Thursday, July 15, 2010

Yeah, it's probably mean and bad for my karma, but what the hell...

Writers, those curious about writers, editors, sadists, whomever...check this out:

Damn, damn funny. Thanks, Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary for posting this on her blog today. Omigod, my stomach hurts from laughing. All evil laughs, of course. And I feel mildly better about my query letters because of it.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010 summer?

Second to the last week of school, one of the kindergartners shows up hacking his brains out. As often happens with the younger crowds, the communicability was, shall we say, considerable. Everyone got sick. Lucifer brought it home, shared it with Bueno, who shared it with Princess. By proxy, Dad got it, and because we breathe the same air for eight hours every night, I got it. Which is weird, 'cuz I rarely get it. I think this time I was the biggest baby, though, believe it or not, flat on my back for two whole days last week feeling super sorry for myself. But that was soooooome headache, dude, seriously.

Back in the saddle here, though, and catching up on all the crap I didn't pay attention to while I was whining away the hours. Watched The Eclipse (Ciaran Hinds, Aidan Quinn) as promised, and while it was good, it didn't make it for review this week. Wrote and submitted A Single Man for the ChicMom column (should be up sometime in the next few days), with Colin Firth and Julianne Moore. I'll keep you in suspense and send you to the review itself before telling you if I loved it or not.

I've been watching so many friggin' movies lately--I do that when I'm stumped on a writing project, hoping it will provide inspiration. Managed to get hold of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo--terrific film, if you can handle the subtitles. I <3 Lisbeth Salander! Caught up with an oldie from 2002--Sam Rockwell in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind--if you haven't seen this, it's definitely worth picking up. Sam Rockwell is THE most underutilized actor in Hollywood, and certainly in the top three BEST actors out there. Dude is a chameleon. Coincidentally, we watched Moon last week, too, another Rockwell flick (we're on a Rockwell kick around here), and while the premise was a little weak, his acting is grade A.

I'm embarrassed to admit we watched Hot Tub Time Machine and laughed our asses off, but don't watch it with the kiddos around. LOTS of swearing and sex. I found myself blushing with my 16-year-old on the couch next to me. "Cover your ears, Princess!" If you were at all a John Cusack fan wayyyyy back in the '80s, you will get a chuckle out of HTTM. Ridiculous but good for a laugh.

Took the kiddos to see Despicable Me on Sunday. Great film. Tight writing, awesome comedy, even some terrific subliminal stuff tucked in for adult enjoyment. (Gru, the super-villain, played by Steve Carell, is walking into the Bank of Evil for a loan. The sign reads: BANK OF EVIL / Formerly Lehman Brothers. I laughed out LOUD and embarrassed my whole family. Seems I was the only one who caught it, which is understandable considering the average age in the theatre was probably, like, nine, but Lehman Bros., as you will recall, was the banking and investment firm that initiated the most recent global economic meltdown. Bank of Evil is right!) Fun film, adorable little kids to yank at those heart strings. We loved it.

For this week, there are so many titles to choose from (it IS DVD Tuesday today!) -- Chloe (Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Amanda Seyfried), The Greatest (Pierce Brosnan, Carey Mulligan, Susan Sarandon), Greenberg (Ben Stiller), 8: The Mormon Proposition (award-winning documentary I will NOT be missing!), and Our Family Wedding (America Ferrera, Forest Whitaker -- looks cute). I'm definitely going to need a bigger column. I should talk to my editor about that...

Again am entrenched in the waiting game, waiting to hear back from queries sent to agents. Had some bad news last week--these two messages literally arrived within 30 seconds of one another, no shit--a hard-core rejection from an agent I thought may have liked me, and news from my oldest child that he will be deploying to Afghanistan in Feb 2011. THAT was a rotten day. But move forward, I must, and the feedback I've had from a few early readers has been really positive. Really the only thing that has kept me going on this project at all. I love it so much, but what if no one else does? What if it ends up in the round file like so many other projects have? I've long passed that million-word benchmark the veterans tell us we have to write. I'm not a newbie. I just haven't ever tried to publish anything because I've been too...scared. Now I want into the game, but the game is being fickle. As hell.

That's the thing that people don't get--if you're a writer, it's expected that you just...write. That you have an endless supply of words. Perhaps for some writers, that's true, but for me, a raging perfectionist with OCD tendencies, every word has to be perfect. I obsess over every combination of letters I choose--too many adverbs (I HATE adverbs!)? Is that adjective necessary? Should that be past perfect or just past tense? What would Hemingway do here? Obviously the obsessive tendencies do not extend to the blog (lucky you!)--this is a different beast altogether. But when I look at recently published titles that have hit the Big Time with Great Fanfare and Giant Movie Deals, some of the writing is...subpar. I don't want to be that writer.

And don't feed me your line of BS that you write because it makes your heart sing. If you don't want to make money doing this, you're a fool. Or maybe your bank vault is already bursting its seams. Mine? Not so much. I write because it's like a cancer. I can't excise it from my body. It's just there, always has been. No matter how much I've ignored it in the past, it rears its ugly head and somehow makes me feel better. Like built-in heroin (though, I must admit, I've never tried heroin. Maybe like built-in Prozac?).

The heroes exist among us, in all genres of writing. And there are so many I love, I cannot even begin to bow low enough to present myself with adequate humility. Maybe if I crawled under the top layer of soil and groveled at their feet... For YA, JK Rowling is phenomenal, as is Meg Rosoff, old-school Judy Blume, my fave up-and-comer Hannah Moskowitz, Suzanne Collins. In fact, Collins' third book in the Hunger Games series (book 3 is called Mockingjay) comes out in August--I cannot WAIT. The Hunger Games is a raw piece of work, brilliantly crafted, genius idea. Lions Gate has optioned the film rights and a screenplay is in the works with novelist Collins at the helm. Fabulous! Yeah, get your hands on it if you haven't. It's pretty hard core stuff for a YA title.

But I digress. (Imagine that.) Bottom line is, if I don't have words, I ain't got nothin'. I want the words to lead to publication, to readership, to strong out-of-the-gate numbers, to consistency, to more work, to more books, to more built-in Prozac. I don't want to be a one-hit wonder, a one-trick pony. What's wrong with wanting it all?