affair. Hmm.
On the one hand, I am probably a crappy neighbor and friend if I flake on the night out (though at this point I *still* haven't been able to speak with anyone directly about it ... so does phone-tag-invitation mitigate late-date-out-flaking ... ?).
On the other: seriously, I have been planning all week for tonight to be my deadline. And I'm kind of a weirdo of a writer. I actually hit my deadlines.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
We haven't had enough rainy days in the last few years to start getting snobby about them when they come - and even without a drought, it's only against the background of grey days the bright ones seem so dazzling. Rainy days are wonderful days - yeah, even when you have to go out in them.
The last time I heard precipitation, it was the dry echo of acorns falling from the big oak at the southern end of my side street. Nice enough sound.
But real rain has something going for it right now.
Wow is this terrifying.
And yet, given the timing we've got here, it's also ... gratifying ... wondrous ... exciting ... emotional ... mystifying ... and MISTY-fying. I can't even tell you how many times reading my own work, even in a hurry now, has brought me to *tears* these past several days. Yes, yes, it's all very hormonal of me. Yet the fact is, it is a powerful thing to do. And the feeling I've done something - made something pretty wonderful - is overwhelming on its own perfectly valid terms.
I wrote a BOOK, y'all.
I'm selling it.
I made the decision before I ever left work, tonight I won't try to compose my query. I've set myself the deadline of getting it sent tomorrow night - but today, with all it had going on, I knew wasn't a viable time to try more writing.
Well, correction to that - it's not the time to go with a first draft my paltry brain won't be capable of reading objectively. Even with a strong query already, this email is going to have to be particular; so I won't just mash the document attachment onto what I have boilerplated.
(Even if that HAS been edited umpteen ways to Sunday, and for every agent I have contacted since February!)
Today is a day of rest, if only writing rest. I'm too smart a writer not to know SOME work is best just left undone for a minute. The *best* work is what I am after.
So time to go sit in my beautiful haven of a living room, with the great Lolly, for just a little while.
Then puttering, bath time, and finally sleep.
A good day.
I mean: tomorrow.
I'd actually been surprised in recent weeks, how little I have turned out to be doing for her. As it happens, it seems, she was actually holding back. If she does stop doing that now, I think it'll be all to the good - both for me, embedding me a bit better in everyone's days, so I will have a fuller view of my group - and of course one hopes, for her obviously.
The least shy of my people, who has been asking me for my time since day one, has turned out I think to be an important relationship. If I can cultivate more relationships, it can't be bad for any of us, and frankly I like my people and find myself wanting to encourage myself to know them more, and like them more in the bargain. "Least Shy" (let's call her Shy, because it's hilarious - and I simply can't go with "Least" for a nickname for this one) and I have been working on our ESP. She and I actually do seem to have a similar way of looking at and approaching things, and one of the things we have shared most has been a motivation to simplify, streamline - increase efficiency.
My own efficiency is getting somewhere, too. Even with computers being the stupid students that they are, my baseline skills are in place for the job now - not merely those I brought with me, of course, but the peculiar ins and outs of THIS role, this employer. I've got many of the relationships which, G-d willing, will serve me for years to come (I keep telling Shy: "You are going to have to pry this job from my cold, dead hands" ... and with my retirement accounts looking like they do, that isn't exaggeration either - ack), and have learned the systems necessary for the day-to-day. I'm fully delegated for those I need to support, now, too, which is huge. And, of course, still dork enough to be eager to do so.
The mix seems positive, and my own bent toward *making* that the case, even if only for my individual purposes, seems to be working well. The one person I might have encountered less than positively has decided I'm a good learner, and actually likes me - we laugh together, when we talk. And the situations I myself might not laugh about in certain circumstances, I have been able to plough through, and put in good perspective.
It's a job, and the contract I entered into in taking it, I'm more than living up to. I am committed to this place, and for that to work best I feel this need to be committed to my people. Case by case, as it happens - that seems pretty possible.
Good for me.
I got a lot done today, and have a lot yet to do tomorrow. Top of the list, as it should have been for all the rest of this short week: doing something about our shared document resources. I need to FIND the magician to show me how to create a database which can be linked into Excel - so if the Excel document goes bye-bye, the root information isn't lost as well.
And then I need to present a beautiful new (stably sourced) doc to my whole team.
In the meantime: I think some wonderful relaxation, and a good walk. Lolly hates the rain, but she does love her walkies!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
This is the agent who works with the one I met last year, my first request for a partial. This is the one I thanked for being so simple, smart, and instructive - and who said I should query her, even though she doesn't usually handle my genre. I was honored by her generosity.
But more than anything, I was genuinely impressed by her. The agents *always* seem so young when I see them, but they also always more than display their professional competence. It's not by accident they have the success they do, and while my reptilian slacker-brain gawps in wonder at someone being so accomplished in their twenties-or-so, I've learned to take it on faith that most of the agents and editors I've met through JRW are serious, and are *taken* seriously.
Okay, YOUNG. Shut up, Di.
The point is that over the years I've seen enough agents to have some sort of educated idea of what a good one has to offer, and to also have some ideas about what "good" means for me specifically. Some agents are hands-off, but some are editors - I think I would do best with the latter brand. I'm not dainty about my precious work, and I have no compunction to kill off my babies. I think, too, there's a lot to be said for surgical amputations. My work is 168,000 words. For histfic, this might pass, but it's a chunk to try to sell, no matter the genre, in this publishing day and age. If I find an agent, I won't cry if he or she forces it down to size. My *instinct* is that it is the size it needs to be.
But I'm not the professional agent. And I know I need one, if my product is to be sold.
