Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Most depressing sentence. Ever.

I’ve been working on a new short story. Which is kind of great because I have been feeling pretty costive lately and getting to that “I’m never going to write anything ever again” scary place with writers’ block. So, you know, yay.

Anyway, I had typed up a decent word count and it wasn’t really getting anywhere anymore so I figured I’d take a break and googlestalk Jodi Reamer. Big mistake. The result was about as good for my mental health as watching Trainspotting while being forced to run to exhaustion on a treadmill.

Jodi Reamer was the first agent I queried. I actually waited a week until I started sending queries to other agents (it took me about that long to realize it was pretty stupid to delay reaching out to other agents just because I hadn’t been rejected yet). I chose to query Ms. Reamer first because she is John Green’s agent and I hope, one day, to write with a fraction of the awesomeness of which he endows his books. Also, it doesn’t hurt that she represents Stephenie Meyer who made like a gazillion dollars with her Twilight series.

I sent in my query and sample pages in the beginning of September and I haven’t heard back yet. I enclosed an SASE so I would have expected a form rejection letter by now. So, unfortunately, her silence has engendered a sliver of hope. If she (read: her intern/editorial assistant) had decided that she was not interested in seeing my full manuscript I should have received my “Dear Author, Thanks for thinking of me but you kind of suck,” letter by now. Course, what it most likely means is that she just hasn’t rejected me yet.

In my googlestalking I found a link to the aforementioned Meyers’ website that contained a sentence that makes me want to find a sword to fall on.

 

“And that's how, in the course of six months, Twilight was dreamed, written, and accepted for publication.”

 

Six months????? SIX MONTHS?!?!?!?

 

If it weren’t for the fact that I really, really love my computer I would have proceeded to bludgeon myself to death with it. That she wrote the book in under six months really doesn’t faze me. Everyone writes at their own pace, blab, blah, blah. What kills me though is that in less than six months she found an agent and a publisher. AN AGENT AND A PUBLISHER. Three months down since I sent out my first query. Wanna place bets on whether or not I have a book deal by March?

 

I think I need a sedative.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Nostalgia Assault

About this time ten years ago I was fretting over college application essays (most of which I didn’t bother to write). The anniversary of this seems to have inspired an onslaught of nostalgia in my former classmates, leading them to friend request me on facebook. (They’ll never find me on myspace, I use a fake name. MWAHAHAHAA!!!)

A very few of these requests have inspired an ‘aww, I remember you.’ More have brought about an ‘um… and you are?’ response. While, most have caused a ‘Seriously? Cause you spoke all of 2 words to me in high school…’ I have kept these reactions to myself and graciously accepted their requests. I am nothing if not magnanimous.  I’m also vaguely curious and more than a little bit bored. Still not going to the reunion though.

 

I decided that today I would ready the query letters and sample pages for the next four agents that are going to reject me (2 of them want 50pp with the query letter, kill me now, please). So, of course, after about 5 minutes work on that it struck me that my room desperately needed cleaning. While half-heartedly attempting that I found a large album from my Sweet 16. The front half is signed by the people who were there. Apparently “7&8” was this epically hysterical inside joke that I shared with about 20 of my then BFFs. I have absolutely no idea what it means today. The second half is a series of collages I made from my cards. And you know what? I am freakin good at making collages. For realz. Sadly, monster.com doesn’t have any collagers wanted postings.

 

I keep turning around and looking forlornly at my printer.

I really should get to those queries.

*sigh*

Sunday, December 21, 2008

That's Goddamn right

Anyone who can work retail between October and January and still enjoy Christmas music should be studied in a lab. 

The retail industry is good at two things: sucking your soul out through your pores and destroying Christmas. On the sales floor you're attacked from all sides. Customers bitter and annoyed by all the people they have to buy presents for. Companies trying to coddle, cajole, and cheat consumers out of every possible cent. And the incessant repetition of the same five Christmas songs sung by a series of increasingly irritating performers. I fear that if I ever meet Jessica Simpson I will involuntarily punch her in the face as the reminder of the countless times I have been forced to listen to her rendition of "Baby, it's Cold Outside" will just be too much to bear. 

We spend too much money on the wrong things. And, yes, I'm including myself in this. Very much so. Looking at Christmas from the least cynical point of view we are, most of us, buying presents for the right reasons; because we want to do something nice, to give something nice to the people we care about. We want to make them happy. So, ok, yeah, when you get that iphone or ps3 or DVD box set that you asked for you're happy about it. But how long does that happiness last? When was the last time you got a gift that spoke to your soul? When was the last time that you got a gift that enriched your life and kept giving? When was the last time you got a gift that really felt like a gift? And when was the last time that you gave one? Maybe it's different for you but it's been my experience that we ask for the wrong things. And I think that, more than anything else is what is depressing me this holiday season. That and the fact that I missed Santa.

