Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Refuse to Go Out Quietly

In like a lion, out like a tyrannosaurs rex with a toothache. That’s how I plan to get the hell out of Massachusetts.

I just can’t pretend to be a positive, roses and rainbows shooting out of my ass kind of person all the time. Sometimes I need to be pissed off. Sometimes I need to cry, vent, scream, consider leaving everything and everyone in the middle of the night and never looking back. Yes that includes Matt. Yes that includes myself.

This winter has got me spazzing out. I mean more so than any other winter before it. The dark parts of my brain, the murky sludge that I usually only reserve for my incidents of road rage, are spilling over the edge of the infinity pool and seeping into the crevices of my generally happy personality.

And fuck it. You know why? Because I can’t always be fucking happy. I can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t always be this upbeat, positive clone of the self help cookie cutter nation. And I don’t need you to tell me to be, I don’t need a fucking cheerleader. I need to scream, to vent, to curse as much as I like, to be angry and tell anyone saying things like ‘I love love!’ to just fuck right off.

My roses and rainbows became covered in ice, wilted and snapped off only to be plowed up with the snow into a big gray pile of muck onto the curbside. A place that is quickly diminishing in size as we speak.

I don’t expect to win the popular vote here, and frankly that’s of no consequence to me anymore. New readers might be highly offended but you know something, I’m not sorry. It’s not my fault you’re offended, this is my journal and I can say anything I like. If you can’t handle it then that’s that then. So be it. The people who are still around clearly get it, and me, and I could probably name them right now. But I won’t. I’ll let all of you decide for yourselves.

The thing is I admit to being multiple personality, bipolar, schitzo or whatever the fuck you want to call it. Sure I own a company and gee aren’t we always supposed to put our best foot forward on the internet so all our many customers (read: 2) will understand we’re the most awesome of awesomeness? Yeah. Okay. Whatever.

One of my two customers will probably offer to give me a high five after reading this for finally getting it the fuck off my chest so I’m not really too worried about it.

As far as the other one is concerned…guess time will tell on that. Oh well.

I snapped hardcore yesterday or the day before, I don’t really remember and I’m not going searching to find out. But ask Matt and he’ll tell you that he was probably even a little afraid of me. Well maybe not me specifically but rather what I might do to myself or others.

We have so much snow that I literally can’t see out the bottom of my living room window. (This is the only window that allows any sunlight to enter my apartment so it’s pretty vital it doesn’t get covered over. Oh yeah and its about 12 feet off the ground level, so that should tell you how much we really have.) Quitting smoking became a joke. We’re slated to be (without wind chill) at temperatures below zero (the coldest in years according to the weather people) on Tuesday. More snow is due to arrive (maybe another foot) on Wednesday. I’m still showering with my neighbors every fucking day. My bedroom is an ice box. Yada, yada, yada…

This morning was just the last straw.

This morning, our heat went out.

I just can’t fucking do this anymore. Sure the landlord was here in minutes and had a plumber out in no time. Sure my neighbors lent us a space heater. Sure I have fleece lined ski pants and wool socks.

But every cell of my being begs the question WHY? Why should I have to worry about this shit? Why should I have to own fleece lined ski pants? Why am I still living in this vast expanse of barrenness? It’s like a wasteland where wind blows and whips swirls of snow at nothing because there is nothing for it to hit but me. Its icy cold takes over.

And by that I’m referring to my own head.

I need to go. I need to go right now because if I can’t get out of this head place I am most certainly doomed. And no amount of journaling or talking to a therapist is going to change who I am or the things that irritate the hell out of me. Winter irritates the hell out of me. This fact hasn’t changed in 37.65 years and I don’t see it happening now just because everyone is trying to tell me to stay positive and that spring is around the corner.

Fuck that. I can’t do this anymore.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

If Nothing Else It Sure Is an Interesting Journey

So far, according to my account on, I’ve sent out 19 queries. Not a lot that’s true but my goal is to research and submit my pitch to at least 6 new agents a week. Since I started getting back into the swing of this whole thing again about three weeks ago I’ve almost kept that promise to myself; I think my number is somewhere around fourteen. Not bad but still not good enough.