M. B., this particular agent, was not merely personally appealing, but professionally impressive. She's the sort of agent who knows how to say things very well indeed - and I *have* seen a few, over the years, who weren't good at that, some very poor in fact. She seemed energetic, enthusiastic, friendly, and sincere, and she really was enough to make you wish she handled your genre. When I told her I was grateful for her contributions, she seemed truly to take it to heart that she'd made a difference - and I know for a fact I was in the majority, appreciating her presence. She makes me want to write right to her particular catalogue, just to work with her, you know?
But of course, that would take time ... and I am old already. Heh.
The effect of meeting one of these people is that they inspire you doubly - and you also sort of eat your heart out a bit, too. When you meet one of the good ones, it's both reassuring, and depressing, because you think, "Oh, will I ever find the one who's THIS good ... ?"
I think there are a lot out there. I know I won't just grab for dear life at the first offer I get, if it is not from the "right" person.
But it's like the job hunt: while it's going on - during the period when you can't know what your outcome will be - you just erode, eating your heart out. "When will I ever get just the right job?" "When will I ever meet just the right person to love?"
"When will I ever get the right agent - and SELL this thing!?"
Life's little list of questions.
Kind of a pain in the behind.
Kind of invigorating.
Anyway, so S. C. and I are catching up a little, when we see a Conference virgin, standing nearby. She looks nice, we pull her in, we're all chatting and having fun, and the new girl and I end up really hitting it off. I think I can safely name her, as we'll be working together on the SBC, so Kristy and I click pretty well. Then the two of *us* click with KristI, and the three of us end up gravitating together with Leila, and Leila introduces us all to Kim, and so it goes ...
By the end of the weekend, we're all middle-school-girl-ing it and having a group hug because we're all affectionate and excited and have had a grand time, not least with each other, and also we're planning our attempts at world domination.
Erm. At SHARING OUR WORK, that is ...
See also: The SBC.
Those who know me know that I am so not a joiner, so not a clique-former (and in our group, I'd say NONE of us is "that" woman). But when you CLICK, you click, and even I know that in writing, as in all things, it is good to push your comfort zone. And to work with others. I let Kristy read the opening scene of Novel #2, which for me is akin to sitting naked in public for a while, and she was nothing but lovely about it. But I did it, and I think all of us will be doing more of this.
My past best readers have been, of all people, E and my Beloved Ex. They're an excellent audience, but I can see an advantage to having the SBC to work with. These women write a variety of differnet things, which has a lot going for it. If you can get your work read by someone who doesn't typically go for your genre, you can get a manner of good feedback impossible from those who, so to speak, live inside your bubble. Perhaps more to the point, these women are writers. They've learned some of the lessons agents have to teach, they have a command of the tools of the job - they have a motivation BEx and E do not.
Which is to say (much as I appreciate them), they didn't entirely finish their readings. Heh.
So I have finally gotten myself in a writing group. I've been reluctant for years, but I think this gang is probably as comfortable as any variety of us could be.
As to the club ... we're working out our ideas together, but I'll say this. I think, regardless of the name, sarcasm isn't going to end up being our raison d'etre. I think the idea to celebrate one another is going to be lovely. I think we've got some smart women, willing to listen - and (eep!) willing to share, which can be so hard to let yourself do. And I think I am going to be good and go at this in good faith.
Eep some more!
Saturday, October 9, 2010
I met with an agent who doesn't do histfic, but who seemed to take to my ideas. I got my first request for a full manuscript.
Kids, this: is big. I might even go so far as to say, it is Major. And them as knows, know I don't use THAT joke lightly.
I also spoke with an agent from the same agency, actually, as she who, in my meeting last year, gave me my first request for a partial. I told her, of all the conferences I've attended, she had some of the clearest, simplest, best, and most insightful words of advice I have heard. And the JRW Conference gets GREAT people - so this is saying a very great deal of this agent. I told her she was so good it made me sorry she doesn't do historical fiction, and about my experience with her colleague, and she said I should query her anyway.
So that was pretty great as well.
Did I mention that I had my first request for a full?
From an agent who usually doesn't DO histfic? Did I mention that? Because if I am that good at selling the concept - and if the concept itself is good enough for TWO agents who don't do histfic to open their doors to me - my instincts about this work, and my confidence in its positive fate, are supremely well gratified in this.
With the cast available at this Conference, I expected there was no chance of interest - never mind fruitful meetings, nor opportunities to actually share my work itself. So this result is extraordinary.
Let this be understood, my fella babies. The thing is, these introductions STILL aren't likely to turn into offers of representation. The endpoint here isn't an expectation of getting agented. The endpoint here is just what *today* had to offer. That my work does open doors. That it is not so obscure, not so inacessible, that nobody will even listen, nobody will try it.
TODAY is the endpoint of today, and it is genuinely incredible in itself. I am canny and professional enough to present myself in such a way as to invite - well, invitations. My personal impression doesn't elicit closed doors. And the work I have to offer isn't SO out of the main that it alienates, even by virtue of its genre, which definitely *can* close doors for an author. I write in a form that makes some in publishing skittish. Histfic is sometimes as ghettoized as fantasy and sci fi sometimes have been. So being able to present it as something attractive to a pretty wide audience is important - being able to offer the "why" for an agent, "why someone would read this."
I know why, and can say so - and I am also respectful, engaging, and clearly committed.
These things matter. My writing friends (and you know I know who you are): be able to demonstrate them.
Putting words down well is not entirely enough. This is a JOB. You can't skip over the parts you don't like as much, in the name of only wooing your creative muse because you love her Just So Very Much. Make yourself a product almost as good as your work is. Because, in the end, you've got to sell 'em both.