One of my favorite things about Christmas, one of the few things that has yet to be tainted, is Fire Truck Santa. Every year the local fire department decks out an engine with Christmas lights and decor and one of the fire fighters dresses up as Santa. The engine drives down every street in town waving and shouting and throwing candy canes. I remember being so surprised and excited our first Christmas in the new house when I realized that they did that in this town too. I look forward to this one silly moment with such ridiculous glee. At twenty-seven it still makes me feel like a little girl who believes that anything is possible. That there's a man out there who dedicated his life to bringing joy to the entire world. And is successful. That magic exists and people use it for good. That sometimes getting what you want is as simple as asking for it. When that truck passes by the house is when it really starts to sink in that Christmas is coming and I better start enjoying myself while I still can because before you know it the gifts will be unwrapped, the lights will come down and everything will be just a little bit greyer. Once I see Santa waving and shouting Ho! Ho! Ho! I let myself enjoy Christmas. Tonight when I got home I could hear the sirens wail, but they were taunting me. Santa had gone and he wasn't coming back. 

I'll admit it; I'm still pouting a little bit. I'll get over it but right now it's like somebody else blew out all the candles on my birthday cake.
Fortunately for me I wasn't unoccupied long enough for my pout to bloom into melancholy. Jacki came over and we made vegan chocolate chip cookies (which turned out far better than the brownies, since we actually followed directions this time, at least, for the most part) and watched Shawshank Redemption.
Shawshank is one of those movies that I had always meant to see but never quite got around to it. Kind of like I had always wanted to check out Modest Mouse but never did until Johnny Marr joined up. And then I went to two concerts just so I could watch him play…but, I digress… 

It's Jacki's favorite movie and I can understand why. I'm going to have to read the book now and that's definitely saying something, as I am not exactly what you would call a Stephen King fan. The only book of his I have ever read is On Writing. I just don't do horror. And "It" (movie) scarred me for life. Clowns… * shudder * 

We all have our prisons. Sometimes the world puts us there and sometimes we build them ourselves. Sometimes you break free only to realize that the outside world you've been staring at through the bars is nothing more than a courtyard in a larger prison. The question is do we give in to the institutionalization or do we pick up our rock hammer and start tunneling through the next wall?

That's a question I have to ask myself everyday. This quarter life crisis has been going on for far too long now. It's getting old. And 40 hours a week of retail slavery can make a person feel like maybe this really is all that there is. Maybe life is nothing more than what you do to stay alive. What's the point in playing the harmonica or dreaming about the ocean when it's only going to make you want to do more than exist? When it comes down to it, all the myriad of decisions we make everyday that decide who we are, are just variations on two choices:

Get busy living, or get busy dying.

That's Goddamn right.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I don't wanna run through the halls of my high school

I am not a John Mayer fan.

i know many girls go weak at the knees for his scruffy white boy indiepop tunes but he just doesn't do it for me. (even though scruffy white boy indiepop usually does)

Now, I haven't exactly listened to his entire oeuvre so it's not really fair to make a judgement of him based only on the few songs I have heard but as none of them have inspired me to run out and by his albums my judgement stands.

My problem with Mr. Mayer stems mainly from 2 of his popular songs; Waiting on the World to Change and Daughters

Waiting on the World to Change can basically be summed up by this:

Yay, apathy!

or

eh.

"It's not that we don't care, 
We just know that the fight ain't fair 
So we keep on waiting 
Waiting on the world to change"

The fight is never going to be fair unless people fight to make it that way. And who backs down from fighting for what they believe in because the fight isn't fair? I mean, seriously. If Rosa Parks had waited for the world to change we'd still have color coded water fountains. And there really wasn't much fair about that fight. Nothing ever changes by doing nothing. Unless, you know, the nothing you're doing is not eating, which is a hunger strike, which is actually something...ah, you know what I mean. 
This song just makes me angry.
(if by any chance the lyrics were meant ironically or as an exercise in reverse psychology then I offer my humble apologies.)

The song that really pisses me off though, is Daughters. Because I thought that I kinda liked it until I really listened to the lyrics one day and realized that it's pretty freakin misogynistic. The song would be fine if it weren't for this bit of juxtaposition towards the end:

"So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break
You'll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart"

So, basically, what I get from this is that if life is rough to boys they can take it. But heavens! You better be good to girls because they just don't have the strength to deal with the world. Oh yeah, and you need girls to grow up to be good women so that they can be there and support the boys who are going through the trials that girls aren't able to face.