In the world of publishing there are some truths that, no matter how many blogs or twitter feeds I’ve read, seem to hold true.

1. Agents really don’t like when you spell their name wrong. (Luckily I’ve never done this and its likely because I hate when my name gets misspelled -- two N’s, seriously, how hard is that?)
2. For every 100 queries sent (very approximately), one will want to publish you.
3. Agencies have all kinds of creative ways to tell an author to go pound sand.

Yesterday I received my fourth different type of communication from an agent. So far, I have received rejections in the form of a teeny slip of paper attached to my own original query, a handwritten note scrawled at the top of my original query, an email that had been sent months after my snail mail query (then it was printed out with a quick handwritten note and sent back in my SASE), and a postcard (the one pictured above, I just changed the info to protect the innocent but the wording is as I received it).

Not to mention all the eRejections but they aren’t as creative.

Oh yeah, but there was that one…that one agent so far who saw the same potential in my work that I see. The agency that requested the first two chapters. I don’t know if that will be my agent or agency, I probably won’t hear from them for another two months either way, but just the request alone leads me to believe I must be doing something right.

There is a lot of work involved in querying and so far I’ve only done about a quarter of what I will likely need to do. In my quest to find the perfect agent I’m starting small -- researching and submitting to those who require nothing more than the query letter in email. Next will be those who take a simple query via snail mail. After that I will need to start paying a little more for postage as the requests differ wildly from agent to agent.

Some want as much as a query, 10-20 page synopsis and the first three chapters. And that’s just to get a foot in the door! It isn’t that I don’t want to do it, in fact if the agent above who requested two chapters via email asks me to ship out my completed manuscript where do you think I’ll be within twenty minutes?

Well, barring weather of course.

Speaking of the weather, Boston is doing a pretty good job of reminding me of one of the reasons why I so desperately want to get out of here this year. Two storms of eighteen inches of snow in as many weeks, stuck in yesterday, and now another potential whopper on Friday. Yes, I am counting down the minutes until we leave for the Valley of the Sun!

The funny thing though is that I keep thinking, as long as I’m trapped inside I might as well make good use of that time. So this is the time I’m spending getting to know agencies and formatting my queries. Next month, however, I made myself a promise that no matter where I was in the query process for Ripple the Twine, I’d get back to my second manuscript re-writes.

Bet you all thought I forgot about my second NaNo win didn’t you? Yeah, well, there were days I really wanted to forget it, so I can appreciate that. But overall I think the bones are there for a really funny and well written story. It’s just that I need to completely re-write it to get there.

Well maybe not all of it, I might even keep the attack of the killer zombies scene but she definitely can’t be a blogger anymore and the whole love triangle thing needs to happen with a completely different guy. Oh and I really need to beef up her mother’s character but she can’t be the evil one, I need to make that a random co-worker. Who I will have to write in now. But she is still going to suffer from post traumatic stress amnesia. It’s kind of integral to the entire plot.

The plot that formed in my head the last week of November but never quite made it to the page.

About three weeks into NaNo I had the most brilliant idea for how I could give her a happy ending even though she had been hit by a bus, divorced from her high school sweetheart and sexually harassed online. Of course half of that had to change but keeping with the majority of her back story, etc. I couldn’t wait to write it!

In February.

After I left her in a cold dark place to ruminate over all her missteps for a while.

And by ‘her’ I of course mean me.

And by ‘missteps’ I of course mean all those plot bunnies.

If nothing else, this writing thing sure is a wild ride full of millions of dull and pathetic moments of boredom and repetition…and I am loving every single minute of it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Details Schmetails

When I woke up on 1/11/11 I became a non smoker. Again. Technically I guess you could say it happened on 1/10/11 seeing as though I flicked my last cigarette at about 11:30 that night but details schmetails.

This is the umpteenth time I’ve tried to quit, as anyone who has read this blog long enough knows, but I have a feeling this one might just stick because I’m really tired of gasping through my workouts. When we joined the P90X family last year Matt & I decided that upon completing our first twelve week round we were going to quit. So quit we did!

I tend to be a hypocrite in a whole bunch of areas of my life -- calling myself Green but turning the heat up any chance I can get, eating healthier yet still smoking -- so I guess this is the first step in trying to rectify that problem.

