Thursday, September 30, 2010
Registration time this year came right in my period of unemployment. I had finished the novel, was (much more actively) querying, and was excited for this event, my annual fire-starter, fun time, and opportunity. Last year, I got a request for a partial out of my agent meeting, and this year an agent from the agency which handles Sharon Kay Penman was on the list.
I queried this particular woman, with mention of SKP and another histfic writer on their roster, and noted the upcoming Conference, where I'd like to meet her. She couldn't have been nicer when she told me SKP was in fact one of the owner's first clients ever, and the other one had been her ASSISTANT for eight years - and that, actually, other than those two, they really don't do histfic. But please say hi at the Conference.
Agh, but - *sigh*
I hike up my boots and look at the Conference list, and find that the EDITOR appearing as well lists historical fiction first in her area of expertise, go "WHEEEEEE" and sign up for her. You know, really, I said to myself, this is better than an agent - because with an agent, the conversation is black or white (give me a partial, or flat rejection), whereas maybe an editor will say, "Okay have you queried X, Y, or Z yet?" or "you know, for your kind of non-romance historical writing, being a woman, I know an agent who could sell you just right."
I mean, sure, that's the realm of fantasy in some ways. But my writing is good, my story has such a hook, and frankly I am, as a property myself, not without some interesting aspects. And, again, an editor might have a wider scope to offer, if she were interested enough to do so. An agent - even if interested, the only option at a Con is "maybe".
Maybe was wildly exciting last year. But I think it is off the table now. As is anything else.
So when the editor canceled, I have to say, I was thinking, "well of course." So now I have a Conference to go to with nobody who handles my genre. In some ways, this is freeing. But it's a little disappointing.
The agent I have chosen to meet with now, I would say almost certainly has no interest in histfic. Her house is the only one of those entities appearing which even MENTIONS histfic at all - so the outside chance here is that someone else at that venue might be a referral. I can't say my hopes are high for this, but it is still another pitch opportunity, and I prefer that to the querying process. Living eyes - even if they are not really looking to see what I'm showing - is STILL more fulfilling than blindly wondering, "Do I look like a complete moron here?"
I am bummed out.
But I'm also still excited.
And not because, accidentally, it turns out next weekend will be a four-day-er. (Hey, thanks, Columbus!)
The people both on my team and in my world, at work, are generally fairly amazing. But ALL of us, I think, find holdups and backtracks a significant part of every day.
I'm not musing about this in annoyance. It just almost ... impresses me, if you get the sense of the term. I'm interested how much of a modern workday consists of reworks.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I had no idea he'd ever done that. At least not in the eighties!
The PBS version from 1980 was what I thought I had put on my Netflix qeue; imagine my surprise when I put it in the player and found Lukas Haas, Jimmy Caan, and Lisa Bonet. Huh.
So now the 1980 version is on the qeue next, and popped up to the top of the list. I have suspicions it is the better show.
LeGuin sits deep in my heart, most thanks to her novel, "The Left Hand of Darkness", which, in addition to being a fantastic story, happens to be an extremely well-written one too. LeGuin has a deftness I can't claim for myself (Left Hand is a couple-day read, fast-moving and intensely engaging ... my own first novel clocks in at 530 pages, with an extensive author's note to boot), but what she does in the space she uses is potent, thorough, exciting, fascinating. I'm not sure there is a better world-builder out there. Certainly there are few storytellers of her rank.
My ancient, much-thumbed "Darkness" is no longer in my hands; it made a deeply-felt gift in recent years. It's time I refreshed my library for this particular author. She is amazing. And "Birthday of the World" has been on my Wish List for too long without my purchasing it.
Friday, September 24, 2010
So I asked, and asked, and finally got the straight answer: there is no training.
Now, the system in which these things are done is fairly simple. I'm not trying to turn a molehill into a mountain. But even the simplest things, I have learned, aren't always *intuitive* - and it's always best to check and to learn.
I may be paranoid. I may be persnickety. But when I am responsible for other people's money - and I know I will be HELD responsible -I am extremely conscientious and careful. If I am wary of the way billing is handled for my group, I am doubly cautious of the way my coworkers' money runs through my keyboard.
So there is no training.
I accept that this (I pray) means that the simplicity of the system IS simplicity, and that I am not going to go completely wrong here. But I accept this with a certain frustration, that my honest inquiries have met with apparent distaste.
Give me enough of your distaste, and I *will* develop some of my own - for you.
So it was a pretty rotten morning.
However, I am a remarkable woman. And I know MOST of the people I work with are under the impression I'm pretty great so far - and might even stand to improve and be just about worthwhile.
This sort of thing goes a long way with me.
And so I cleared out my invoicing inbox to the last solitary message.
