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I Love the Internet

So, here's the thing, the internet, for all the good it does in terms of spreading knowledge and yada, yada, yada, whatever, really does make make us dumber. Case in point: www.huffingtonpost.com/news/jessica-simpson

Yes, in fact, today the Huffington Post has decided that Jessica Simpson is "Big News." Notice the stellar quality of the articles. Some fascinating stuff on when she wore a bikini and where she spent Christmas and how she likes to show off her boobs.

Big news indeed.

And yet I clicked on it, so I guess I'm complicit in the world's dumbness.
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Some Things I'm Thinking About

I had a minor panic attack yesterday. It felt like it hit me out of nowhere, but really, as all panic attacks do, it built up over time. Lucky me, I know how to hold onto things and let them fester (Go me). This one was a combination of things - a family member I love is pretty sick and the news seems to get worse everyday. That awful rejection letter from last week. Struggling on my diet. All kinds of stuff was coming at me and it turns out that I really wasn't handling it as well as I thought.

The funny thing is, it wasn't another bad thing that put me over the edge. It was a good thing. A potentially (not to get ahead of myself) really good thing. I got really nice response from an agent agreeing to read my book, the kind that makes me insanely hopeful, even when I try to be realistic and not let my dreams of literary glory get too out of control. It had some nice praise for a previous version of my book. I should have been jumping up and down, but, instead, my heart started beating too fast and I couldn't catch my breath, and I got extremely claustrophobic. Like - I had to ask my boss if I could leave because my office has no windows-claustrophobic. 

I think because I just don't want to be disappointed again. I can take rejection like a pro these days (last week's example aside), but when someone says nice things, it's almost painful. I'm not sure I'm going to explain this right, but rejection for a subjective reason like, "just not my taste" doesn't bother me. But when they say something nice, but ultimately say no, they can't represent my book, it can really easily feel like I've been set up to fail. And I really do not want to fail.

Today I'm trying to remind myself that I wrote a great book, and that if this agent doesn't turn out to be the one for me, I still have no reason to stop trying to find one. Because, fact is, I want it too much and I will make it happen.

Of course, I could be completely bonkers. I'll take my chances.
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Congratulations, You're The Straw

I was debating whether or not to write this post, because as an aspiring to b published writer, there are a bunch of implied pitfalls in what I'm about to say. When you're trying to sell a book,  there are kinds of rules to follow. Each liteary agent want different things out of the query letters they recieve. Various numbers of pages included with the letter, perhaps they want a synopsis of the book, and that sort of thing. I'm supposed to research each agent for their likes and dislikes and make sure they represent what I'm trying to sell. Then I'm to wait patiently while they take anywhere from 20 minutes to 20 weeks to decide if they want to read some or all of my manuscript. Most don't. If they do, then there's generally like 3 to 6 months for the agent to read it and make another decision. Most say no, and I start the whole thing all over again.

That's the way it works. I know that. I'm trying like hell to work the system. I do my research. I send off my letters and pages and whatnot. I  do my best to graciously accept rejection and keep going. I tell myself again and again and it's a subjective business and that someone will see that me and my little book are worthy enough to join the party.

Today, I had a little breakdown. Because, I got a really insulting rejection. And while I'd normally brush it off, I've goten to the point where I've had enough. I've heard so many conflicting things about what my book needs. Again, subjecitive business. I've done my best to sort through the advice, to be flexible and open to suggestion. Anything to get to my goal, you know?

But the agency that rejected me today had the audacity to  suggest that it if I added about 35,000 words -  then they might be open to reading a few chapters, if, of course the synopsis was "reasonable." And this, without having read a word of my book. Not even the first line. I ask, how can anyone make a suggestion like that? First of all, adding that kind of length would put my manuscript well outside the general range of word counts for young adult novels, by about 20,000 words. Which, from all the research I've done, means most editors won't go near it. But again - how could anyone who hasn't read a word of it say anything about how many words are needed to tell the story?

And what's that business about the synopsis being reasonable? That doesn't make any sense. I'm more than willing to submit one, and have it judged good or bad, but for goodness sakes, what does anyone mean by reasonable?

