Tags: idek

if I were me

the post-writhing writhing

Just one other snippet of writhing, through the power of time travel and my text editor:

It is December 9th, and I need to tell you about freaking out.

My agent is taking my book to auction tomorrow. There are four editors "interested" and two who've passed and three we haven't heard from. I AM LITERALLY FALLING APART. LITERALLY. MY NOSE JUST FELL OFF. THERE IS BLOOD EVERYWHERE.

Okay, that part was a lie.

I need to email my agent. I don't know how this is going to go. I need her to tell me how to keep my nose on. It's not off yet, but it's seriously a matter of time. I'm jittering too much to keep the nose on for much longer.

So, here I am, 111 days after selling a book. I have felt at times, in between the writhing and the near-bursting, rather like the dog who has caught the car: "So, what do I do now?"

The answer, of course, is probably "opposable thumb implants and driving lessons."

And then, yesterday, not two hours after the contract showed up, I got my edit letter.

So, you know, there's now THAT to freak out about. So. Nothing new there.

Because this actually has been a long road of freaking out. I am not, apparently, the sort of person who thinks she deserves nice things to happen. Or something? I kept waiting for the evil shoe to drop. For the editor to wake up and say, "Nah, you know, nah. I was crazy for wanting that book." Especially since the contract just kept not being done and not being done and not being done. I tried to maintain positivity, but honestly, the longer I waited, the more I was sure it was all going to come to an abrupt end. I had little mental conversations. "Well, then, logically," I would say to myself in the shower, "my agent will just try to sell the book again." But it hasn't come to an abrupt end. I got the contract. Things are moving forward.

I've been trying to figure out how I'm supposed to be now; how I'm not supposed to talk about being freaked out, and how I'm supposed to pretend to be cool professional writer chick who is unfazed by this publishing gig. But that won't ring true. I'm still going to angst, and fret, and freak out, just like I did all along the way. I guess, if you're inclined to hate reading about that, you may want to remove me from your reading list. I could offer to filter, I suppose. We'll see how it goes.

Five years ago, if you'd pointed out a writer in my position who was angsting and fretting about their tremendous opportunity and good luck, I'd have clicked the back button in disgust.

With good reason. Five-years-ago Me didn't need to know any of that stuff. Especially since this is the place I wanted to be, regardless of how daunting I now find it.

I find myself pondering things like my edit letter (which also came yesterday) with some trepidation. "Hoo boy," I say, in my best hitchin-up-my-pants way. "Hoo boy, now comes the hard work."

But to say that the hard work is ahead dismisses the last seven years of work, the last twenty-seven years of ambition. To say, "I want to be a writer" was no great challenge for a seven-year-old; saving up for a typewriter actually wasn't too much harder for the eleven-year-old, either. I wrote to escape, back then. It just happened to be lucky that I was getting in some useful practice. But each step along the way, things got incrementally harder. And at times, I chose the easy path, and the writing suffered for it. (On the other hand, I got out and lived a little, so maybe the writing benefited, too; but I could have--and should have--practiced my craft more.)

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Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, that I realize that there is still a lot of hard work ahead--perhaps even the hardest, if sales aren't brisk right off the bat, or I run into rough criticism, or any of the 900 other things that might trip me up--but the last seven years may have been the hardest I'll ever face, because I had to do it all on faith. Faith in myself, I might add, which is kind of a perennial problem with most people I know. (They either have way too much or way too little.)

So, no. I don't like saying the hard work is ahead of me, because it not only dismisses my last 7 years, but the people who are also working on faith and fumes.

On the other hand, to say that the hard work isn't ahead of me is a bloody big lie.


I guess the hard work is ALL AROUND. I am floating on an ocean of hard work. I just spent seven years paddling away from shore with all my might. And now I'm here. In the ocean. Out of sight of land. And they just handed me a slightly more ergonomic paddle and said, "Get going. You're paddling until you sink, or until you die."

(Not unlike marriage, then.)

Hm. Yeah. Ergonomic paddles, ahoy.
Books (carriage steps)

Things I Think About When I Should Be Writing

-Where did I put that page of notes on Victorian madness and insane asylums? REALLY. It's been days since I started looking for it.

-Is it necessary to point out random connections when I talk to people on the phone? "Hey, my name is Merrie, too!" or (today, on the phone with an ILL staff member at Northern Illinois University) "Do you know rarelylynne? Because I do!"

-Am I overdrying my skin by taking too hot showers, or is it okay because I used that stinky, oily body scrub from Aveda that was in my Christmas stocking?

-Don't put that stinky, oily body rub in your Christmas stocking next year.

-Possibly also, stuffing your own stocking isn't really that fun, but I don't want to miss out on the cool Sharpies I buy for everyone else. Conundrum!

-Here's a page of notes on what constitutes a "proper English education": dress, conversational subjects, musical instruments, singing, dancing, speaking French. Possibly also: needlework, the getting up of fine linen and ironing. In addition to that, Jane Eyre was able to teach history, geography, and the use of a globe, plus grammar and writing. On my notescrap, I have also written "maybe arithmetic" but I don't know where I got that from. Most of the rest of the information came from Understanding Jane Eyre: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources and Historical Documents. Which I need to check out from the library again. Because I did not take adequate enough notes on insane asylums.

