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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dear Novel: I Miss You. Love, Mom

"You ever read any Nietzsche? Nietzsche says there's two kinds of people in the world: people who are destined for greatness like Walt Disney... and Hitler. Then there's the rest of us, he called us "the bungled and the botched." We get teased. We sometimes get close to greatness, but we never get there. We're the expendable masses. We get pushed in front of trains, take poison aspirin... get gunned down in Dairy Queens."
~Jack Lucas [
drunk and talking to the Pinocchio doll] from "The Fisher King"


I spy with my little Asian eyes that it's been a couple weeks since my last entry.

*pats self on back*

I had been thinking about writing in here off/on for the past week, and I was afraid that when I came back here, I'd find the last post was from eons ago.  Thank goodness that's not the case.

So, what have *I* been up to lately?  Well... since you asked, let me tell you.

I recently got a temp job doing some accounting at a car dealership.  The people there are very nice.  I started earlier this month (around the 4th and without having to interview which was faboo).  It's currently part-time until the chic I'll be covering for goes on maternity leave (which I think she said would be sometime next month - which I only heard her say in passing to someone else who asked).  She's currently training me now.  When she goes on leave, I'll be full-time until she gets back.

What seems to have happened is kind of what I was dreading: that work is killing my writing.

Sleep is all kinds of wonky, and now that I'm working again, I'm usually tired when I get home.  Most of the time I sit in my room feeling like some zombie-author with all these interesting stories to tell but all that comes out in Unnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggghhhhhhh!!!  (And I suppose the only craving for brains I would have would not be for nourishment but to help me think/work/write.)

Then again, if eating brains actually helped my writing...

I had one miracle week where my sleep was normal.

When I got back from San Diego and NERDHQ, my insomnia decided to take a vacation.  Either that or it was as if we accidentally ditched it back in the mountains or something.

Don't worry.  It came back... like the infamous cat.  (You know the one.)

To think, I had this wonderful week of waking up (naturally) between 8am and 9am and then going to sleep (actual sleep) no later than midnight.

Holy crap! - you say?  So said I... for a while.  But alas it was too good to last.

Anyway, I'm rambling.  (Back to writing.)

During training, I kept thinking of my novel (I can hear its cries of anguish and abandon right as I type this), but my mind has somehow built a wall around it and has suppressed it like a bad memory or something.  Literally - I think of my baby, and... nothing.  I'm trying to channel my Q abilities and materialize an axe or sledgehammer to help tear that wall down (since so far wishing it or commanding it away hasn't worked).  I think I'm chipping away at it, but it's a really SLOW process.  Ugh!

Meanwhile, back at the lab...

I wrote this on my Everything At Least Once blog (I'm trying to stray away from food since that seems to be the only thing on there that I write about - I want to write about a little bit of everything, and since I have curly hair and trying out new stuff on my hair, I thought... why not?)  In any case, it isn't much, but it's something.

One of my writing buddies (Maggie C.) emailed me this writing contest about past loves, and I entertained the idea that I was going to do this.  But then days turned into weeks and sure enough the deadline fast approached, and I had nothing.  I was thinking about giving up when all of a sudden [insert triumphant music here], I started formulating an idea.  Granted it was about seven days within the deadline... and it was just a glimmer of an idea (since I had NO idea how to write the damn thing in the first place)... and how I originally thought the deadline was the week prior to the actual deadline...

Yeah, I'm a doof!  Yeah yeah.  Blow me.

Work had me coming in late the day of said deadline (which was the 17th by midnight) so after work on the 16th, I was at home deciding to not go to bed until I was done with something I could possibly submit.

The premise?
*******
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: No entry fee

Nearly everyone has memories of a former sweetheart. Write your true story of an earlier love, in no more than 700 words. Tell us about someone whose memory brings a smile or a tear, or both:
  • What feelings arise if you allow yourself to be fully open to remembering that person?
  • What is it about that special someone that you still cherish?
  • IN PARTICULAR, how did that person's presence in your life change you and how you experience the world?
Your story may be heart-warming or humorous. Just tell about your earlier sweetheart as if you were talking to your best friend.
*******
So the only relationship that came to mind was my biggest, most dysfunctional one to date which stemmed from an "OMFG! What was I thinking?" time of my life.  Not being able to really wrap my head around any other relationship I've had, I settled on the "OMFG" option.

Now at first I thought I'd just submit a story I wrote a couple years ago per an assignment given to me by another fellow writing buddy (Alithea), and out of curiosity, I checked the word count of said old story.