And so I accomplished quite a few fairly detailed technical build requests for one coworker.
And so I made insane progress on a weekly housekeeping nightmare which recurs with alarming regularity - and rebuilt a document three times, in the process.
I am good like that.
And so I completed one piece of travel, and when the other one - more immediate - looked like it was unbookable, I spoke with a trusted senior team member, who said (a) don't book it and (b) don't call your boss on his vacation about it either. Good advice, both counts. I took both A and B.
I refuse to sink.
Days like this make me madder than the days I hadn't done my homework and would decide to holler at mom for a while. I *hate* days like this - or at least stuff like that morning incident brought on. I hate when work stymies, then adds insult to injury by way of pretty much actual INSULT, and gets me mad.
I resent being made to get mad.
And I find that - particularly at work! - the best thing to do with anger is to prove the buggers wrong. I don't know how to do my job?
WATCH ME DO IT, nimrods. Watch me do it right.
I had something to prove today.
By the end of the day ... I had very little left outstanding.
Amazing what you can accomplish when you're offended.
It's not my idea of a good motivational tool, mind you.
But to RESPOND to frustration with productivity?
Positively a transformative experience.
So there, you stupid MORNING. That'll larn ya.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
You know I love your product. You know I enjoy what a bat-splat crazy monstrosity you are.
Still not a word, no matter HOW many times you, Nigel, and that terrifying stylist from Sex and the City say it.
Also, whoever the stylist was who dressed the girls in black Michael's craft store feathers from the cheapest bin in the back, and leftover Sandy's Makeover pants from Grease? Needs to be fired, for foisting that lame suggestion of "fallen angel" on my eyeballs. The girls managed to make Orange Jay look good.
And Orange Jay? Was wearing his wings upside down.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Don't love it. But I could figure that out.
What I can't quite get my head around is how a glass of milk came to be sitting there.
And then I have to ask myself - why does THAT seem so bizarre?
Mysteries of life. At least the cup print is washed off.
Or - as is more likely - not really worry about the trunk's state of un-vacuum-ification. There's always that.
If I'm to squire my mom around town for her b-day, I needs must have a cleaner vehicle than I have now. Plus which, I just want a cleaner vehicle than I have now - and I am a bit sore for all the bending and stuff. If I'm a horrible, lazy person who doesn't wash my own dang car - I'm good for putting a few bucks in the local economy, right ... ?
At least it's on the way back from the gardening gloves store. So it's not like I'm burning gas just for the job.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
I'm independent, and proud of that fact.
But that fact leaves me vulnerable. Ultimately - utterly - vulnerable.
There will be noone to care for me. There will be nothing but my own resources. I have done well. I'm not convinced it will be well ... enough.
For fifteen years or so I have sufficed on myself.
The older I get, the more that frightens me.
I'm not angry at G-d because I can't have my toy. Not anymore.
I'm scared of death.
Or worse. The road to it.
This puts it just right - and perfectly describes a syndrome I attach to enormous swaths of twentieth century writing, and filmmaking even beyond that period:
Yeap. Tha's it.
Joe's sexuality ... is ... what makes Young Adam feel most dated. Its view of male narcissism, as expressed through erotic need, is not only uncritical but also pretentious. The film follows the novel (and many others like it) in assuming, rather than proving, that its hero's selfishness and failure offer clues to the human condition.
A. O. Scott, NY Times
Tried on the dress I bought to use for Hallowe'en. Like it; could stand to lose a hair for it to really fit a bit better. But I've lost a hair since buying it, so hope's not dead.
Then I started playing with the wig.
Yes, a month and a half before the night - I am distressing the wig I'll use in my costume.
Some might say I could spend my brief weekends more constructively.
Apart from knowing I need to do more querying - I'd argue I'm spending my time just about right.
Grandma has let the kids "paint" the bricks on the front stoop with colored chalk. It's under the little roof over the stoop, so it doesn't wash away.
Probably the best decoration in the whole neighborhood.
And it never goes away with the seasons.
When we were kids, my brother was allowed to dig holes and create forts and earthworks. We had a worn spot next to the garden, where the basketball hoop was. We had a handled hook we used to sling our little bodies down the steel cable mom used for a clothes line; they call this ziplining now, charge lots for it at beautiful resort locations.
Our yard was a yard for play, for me and my brother - and our friends. Mom said she would have a pretty yard when we got older.
She does, now.
And we had fun.
Vanity and honesty can be compatible. This week, for they many-th time, E and I had a debate about my attributes, and as he often does he took my candour about what I really am as being in a way "down" on myself. Thing is, in me, I think vanity is a mechanical action more than an innate state of being. I am far too fascinated with my person, both internally and externally, and have little other life in the house to distract me from it. If I had a partner, or if I had children, there would perhaps be less time to lavish on considering my appearances, my abilities, blah blah whatever. This is both the result of choices and circumstances.
