Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Edits, edits...

I'm in the middle of the editing process with my editor from Dorchester. The deadline is November 30, and I've still got lots to do. The editor was supposed to mail me the manuscript with her markings since the start of the month, but I didn't get it. I gave her a street address two weeks ago in case the PO box number was the problem, and she was supposed to send me another copy. I haven't received that yet either. I hope it's not my courier in Miami messing up again...

The editorial letter was very detailed, and we discussed the revisions by phone, so I'm forging ahead, package or no package. There's no way I'm going to miss that deadline on Friday. Absolutely no effing way!

The day job that's been looming is supposed to start next week, once this editing business is out of the way. Hm. I'll be keeping regular hours, I suppose. No more staying up all night reading blogs, editing novel #2, and farting around with novel #3. Damn. I hate being all normal and everything; I like going to bed at dawn. The upside of this change, of course, is that I'll be [insert drumroll] getting paid! Buying groceries! And stuff like that.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Narcissistic meme

I saw this meme over at Kim's, I think. All you have to do is list random things about yourself, so here I go. It's all about me, Me, ME!
Update: I must be more of a narcissist than I thought - just realized I was supposed to list only 7 things...

1. I love rain, and the misty cool freshness it brings.
2. I'm loony about the moon, and I've passed this obsession on to my son.
3. Give me a phone, Internet access, and a credit card with no limit, and I'd probably never leave the house again.
4. I no longer keep a credit card.
5. At 5' 10", I'm the shortest in my family. My brother is the tallest at 6' 6".
6. My shoe size is 9 1/2, and everyone in the family admires my 'little' feet. That's because they all wear 12s, 13s and 14s.
7. I hate that I didn't inherit my mothers hazel-grey eyes that turn green when she is really angry.
8. My ex-husband insists that my legs were what caught him. :)
9. My oldest writing dream is - [drumroll] - an assignment for National Geographic Magazine!
10. For most of my life I thought money wasn't important. Not having any cured me of that folly.
11. Every bit of trauma and anguish I've suffered in this life has been on account of males. I sometimes wish I were lesbian, but women just don't do it for me. In spite of all, I love men. Kind ones. Sexy ones. Good-hearted ones. Cute ones...
12. That said, my female friends, and I include my mom and sis among them, are the people I value most. They are the true soldiers, the ones who are there no matter what, and who never let me down. I suppose I can live without men, but I don't know how I'd cope without the friendship, support and empathy of the women in my life.
13. I'm not into nationalism, but I'm patriotic about the planet.
14. I love blogging. I love the new people I've met, the things I've learned, the expanded awareness of individuals and communities who are passionate about the things I love. Books! Language! Life!

Snake elegy

I killed another snake in the yard a few days ago. I know, naturalists don't kill snakes, blah, blah blah. This naturalist does, if said snake is a deadly mapepire (fer de lance) that comes into the yard, snuggles up at the foot of an innocent little marigold plant, and lies there contemplating mayhem.

On a rational level, I approve of snakes. Some of them are truly beautiful, and I even met one - a huge albino python draped around a guy on South Beach, Florida - which exuded such bonhomie that I wanted to pat it and scratch behind its ears. Apart from their aesthetic appeal, snakes eat rats and mice, and that alone should win my eternal affection and protection. I think the little mapepire I killed is even protected by law - not that my countrymen observe these laws any more than they do the ones about killing people.

When it comes to snakes, something overrides the rational, learned response. The universal aversion to these creatures seems to indicate a deeper, primal, self-protective instinct. I've read that monkeys react the same way we do, exhibiting extreme fear and hysteria at the sight of anything snake-like.

Regrettably, snakes will continue to be murdered around this yard. When I used to hike in the forest I accorded my slithering friends the utmost respect, giving them right of way on trails, photographing them draped in trees, acknowledging their right to life. In our yard, I acknowledge only my own right to life. So be warned, you defiant, venomous serpents. If you crawl into this yard, then pray that I don't see you first.

Evolution of a friendship?

Heather Sellers, in Page After Page, writes that sometimes when you move from unpublished to published, when your writing ambitions begin to come to fruition, you lose some friends. I'm still very much a neophyte in this business, but I'm beginning to wonder if she's on to something there.

I just told an old friend that my first novel has sold. We've been friends for more than 25 years, and he knew about this book, this writing dream, from the start - which is saying a lot. Well, I told him, happy that at last I had good news to share, and I waited for the congratulations. They never came. No, "Good for you!" No "I'm so happy!" Nothing of the sort.

What he did was launch immediately, immediately, into an impassioned rant about all these 'big companies' that feel they have the right to pass judgement on what is good and what isn't, who's beautiful and who's not, who should be a top model and who should be kicked off the show. He didn't say "who should be published and who shouldn't," but I sort of guessed that was his point.

Huh? What does that have to do with my little bit of good news? I listened, dumbfounded, waited for him to get to the point of his diatribe, to say something nice to his oldest, truest friend (so he says). He never explained the point of that outburst, and the nice words never came.

I must be missing something here.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Trading Spaces

There's an article about writers' spaces in the August issue of Writer's Digest that got me thinking. The spaces shown are those of established, highly successful writers. What I'd really like to see are the spaces of struggling, beginning writers.

It's not that I wouldn't trade with some of the writers featured - it must be wonderfulto have a comfortable space dedicated to your writing, every convenience at hand. That's not my present reality.

My computer sits at one end of my mother's dining table. The TV is a few feet away in one direction, the kitchen a few feet away in the other. Although I've sometimes persevered and produced good work with the TV blaring and my mother constantly interrupting my flow, I prefer to write late at night when there are no distractions.

I wrote the first draft of that first novel in bed. I was not camping out at my mother's house then, but I was teaching high school, coming home to cook and supervise my son's homework etc. etc., then retiring to my room to scribble when the household was asleep. I still write in bed sometimes when I feel the need for pen and paper rather than keyboard and bytes...

The dream is always there, though: my own writing space with a big desk and comfy, ergonomic chair; cabinets for all my papers, manuscripts, and correspondence; shelves for all the books now languishing in cardboard boxes; a couple lush plants; some photos scattered around; a painting or two.

When I'm feeling frustrated about the lack of perfection in my space, I remind myself that Stephen King used to bang away on his wife's old typewriter in the laundry-closet of their rented trailer, a child's desk balanced on his knees. We all gotta start somewhere!

So where do you write? If you send me a photo of your space (lianespicer at gmail dot com) I'll feature it on the blog. The weirder the better! Any takers? :)

Friday, 2 November 2007

Off and running

Thanks to all who've visited the blog and commented over the last two weeks, and who are probably wondering where I got to. Well, my computer problem has become more convoluted; since two computers got blown, as well as one ac/dc adapter and the battery to a laptop (all within a relatively short time), they're telling me that there is either a problem with the supply of electricity to the house, or with the internal wiring. So I'm making do with library visits, internet cafes and such. Hopefully things will be back to what passes for normal around here pretty soon.

Yesterday I got the first call from my editor at Dorchester. Hurrah! Onward Ho! And such. Surprise! There are going to be edits. The agent didn't think that any revisions would be necessary, but thankfully I'd read that editors always want changes, so I was prepared.

Here's the thing: I'm eager to start those edits because everything the lady said made perfect sense. Okay, maybe I'll want to fight with her over some stuff when this cloud I'm floating on lets me off and I can think straight, but right now I can see the reasoning behind her comments, and I truly believe that going through this process with her will make for a better novel, and a better writer.