Wanna guess on the word count? 

Go ahead.

...

I'll wait.

I guess you give up, right?  Either that or I'm just impatient.  In either case, the old story was over 6k in words.  (6246 words to be precise.)  The contest was a limit of 700.  Immediately, I wondered if I could condense 6k+ down to 700.  I was feeling pretty hopeless when I couldn't think I could do it.  The only choice was to write something new in the same vein.  As time went on, and I re-read the prompt, I thought the old story sounded rather depressing and serious... so the new challenge I had put upon myself was to make the new condensed version a little lighter.

While working on the story the night before it was due for submission, I had issues with editing.  I finally got the story itself done, but it counted at 800+ words so I had to cut stuff out.

Yeah... word limits?  They can suck my butt!

In the end I got my story done, complete with editing.

Being the weirdo writer I am, I wanted someone else to read it and let me know what they thought.  I had texted Maggie C., but she didn't have internet at her place yet and apologized for not being able to help me out.  I had Facebook'd and Tweet'd for assistance in the proofreading department.  I had spoken with my brother a day or so prior and brought up the contest with him in conversation, and he said he'd read it.  A couple of others said they would as well, so I emailed the story to them and then hit the sack.

Before I left for work, I checked my email (both via iPhone and on the minibook), and nothing.  Maggie C. texted me to ask if I'd gotten anyone to help.  I told her I had sent it out to three people but hadn't heard back from any of them.  She told me to email it to her anyway, and if she happened to be somewhere with internet access, she'd check it.  Since I was on my way to work, I said I'd send it through my phone if I could.  If not, when I got home. 

I checked my email all day.  No replies from anyone I sent it to.

When I got home, I sent it to Maggie C., texted her I sent it, and waited.  I had decided if I hadn't heard back from anyone, I would just send it "as is" by 9pm to make sure there wasn't a weird time zone issue, etc.

Almost immediately, I received a text back from Maggie C. who ended up reading my story on her phone.  Since she couldn't edit the document via her cell, she gave me comments.  I thanked her muchly and decided to wait for the others.

No one else contacted me prior to my deadline.

I prepped the email, freaked out, prayed to any deity/higher being that would listen, and hit 'send'.

One of my friends contacted me apologizing saying she probably missed the deadline, but she liked the story.  (That was two for two so far.  Yay me!)  I thanked her for trying.  She lives on another continent for frak sakes.  And at least she got back to me around the time of my deadline.

I'm just assuming with the other two people that life got in the way and left it at that.

So my story is out there... sent into the contest ether... and now... I wait.

Gawd, I hate waiting.

After Maggie C. read my story and told me to submit it (big ball of encouragement she is), she told me to write something new.  When I posed the question "Such as?", she replied with "a new essay, a new story" and then sent me a link to a site with possible writing contests, jobs, etc.  It looks really informative, filled with tons of stuff, and I want to write a story for one of them.  Being tired from work and insomnia being a cruel mistress, my brain takes one look at the site and turns to mush as well as my body not wanting to move any more once its... you know... stopped. 

She sent a couple other ones as well.  I think I'll look at them when my mind isn't so soft and liquidy and ready to seep out of my ears, pores or any other orifice it can escape from.


Sheesh.

My goal of being published by my 35th birthday (which is this November) isn't just for a novel (although that would be most excellent).  It's for anything: magazine, paper... contest?  I had asked this via my Twitter and Facebook, and now I post it here.

What do you consider "published"?  Does it have to be in print?  Like a magazine or a book or something of that nature?  Or would you consider having your work posted on a website being "published"?

Curious on your thoughts about this.

In other news, an idea that has been floating about in my noggin for another story (totally spy/scifi/action stuff).  I came up with the idea a while ago, but it's been poking my brain wanting attention.  I don't want to work on it until my book is done.  I want to finish it first... finish something of that magnitude first.  These little short stories and bits on the side are fine, but my novel?

Sheesh.

One novel at a time, brain.  Got that?  That okay with you?

Oh Calgon.... take me away... and don't forget the drinks!

All righty.  That's it for now.  Anyone have any helpful suggestions to get me unblocked from my lonely little novel?  Right now, I'm thinking a hammer to my head is a last resort, but I'm open to ideas?

In the meantime, I think I'm going to sign off on this blog post and catch some shut-eye.  (See ya around peeps!)

Later my lovelies!

Have Goodness!
Rae

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