Okay, technically that isn’t entirely true. I first started to correct it by saying I wanted to write novels full time and then actually began the process of querying Agents to have my manuscript published. That is working out pretty good as I just had an agency request to read the first two chapters of the book based on just the query. I sent that along the other day and will wait the prescribed two-three months for a reply. It might be a request for more, it might not, but either way interest is being generated and I’m thrilled.

Thankfully they didn’t request the synopsis seeing as though I still haven’t had the mental capacity to turn 230 pages into 20. I guess sometimes I also work better under pressure so I’ll do it when I have to.

Maybe that’s not the best solution but it’s all I got right now so it’ll have to do.

Smoking has been a part of my life for all of my life in some capacity or another as most of my relatives on my dad’s side were smokers before I was even born and some still are now. I started at about age fourteen in a casual, social way but really became a smoker at eighteen. That was when I graduated high school and was no longer involved in sports.

I’m starting to see the connection to athleticism and inability to wheeze while in the midst of that athletic activity. Shocker, I know.

Plus that’s almost twenty years ago now. Scary thought that I’ve been poisoning myself for that long. With so many other changes afoot this one should be a no brainer. Something I don’t even have to think about because it just makes sense.

But that’s the very place I start to go mad -- my mind. The body is almost out of the physical withdrawal symptoms now and chewing the replacement gum has helped with that a lot but last night I was definitely in the bargaining phase in my head. ‘If I could only be that type of person who has a smoke just after dinner…’ But I can’t. So I won’t.

Matt is using the patch and so far he seems to be doing okay too. I think he’s been at it almost as long as me so I’m sure he’s going through a lot of the same internal stuff I am. We’re trying not to be cranky or take it out on each other. So we pretty much haven’t said boo to each other in the past three days.

That would be okay in most situations seeing as though he goes to work outside the house but yesterday he worked from home because of our second “blizzard” in as many weeks and I think we said about three words to each other all day. I just chewed a lot of gum and focused on my class while he rubbed his shoulder under the patch and focused on his job.

Speaking of, my first class is going pretty well, it’s a Psychology course though (which usually escapes me) and I’m already looking forward to my next class, Genres of Literature or something like that. In this one we’re studying all manner of human development and how physical, mental and social aspects in our lives directly relate to how we grow and shift as adults.

Socially I don’t really hang out with any other smokers on a consistent basis, besides Matt, so that’s helpful and physically I’m tired of experiencing the negative effects of it on my body so, again, that is an easy jump. Like I said, it’s all in my head now.

And I will move past it, I just know its going to take some time.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Thanks, for the Everything

I’ve been spotty reading blogs lately as well as commenting back to people’s posts but yesterday a photo and post over at Freshness Factor Five Thousand had me thinking about all the things I’m grateful for, thanks-full for and inspired to acknowledge. It’s been quite a while since I’ve put one of these lists together so it seemed like the right time to do it.

A lot has been going on here and many changes are afoot this year and I really love how every year, month, week, day, hour brings a new reason to be grateful or inspired. Sometimes it’s just nice to take stock of what we have, what we’ve had and where we hope to be so of course this list is far from all inclusive but off the top this is my own personal accounting of the awesomeness as I see it in the world. As always, in no particular order.

Hot water
Cups of tea, coffee and clean drinking water
Bacon & blue burgers
An open mind
Fun times with both of the above
Music that gets me through the hard times
Music that inspires me to acknowledge the happy times
Playing the drums and the man who is teaching me to do so
Winning the lottery
Having a little extra to donate to charity because of the above
Fruits and vegetables
Ability to ingest information as I start my journey toward an MA in English
My sewing machine
My paint brushes
Muscles to work hard and work out
A healthy dose of cynicism
Showers and toothbrushes
The library
Gas in my car’s tank
Agents who have rejected me & my novel
My bloggy friends, some of whom I consider to be my closest friends in the world
Writer’s license
Enough money to pay the bills
A little extra left over to save for our upcoming move
Strength I’ve gained through adversity
Hair dye
The end of eras, relationships and experiences
All six senses
eBay and the people who buy what I sell
A roof over my head
Wool socks & winter boots
Flip flops and bathing suits
The power to change
The knowledge to know when to do just that
The sense to know when not to
A voice to speak how I really feel
The couth to know that some stories should be kept private forever
Road trips
Victoria’s Secret
Rainbows and sunsets
Art in every form
Love in every form and sense of the word
My terrycloth bathrobe that I’ve had for 15 years and still love like it was brand new
And of course, the unrelenting, unwavering, love and support of my husband; without it I would have been committed years ago. ♥