GAH!

I kinda like Dreaming with a Broken Heart and that "say what you need to say" song. I used to like No Such Thing until the other day when I came home to find a notice about my impending 10 year high school reunion.

*sigh*

I was supposed to be rich and famous by the time I was 25. That was the plan. The entirety of it, actually. I mean, when you're this fabulous success is just supposed to find you, right? Yeah, well, 25 has come and gone and I'm still wondering what the hell do you do with a B.A. in English. You know, other than blogging. God, what was I thinking? ENGLISH?!?! ...I wonder what it's like to have marketable skills...


Let's be honest, there are only three reasons to go to your high school reunion:

A) You are wildly successful and want to rub it in the faces of everyone who never liked you in high school

B) You married someone wildly successful or ridiculously hot and you want to rub it in the faces of everyone who never liked you in high school

C) You had many meaningful friendships in high school but due to circumstances beyond your control you have completely lost contact with all of them and are looking forward to seeing them again and catching up.

The advent of the internet has made C virtually impossible. I really can't think of anyone that I am not in some way in touch with now that I would want to connect with. Thank you, MySpace, thank you.
As of this moment I have yet to achieve anything near wild success. I haven't even achieved tame success. All my success is potential, not kinetic.
And, unless I have any famous (and hot) readers out there who would like to step up and escort me to this thing, I am 0 for 3.

So, really, the reason that I don't like No Such Thing anymore is because I'm bitter about the state of my life. Which isn't fair, is it, John Mayer, to hate YOUR song because of MY life? No, not fair at all. I guess you'll just have to wait for me to change.

P.S.
I wanna be a Sea Shepherd now. Blame Animal Planet.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reject me, Baby

I have always had this paralytic fear of rejection. It has probably been the strongest motivating force in my life since the first grade. Maybe kindergarten. But definitely not before then. I was the shit in pre-school. Seriously. I was the kid all the other kids told their parents about when they asked them how their day was. And the boys LOVED me. 

Ah, crap, I peaked at four. 

Anyway. Kids got mean and I got self conscious and all my awesomeness got swallowed up by a swirling vortex of low-self esteem and fear. And it's pretty much been my compass. I quit field hockey when I got to high school because I didn't get that when they let you start a lot that means you're good. I never applied to Duke because it was my dream school and I was sure there was no way they were ever going to accept me. All my schools were safety schools. And auditions. * shudder * I can sing really well- when I'm not being judged. Put me in front of a director with a clipboard though, and I'm flat and sharp and all of a sudden afraid to sing with any kind of emotion. It's ridiculous in the saddest possible way. So, I take refuge in the written word. In my words. I write. Poems. Stories. Self indulgent blogs. And that works pretty well until you find yourself with a manuscript that you think is good enough to be published and read by people who aren't your best friends. Because that's when you need to find yourself an agent. And good luck with that.

Just thinking about query letters makes me feel like throwing up. The fact that I've queried at all is frankly a miracle. Here's the run down so far: 6 agents queried. 3 polite rejections. 1 silent rejection (she said on her page if you don't hear from her in 6 weeks, she isn't interested. I didn't). 2 I haven't heard from either way. Now, in the grand scheme of things 4, possibly 6 rejections isn't really notable. I mean, Gone with the Wind was rejected 38 times. But for a girl who has worn a lovely shade of yellow for the past 20 odd years it's kinda hard to deal with. But, and this has been pretty shocking for me, not as hard as I would have thought. 

Okay, the first round was pretty damn depressing. There may have been bitter, self-loathing tears involved. It's hard not to doubt yourself. If this manuscript is as good as I think it is then why didn't any of them think so? If writing is good then it should be universally accepted as good, right? Thankfully, I have an awesomely supportive and intelligent bff who kicked my butt a little bit and reminded me of an important fact. I love Pride and Prejudice. I think that it's swell. I want to climb into it and live there- just as long as Colin Firth gets to be my Darcy. Megan, on the other hand, hates it. HATES. IT. It makes her want to gouge her eyes out. That -and her much appreciated bullying- gave me what I needed to go forward with the next round of queries. 

I keep getting rejected but it's easier to deal with. In fact, I sent out the latest round of queries today and I'm almost looking forward to the rejections. BRING EM ON!!! REJECT ME, BABY! C'MON!! Every rejection I get just brings me a step closer to finding the agent who's going to want to represent me. I'll just keep querying till there's no one left and then fuck it there's always self publishing. I won't make a cent but at least I'll know that I did all that I could. Because that's the real test. Writing has always come pretty naturally to me but believing in myself is something that I have to work hard at every day. And strange as it may seem all the rejection that I've had in my life (personally and professionally) recently is helping me to do that. 