Growing up I was not raised on my cuteness. As far as I am aware, I wasn't exceptionally adorable nor talented, but I was extraordinarily well LOVED, and that is most important. I was safe, and that's worth everything.
So I spent no time considering my assets until I was much older. This is what I mean by my conceitedness being mechanical, rather than some inborn manifestation of selfishness.
I *am* terribly selfish, but mechanics attempt to compensate for that too.
Anyway, so E thinks I'm pretty great, and when I correct that with clinical observations to specific contraries, he finds me baffling and can't argue with me. I think I am a very, very fortunate person, but I take NO credit for that. I know my venalities, and I know that most of what people think of in me as varying forms of niceness - and even generosity - are usually attributable to those mechanics of compensation.
I do care for people, I care very much. But believing in THEIR estimations of me is worse than my stupid obsession with how nice my hair is or is not looking. The people around me think I am rather a lovely person, and I do try to be - but I have to *try* to be. It's nothing I actually am, and so I can't take credit for what is likeable about me. Just keep trying.
There are, to be sure, areas in which my arrogance knows no bounds. I am fairly smart, and I do take a little bit of the honor for that. My folks had to beat it into me - but it got in. And I like to acknowledge I am indeed above-average in certain mental pursuits.
I'm also a heck of a storyteller and writer.
Occasionally, I can be really funny. I love this, and get more out of sharing it (and get better at it) the older I get. Making someone I respect *laugh* ... ? Holy smokes, that is up there with making my dog wag her tail. It hardly getst better.
The problem regarding my interest in my looks is of far less interest to me than these things. It interests me, which makes for a funny sort of cartoon circle. I love to play with my face and clothes, too. Vanity, vanity.
And so I say to E, whatever my appeal is, it's applied artificially. I can (and, more often than not, DO) leave my appeal in a box, and while what's left isn't bad in any way, it proves that whatever charisma I have is just self-decoration. And that's not strictly a visual case. Whatever about me ANYone might like, is generated by effort and artifice.
At bottom, I am a lump of fortunate clay. That fortune was given me, it's nothing I earned nor engendered.
I'm the reflection of what has been given me. I'm intrigued by what this results in. I guess that is the nature of my conceitedness. How it all adds up - the alchemy - to turn a little brown-haired kid into anything that can be loved by such amazing people.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Twenty-seven years I've been driving. Never had this happen before (not thrown pebbles - those happen - but the ding). Now, twice in under a year and a half.
Hondas must have the daintiest windshields ever. How irritating.
The b*tch who made it onto the news?
The one who said, "We can't use the lake the way we'd like to. Our boat has been landlocked."
This is the sort of ignornant, asinine, selfish, unbelivably shortsighted BS that just leaves me sputtering. I wondered whether they had edited out the part where she complained about how her lawn is looking.
Because, really - never mind the fact that WATER IS LIFE and we need some for actual reasons. No, what's really dismaying about a drought is not being able to show off one's half-a-million-or-more dollar estate and PLAY.
Good m*th*r****ing grief, woman.
It's enough to get me close to breaking my "this blog needs to be suitable for reading by my nieces" rule.
With a sense of entitlement that outsized ... anyone care to lay odds with me on whether this well-to-do middle aged white woman is republican? Or a Tea Partier??
I'm betting rather a lot on it.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The bumper sticker: GUNS SAVE LIVES.
The license plate: DE5TROY.
Good lord, dude.
Spotted one minute later? The white car with the ichthys on one side of the plate and the BREW THROUGH sticker on the other. With the School of Leadership Studies sticker bringing up the bottom.
It is to sigh.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Oh WOW is this offensive. I listen to Pandora at work, because Slacker crashes the internet sometimes. This morning, I hit "skip" on a song, and the dynamic ad generator comes up with *this*: A MIDOL AD. "You just skipped a song" ... insert ad for Midol here ...
So skipping a song on an internet radio station ... means a woman must be cranky and PMS'ing????
Okay, NOW I am cranky. Yes. Thank you.
The truth is, it actually takes a significant backhanding to offend the likes of me. I don't have the spare energy to waste on it, basically. Offense is largely alien to my lifestyle.
But man, if that didn't take the biscuit and run.
Because Pandora is run on extraordinarily poor algorithms you CANNOT TURN OFF (see also: Slacker is better), I skipped songs multiple times the morning I first saw this egregious offenstrosity - and it cropped back up every single time.
And it is pink.
Because I am a woman, and the only way I will understand that this ad is geared toward me is if they color the d*mned thing pink.