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Book Club Book Review - Love Walked In

So most of you know that I belong to a Book Club launched by the world famous Ginger (and if she’s not, she should be). Well this was our third book so far and my selection for the group. I had planned to plunk a review down on the Link over at her blog but decided I just had way too much to say about Marisa de los Santos (the author) and her book, Love Walked In, that it necessitated a post of its own.

There will probably be book spoilers throughout this review so if you haven’t finished it yet or plan to read it someday stop reading this now, make today that day, and come back when you’re done.

First of all I can not begin to express how much I recommend reading this book. The reason I picked it for Book Club is because my BFF had loaned me this author’s second book, Belong to Me a while back and the second I finished reading it I knew I would own every other book she’s ever written. As an aspiring novelist myself I was absolutely floored with the writing style. She’s like my model author, I wish more Chick-Lit writers approached their genre from this kind of intelligently written perspective.

She tells a story as if you are sitting and listening to your best friend tell it. Her approach to details and the setting is so easy that by page 30 you kind of feel like you’re there. I don’t mean in that way that you can imagine what’s happening, no, I mean you are actually part of the story she is so engaging.

Because I read her second book first I was already familiar with many of the characters and there were a few things that kind of became spoilers for me because I already knew they were going to happen. Though it did help to keep me confused when Teo was married to someone else, Cornelia’s sister no less, at the beginning of the book and not to Cornelia. But it also brought some clarity to a few things that happen in her second book, which I won’t spoil for the gals who I know picked it up already.

Normally I’m a huge fan of Chick-Lit, A) because I write it and B) because it’s generally a nice mindless getaway where I don’t feel any investment in the characters and, frankly, don’t really care what happens to them at the end of the story. Her books are just different. She writes in a way that you feel like you forgot to wish your friend Cornelia a Merry Christmas and should get on that immediately. I completely forgot what genre I was reading and simply enjoyed the story of these characters. I want to go and read her second book all over again now.

It was enjoyable reading from the perspective of a ten year old so far beyond her years due to the situations in her life that I had to constantly remind myself of Clare’s age. One thing that I figured out long before it was revealed was that Martin was her father. Knowing de los Santos’ writing style and more about Clare already, it was easy to pin point. But it didn’t detract from the build up of that part of the story either.

The one thing I was a little taken back by was how Clare was told that Martin died. I know their relationship was rocky and strained at best but it still seemed a little cold to me. I didn’t expect sobbing tears from Cornelia since the reader knows she’s not in love with him but that was the one part of the book that left me a little flat.

I loved how easy it was to fall in love with Clare but not take pity on her. You felt for her situation but just knew that somewhere inside she was going to be strong enough to face everything and couldn’t wait for the moment when she did. I also loved that it was so clear all along to the reader how much Teo loved Cornelia even though he would have never admitted it out loud until he was faced with the same information from the one he loved. The reader figures out good and early that he’s unhappy in his marriage but just how noble he was of a man to never say so out loud.

As a girl who spent years being best friends with a great guy who I literally just woke up one morning to realize I was in love with, that it had always been there and I just never let myself notice it before, I fully related to Cornelia’s affection for Teo. And it was brilliantly written into this story; you expected it but never saw it coming all at the same time.

Because this is my first review off the Book Club blog I don’t want anyone to be scared off from joining up with us, we don’t always read Chick-Lit-esque books. Our next pick is actually Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, a Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris who many of you have probably heard of as a humor writer and about as far from Chick-Lit as it gets!

Come on over and join in the fun! You don’t have to write a full blown review, just read along with us and toss a couple lines together after you finish giving your impressions. And everyone gets a turn to choose a book as we rotate month to month so if you’re a lover of a different genre then we all have a chance to gain some exposure to its awesomeness.