-The Herbalist's Apprentice, as a spoken phrase, is occasionally too easy to trip over. You have to jump in, and elide the sibilants or die trying.

-I am rereading some of Anne McCaffrey's romances with a more critical eye to the gender politics. And I wanted to wash myself. And I was actually doing the re-reading in the bathtub, so you see how bad that is. (FOR EXAMPLE: "He clipped one warm, strong-fingered hand under my elbow, and I have never been omre conscious of a square inch of my own flesh than that moment. As if he sensed my reaction, he removed his hand and gave me a quick searching look. 'It's a cup of coffee, Miss Dunn, not an invitation to rape!'" UHM, DUDE, DID YOU JUST CASUALLY BRING UP RAPE (as in you-and-me-time) WHILE TRYING TO INVITE ME FOR COFFEE? This conversation is OVER.)

-On the other hand, I thought this book was just lovely when I was younger, and thus I have faith that The Kids These Days are going to come through the Twilight-era just fine.

-I *seriously* could not love Cougar Town and Community more. Cougar Town *is* Scrubs, reborn without daydreams and internal monologue. The cast interactions have gelled so fantastically that it reads like a sitcom that's been on the air for years. Community is a bit more self-aware and absurd, but it's very emotionally truthful. Between those two shows and Castle, I could get by with watching only shows that start with the letter C, if I had to. (But I would be sad to miss Tabatha's Salon Takeover, which is mine and Kayla's new thing, because we love competent women who make people cry.)

-HEY! I just found my old collection of fortune cookies. (My current ones are: "Adventure can be real happiness" and "Use your instincts now." My old collection includes "Education is the movement from darkness to light." (I wrote beneath that one: "So is phototropism."))

-And THAT is a picture of the Bronte parsonage in snow. *grab* Need that for my Jane Elliott collage.

-I purchased STORY by Robert McKee on audible.com, and started listening to it today. And promptly turned it off, after screaming obscenities at it. Mr. McKee says that because we are all horrible, cynical people with eroded values who live and breathe by the code of relativism, that there has been an erosion of story. We can't get good stories from Hollywood because we don't have the morals to appreciate story. We can't tell good stories because we can't impart the values that people need to know.


Did I mention I was SCREAMING obscenities at my radio after this? Because, between Unitarian Universalism, anthropology, and a particular preference for the protection of civil liberties, I am, yes, deeply relativist in my moral world view. Cultural relativism, mainly--as long as it doesn't impede on individual human rights. Informed consent, mutual consent, and consent in general--as long as there's that, people should be allowed do what they need to do, and I should not be allowed to stop them. To me, that is the core of my value system, and my ethics system. (I think library-ness comes in there, too--the ALA Code of Ethics comes in there, too; I haven't worked in libraries for 15 years without that stuff seeping in.)

I promise you, my being what I believe to be a reasonable human being does NOT impede my ability to deal in story. Either to hear it or to tell it.


-Anger aside, I am going to a) start cleaning the basement tomorrow; b) buy a new heat register at the hardware store so we can stop baking our plants on the plant stand; c) schedule a massage.

-And d) finish finishing my damn book

-I got more and more anxious while thinking about going back to my new doctor, the one who was so terribly dismissive of my heel pain, and on top of that, when I asked to have a pelvic exam, basically said, "Why would you want one of those?" Like, dude. You're a doctor. AREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE TELLING ME TO GET ONE? And also, she didn't care about any of my other bloodwork, even though my good cholesterol is too low, and other things. All she cared about was my vitamin D. So anyway, I got a recommendation from the fabulous redmomoko, and I'm going to go see her doctor. But not until May. Because that's how far out they're scheduling her. WHATEVER. NEW DOCTOR, YAY. Old doctor? NOT A GOCTOR! (tip of the hat to porphyrin and mrissa and Robin, there.)
if I were me

Now, for those who HAVE read Jane Eyre...

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And yet, Hollywood (okay, the BBC, really) persists in portraying Mr. Rochester with the hottest hotties that hotted. Like Toby Stephens.

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Also, don't you think Toby should totally play Damian Lewis's brother sometime?

Actually, I lied. Hollywood does an okay job at not finding the hottest hotties that hotted for the rest of the Rochesters. But they have yet to find anyone actually ugly for the role. I think Orson Welles comes closest:

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The forehead is so right! And he's not... chiselly. The way Toby is. And his eyes are skeery.

I disapproved of moon-faced Ciaran Hinds in this role, though I'm looking at the pics and thinking: you-gly.

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And John Hurt is far too blond. And let us not speak of Timothy Dalton. He was up there way past Toby Stephens in the classically handsome land, though not personally to my taste.

So I started to really think: what DID Rochester look like? Collapse )

Nah. I probably only think that because of Orson Welles.

Mr. Rochester was Charlotte Bront;ë's weird mish-mash of (certainly) her youthful fantasies based on Lord Byron and (probably) the married man she fell in love with while at school in Brussels, Constantin Heger (also, her teacher). The physical descriptions of Heger and Rochester are pretty much a match, and Heger didn't mind reducing Charlotte to tears in the course of teaching her, which, okay, somehow fits with Rochester in my mind.

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So. Rochester is basically built like a wrestler, or... something. And looks like Heger. Ish. So....

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Yes, that's professional wrestler Hunter Hearst Helmsley.

I am SO going to literary hell.