So, bring it on, world. Bring it on. The more you reject me the closer I get to being who I need to be.


I am so deep at three o'clock in the morning

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

minty fresh failure

"Are brownies supposed to boil?"

Heh. Yeah. I said that last night. And it was awesome. And I mean that in the traditional, original meaning of the word, not in the "ohmygodit'slikesototallycool" usage. As in inspiring awe. Because nothing quite shocks and awes like opening your oven to find your brownies boiling.

Cuzcuz and I decided that chick flicks and chocolate were needed.
(we watched Muriel's Wedding btw.)

So, she stopped and shopped for a few baking essentials before swinging by my place.

Any normal chicks would have turned to one of the four vegan cookbooks in my kitchen for a recipe but not us. We chose to look up non-vegan recipes at foodnetwork.com and convert them ourselves because we just had to be clever and creative...


Cut to the boiling brownies.


And hours of laughter. Because those damn brownies were literally in the oven for hours. And it was hilarious. 

When we finally did remove them and dared to dream, jacki described them as being "somewhere between gum and shoes."

So, yeah, the peppermint brownies were a failure but sometimes failure can be fun and tasty

Saturday, December 13, 2008

deep breath in...

...and out

some days, okay, who am I kidding, MOST days, I have to implement a series of breathing exercises and repeat a mantra in order to make it through my shift. today's mantra:

it is not the customer's fault that you are dissatisfied with your life.

the amount of times i had to repeat that to myself (sometimes, i'll admit it, aloud) in order to remain calm, and not take my frustration out on the poor woman who just wanted me to tell her how much the teal sweater set was, is beyond sad.

other mantras include:

this is not your life
you will not assault the customers
i am developing an exit strategy
it takes strength to be gentle and kind

or i just think about puppies. cuddly adorable theoretical puppies. or, puppies that come with good looking men who like to spoon and do all the dog walking/poop picking up themselves

when that fails there's always chocolate
or drugs

which reminds me

if you're feeling kind of depressed watching sid & nancy followed shortly thereafter by slc punk! might not be the best of decisions.

who's up for a rousing good time of drugs and accidental death?

ah... warms the heart, doesn't it?


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

beauty school dropout

  There are things you shouldn't do on a whim......like cut your own bangs

Some things come naturally to me like harmonizing and bowling and making things sound dirty when they're not. But hair cutting is not one of them.

You'd think that cutting in a straight line would be easy but apparently you need some kind of training for that. 
Who knew?




in other news:
I think my uterus is a cylon.

this new b.c. is kicking my ass and I am seriously considering a sex change so that I no longer have to put up with the bloating and the cramps and the wolfing down of chocolate as if I had been attacked by dementors.
and i have always harbored a secret desire to write my name with a stream of pee

Monday, December 8, 2008

venti is italian for bad idea

another day off where i stayed snuggly tucked into my bed day dreaming until noon. 

        

by about 4 though i had had enough of internet tv and my inability to do anything productive while in my own house so i threw a load in the washing machine and fled. i drove around aimlessly for a while and then settled down at a starbucks to write. 



i had a venti gingersnap latte at about 5 and i am STILL FREAKIN WIRED.

if it weren't for my toe i'd be running around in circles.

on the upside i actually was dramatically and surprisingly productive today.

Lots of writing at Starbucks. A lot of it was self indulgent drivel that i'll spare you but it served its own purpose, shaking things loose and letting me get through the crap and break into some of the good stuff.

Once I returned to my basement I called my best friend so she could bully me into doing what needed to be done 
i.e.
applying for a new job,
querying agents.



job is applied for and i have queried 3 more agents (the 3 on the list of 10 meg had me come up with last time i called her for some bullying that wanted equeries without sample pages. those were the least stressful to send. one agent wants 50pp and that makes me want to throw up a little bit)

now that that is done and it is midnight and i have to be at work at 930 i would really like to slip under the covers and drift into a lovely dream 

BUT VENTI LATTES ARE THE WORK OF THE DEVIL!!!!

-though, had i done so i would have the IM cuzcuz just sent me about Flogging Molly. Course it would have gone to my phone and I would have seen it in the morning- but still.


oooooh, this is going to be awesome

Friday, December 5, 2008

...heaven knows i'm miserable now

When you're at your meaningless, soul-sucking job that makes you want to do harm to yourself and others people who recognize you from high school should not be allowed to shop there.