And so, I did something I've never done before - I wrote back and called him on it. Because seriously, I was really, really insulted. I guess that's obvious. I don't normally go to extremes. I mind my manners and keep plugging away, but, for the love of Pop Tarts and Diet Coke, I couldn't brush it off. Not this time. In a couple of short sentences this agency managed to imply I hadn't done the work I needed to do, and by extention the half a decade or more I put into this manuscript isn't enough. Beyond that the "Well, maybe if" tone just annoys me. Way to make this whole process like a bad relationship. Want to tell me you might think about marrying me if I don't get too ugly? Cause it's about the same sentiment.

So now I'm wondering if I've totally jeopordized my chances of ever finding an agent. I'm supposed to be humble and gracious, but you know, I just couldn't let it go. I still can't. I tried not to go too far in my response, I tried to keep my language circumspect and tried not to sound like I was whining, but I doubt that matters. This agent will either ignore me or  even potentially smear my name. But considering both possibilities, I just had to say something and get it out of my system. Tomorrow I'll go back to minding my manners. Today, I had to stand up for myself.

 


ballet adventures

And So It Begins

Ballet was actually really fun. I didn't really know what to expect, because my only experience with ballet in the past  is a fond appreciation of the movie "Center Stage." No one told me I didn't have "great feet" or let me ride a motorcycle on stage and wear red pointe shoes, so as far as comparisons go, not so much.

The class was held at one of the local high schools. The nice kind, with a separate building just for extraciriculars (so not like where I went to school). In this case, the dance studio was below the gym, where apparently some sort of running, floor pounding exercise was happening that caused the entire studio to shake. It was mostly a lot of women around my age and older who said things like, "I've been taking dance for 15 years, mostly jazz, ballet and hip-hop, with some Afrian tribal..." And I'm like - "Uhm, yeah, not so much. I thought this was "Intro...."

So let me sum up the rest of the evening in bullet points:

* All ballet terms seem to be in French. The French have a very odd relationship with their letter Ts.
* I love that it  is acceptable to exercise in a skirt.
* However, tutus are not flattering to my hips.
* The arches of the my feet sort of hurt this morning. It's a weird place to be sore.
* I may never squeeze my ass into a leotard.
* I do want the pink tights, though.
* And the unflattering tutu. Because it's twirly.
* Also, I should say I spent a lot of time praying I didn't fall down. Proof prayer works, I guess.

I have seven weeks left. Here's hoping it continues to go as well.
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Get Ready for the Unintentional Comedy

I make no secret of the fact that I'm decidedly uncoordinated. Why try and hide the truth, right? So don't ask me why, but I thought, well, I'd like to be a little less uncoordinated, I think I'll sign up for a ballet class.

Actually, I think I just wanted an excuse to wear a tutu.

Whichever the case, this evening I begin the Great Self-Improvement Adventure of Adult Education in Classical Ballet. Or, as I'm almost sure I will end up referring to it: Watch me Fall Down.

I bought the ballet slippers. I have the tights ready and waiting.

I could not bring myself to buy a leotard just yet. My ass took one look at them and went "Oh Hell NO. Back away, Bitch." I'm sure I will end up with some sort of appropriate dance attire, but I want to try the class first.

I have no idea what to expect. I have never taken a dance class in my life. And somehow I don't think the  dance routine my sister came up with for my 9-year-old self to do while lipsyncing to Tiffany songs counts as any sort of training or preparation. Although at some point it could win me a prize for funniest home video. So there's that.

 


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In Which I Dream Stuff


Over the last few nights, I've had a series of really messed up dreams.  I couldn't really give you a good sense of a narrative story from any of the three nights, because they seemed to skip around in time and place, but, what I have noticed is that the common element of the dreams seems to be wish fulfillment. In each of them, I'm getting something I want, but in a really bizarre and distored way. For example, in one, I found a whole lot of money lying at my feet, and then was all conflicted on whether or not I could keep it, but of course, if it were that simple, I would be better able to explain how it unfolded. Somehow this involved a lot of crowding people into tiny rooms and accusing people of being careless, without ever revealing that I found this cash, and drinking lots of Pepsi, which I don't like.