Top all this with the fact that the 'dora limits free listening hours to forty per month, and I sure wish my much better Slacker station (which isn't offensive nor riddled with ads, and which allows me to turn OFF their "guessing what you *might* like" algorithms) would play on my work laptop.
Pandora is the allowable station, though, per the management. Even if Slacker were, it just goes boom. *Sigh*
So here we are at the 13th and I have to tune back in on OCTOBER 1 because I've seen one too many Midol commercials.
Man I really could use a Pamprin.
This last has layered meanings - my Love, which is X. My love, which is my heart. My love, which is what lies between us.
For a long time, I begged, bless my love with hope. Because I miss him. Because he was hopeless. Because I seem to be built on a core of aspiration, with my heart. It wasn't all that long ago I finally asked, bless my love with fulfillment.
Finally, I have come to ask - only - bless my love. For X, for all those I am so fortunate bless ME with their compassion.
Bless my Love. Because it is not for me to dictate how - or what blessing even *is*.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
All righty then.
I'm watching this at ten or so at night, because heck if there is anything worth giving broadcast time to. And I've had pasta and broccoli for dinner, and it was good, so I go back for the last bite or so of leftovers, and I get a piece of broccoli stuck on my tooth.
Not *between* my teeth, but on the very tip-end of one of my incisors. This is pretty weird, considering broccoli isn't your typical sticky food.
It's the second time something's gotten stuck there, too, in the past several days.
Okay, so here is the thing. Much of the dental assets I have on view are bonding - not actual biological teeth. I had a bike wreck when I was ten. Since then, four times now, every ten years or so, I have gotten a new set of teeth.
My incisors, the pride of my whole historical collection, are the first set I've had of nice pointy canines, since the seventies. I love my incisors, and not because I'm a big old vampire nit. Just because I *have* some!
So something sticking on the tip of one of my canines tells me this: my three-year-old tootscape is chipping. I found a nick on the right hand side not long ago, and this is the left.
The great thing here is, in both my COBRA elections and in my new elections at the current employer: I skipped dental coverage, to wait for the first of the year.
For now, the tooth is intact, and the right hand side I'm not worried about. If one goes, I may have to do something about the other one, rather than getting the first one fixed right away.
What I am saying leads me to the REAL meat of my geekiness matter. For those with dental squeamishness - STOP READING RIGHT NOW.
Because here is what I had to do.
I had to file off the rough spot.
Now, for me, this is not an impressive matter. I've had to do it before. I've had my front teeth replaced four times in thirty years. I once had this done without novocaine, kids. A pumice file to the nonliving tip of one incisor is nothing to me. But a matter of practicality.
But here is the thing. I'm a dang Ferengi, here.
THAT. Even for me. Is definitely too much.
Yep. "Health and beauty" is a tag for a post about the Ferengi and me filing my teeth.
Man life is weird stuff.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
D*mn skippy you hit HER up.
If you can't mention the catalogue - mention the bio, and how your work relates *there*.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
My Conference is in less than a month now; amazing and difficult to believe.
And today would have been dad's seventy-third birthday.
I haven't made a German chocolate cake in eight years, which is strange to contemplate.
Stranger still is that, now that I think about it, eight years ago at his birthday I was dating the last guy I ever *did* date, before E. He didn't last terribly long - though longer than he "should" have - and I met E less than a month after we broke up. Strange and yet not so, that *that* was so long ago.
I really like German chocolate cake. But THIS weekend, I'm trying to LOSE weight. That stress/unemployment poundage has been proving responsive, but not to the degree I would prefer, and getting it just-gone has been a frustratingly elusive goal. I don't want to ditch the extra only to welcome it back. I want it gone, like it was for the year and a half I held it (and even ten more of its companion pounds) off so successfully.
The weekend has been good. The time of year my father loved, as a teacher, and the weather he reveled in, as a man. "Glorious" he would have called these past few days, and he'd have been so right. The sort of days it is literally good to be alive.
Work doesn't beckon tomorrow, so I get to do the floors at my leisure, along with getting a haircut ... and, after that, whatever I choose to do. I'm thinking Virginia Museum of Fine Arts - I haven't seen its renovations and expansions, and I love that place - and perhaps some Roma for dinner. Their marinara is low guilt, and incredibly satisfying.
Then again, their pizza is slammin' too. Surely spinach and feta isn't TOO bad to indulge a little ... ?
I don't pretend my contribution to content was high, but my part in the way we put it forward wasn't insubstantial. So this is pretty pleasant to hear.
Hello to Canada, Egypt, Italy, Ireland, Iran, China, Russia, Denmark, and The Netherlands as well.
So, yeah. World-wide, the web is indeed. Neat.