In another, someone gave me a baby. Literally handed me a seven month old and told me she was mine. Although, she wasn't. She was cute, and in my dream I clearly wanted to take her, but the whole way it came together was freaky and involved a really unpleasant family who had apparently been keeping until I showed up. I'm conflicted as to whether or not I actually want kids. I sort of do, and sort of don't. So I guess this maybe wasn't so much wish fulfillment, as a big "here's what might happen if you have a kid."  It seemed to involve a lot of frustrated expectations and, possibly, insurance fraud.

Finally, last night I had a dream about love. And robots. Don't ask me where it came from, but I seemed to start out judging a robot competition, and possibly a hair styling contest. And then there was a goofy British guy with a Transformer-like car that could become a forklift, and something about brunch, and then goofy-Brit "accidentally" calling me his future-wife. There were also some parking garages and walking through unfamiliar neighborhoods involved. Come to think of it, I'm not really sure this was about love. Maybe it was just about robots.

Truthfully, I have no idea. My dreams are sufficiently odd enough that I'm not sure I want to deconstruct them. Also, I suppose if I were dreaming about wish fulfillment, I'd want to dream my book was getting published. Although if I do I'm sure there will be some sort of creepy walrus or Abe Lincoln impersonator or giant stacks of old Cosmopolitan magazines junking up the works, and making what I want most in the world just as uncomfortable as the things I also sort-of want. I'm going to have to go back to not dreaming. It could be safer.


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I can see... and I'm adorable

Well, it only took five years, but I now have a new default profile picture. Go me.  Hopefully I won't wake up tomorrow and notice that this picture shows I have a case of the crazy eyes.

Cause I have to tell you, I think I look great. I know, I'm super modest too.

I went with the black and white because... uhm, well, I liked it better.

I took the new photo because I finally got my new glasses, and I can actually see stuff, which is you know, sort of important.
NEW DRESS

In Which Girl's Night is Girl's Night

A lot of times when I got out with a group of girls, Girl's night becomes "Wait while I call my boyfriend." Tonight was a rare exception, and I have to say, I'm happy that it was. I had a fantastic time. I haven't laughed that much in forever. Hoepfully all of us who said, "Yes, we must do this again," will actually remember to do just that.
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In Which I Say Nothing New

I want a new picture of me for my various online shenannigans, but first, I want to get new glasses (cause it's time to admit I can't see nothin' these days), and prepetually need to do something about my flat hair. Plus, all the pictures I've managed to take lately make me look, well, tired and drunk. Considering I'm not drinking these days and I'm sleeping pretty well, yeah, you'd think I'd be a little bit more photogenic.
 

But, not so much.

Also, the hair/glasses updates have to wait. After spending all my cash on my car deductible and, well, 4 tickets to see New Kids on the Block at Fenway, yeah, I'm going to have to budget a bit for the next couple of weeks.


And if you're new here, no I have no shame in adoring shitty pop music. It makes me happy and remember being a spastic 11-year-old. And I think we should all have something that makes us swoon and be happy for no other reason that it brings back giddy memories of dancing in front of the TV and having far too much Aquanet in your hair.

The common memories we all share, if you will.




 


NEW DRESS

I'm Going to Go With "If It's Not on Google, It doesn't Exist"

My dad just called me to tell me that he heard on the news that a student was arrested at the Community College today for having a semi-automatic weapon and amunition in his backpack in line at the Registrar's office.

Way to make me feel great when I'm in the office by myself, Pop. Thanks for that.

But, the good news is, I can pretend it didn't happen, as I have found no mention of it on Boston.com, thebostonchannel.com, or by basic Google search. 
 

Also, if it did happen here, the gossip mill has totally let me down. The whole point of working in a school is to let gossip and red tape rule your life. My peeps are falling down on the job.

I mean, that could be because they're facing a student with a gun but....

Okay, bad joke. It's too soon.


Update: Damn. I was just told a first person account. This is going to make it awfully hard to ignore.