- Thu, 15:03: I had no idea manatees wore snorkels and wet suits. I am learning so much in Florida! http://t.co/p3juOQEf2o
In my quest to blog, and my inability to think of anything to blog about, I've been randomly looking at old blog entries. And I realized that it was at the end of January in 2006, halfway through my MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, that I sold my first book, Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend, which the awesome editor Andrew Karre took off the slush pile and made a million times better.
Anyway, this is weird.
It's weird because it:
1. Seems like two years ago and not ALMOST A DECADE!
2. Has made me realize that if I've been doing this for ALMOST A DECADE, I should not feel so bizarre when I write down AUTHOR as my profession when applying for a credit card or mortgage or something.
3. Made me realize that by now I should be better at copyediting my own blog posts and status updates and tweets and not have so many typos.
Also, it is weird because I was kind of calm about it when it happened. Here is the evidence in the form of the original blog post.
So, despite the fact tha)t I can't spell, the nice editor man called me back yesterday and talked to me for 40 minutes and told me all the good stuff about my book and what he thinks could get better. It was like talking to a Vermont College mentor. It was really cool. He was brilliant and really, really nice. And he's starting the book through the acquisitions process at his imprint, which is really cool...
But, I'm not getting my hopes up about it, until papers are signed.
Still, he had the best insight on the piece and I am so excited about working on it. So, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to go work on it. He only wants another 10,000 words. Geesh. Piece of cake.
I currently have six more books under contract. Now. In 2015. I am super excited about them. Three are middle grade with Bloomsbury. Three are young adult with Tor. And the thing is? It doesn't feel like nearly enough. When I was at Vermont, my advisors would laugh at me because I was:
1. Goofy and they liked goofy
2. Way too productive
3. Liked revision soooo much
4. Capable of telling a joke
But the thing is, I am so lucky. I might feel like six books under contract aren't nearly enough (my poor agent), but I will never forget how lucky and happy I am that I get to write AUTHOR on all those business forms. If you're a pre-published author, I can't wait for the day when you get to do that, too. Remember to post about it so you can look back nine years later and be all, "Whoa.... Did that happen? Wow."
So, I am vaguely having a sad day today, which is totally fine because EVERYONE has sad days, right?
But today is one of those days where the sad is sort of focused on wondering why people sometimes suck sooooo much. I know! I know! Not a terribly mature thought. It's also about how acquaintances are so terribly different from friends and that you should never confuse the two.
Because I need to actually blog occasionally, I started perusing my old LiveJournal entries for inspiration and the first one I found was from 2006, January, the same week as now. It's mostly about my car being broken, me not knowing what to write about. Then it sort of moved over into a tale about how the car was so sick that it's transmission was broken, the tow truck guy couldn't fix it, and had to take it away. I had been okay with this and even being stuck at home when at 12:30 p.m. the school called.
“Mommy, I don’t feel well,” Em’s little voice had said on the phone. “Can you come get me?”
Of course, I could. I’d just dash into the car and save the day and –
I slumped to the kitchen floor. My worst mommy nightmare had come true. Emily needed me and I wasn’t right there. I had no car. If you know me and you know Maine's rural nature, this was a huge deal for me.
I called a friend. He came right away, driving past my road of course, but hey, he did turn around when he saw me jumping up and down, screaming and waving a large HELP ME flag in the air. We picked up my little girl and brought the feverish, stuffy head, fever, but she can still talk, little pumpkin home.
That friend saved my day. I tried to sing him that old “That’s What Friends are For” song that was popular in the 1980s. Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick sang it on Solid Gold and held hands. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember all the words.
Holding his ears, he said that was okay and sped the car up a little bit and said I could stop singing. Please.
I owed him. I still owe him big. But he died two years later and I will never get to pay him back for all the times he made me laugh or missed my road or rescued me.
And even right now, when I need him because I am thinking about how fickle people can be, how integrity is often a word that is more about how cohesive a car's frame is than a person's character, he finds me through an old blog post, reminding me how important friends are and how good and dependable people can sometimes be.
And also that I need to buy cars that don't break.
And not to freak out if I'm not right there for Emily instantly.
So, thank you, Don Radovich. I still miss you.
When Em was eight, she was in this children's choir. It was a fantastic sounding choir in a town about 25 minutes away from where we lived.
Eight-year-old Em loved to sing.
She hated the choir.
"Why?" I'd ask her every Wednesday as we drove over.
"The guy is creepy," she said, referring to the choir director.
"Creepy how?" I'd ask.
"He's just mean and controlling and he hates all the girls."
So, we stuck it out to the first concert in December. Then she quit.
Three years later the creepy choir man was been arrested for allegedly touching a few 10 or 11 year old boys' genitalia through their pants.
When it happened, I didn't know how to tell Em, so I just did, asking her first why she didn't like the choir.
"Oh, that guy, he was just so creepy," she said, trying to get her hair into a ponytail. "I really hated him."
"What was it that made him creepy?" I ask, terrified, worried, fingers crossed.
She shrugs. "He just was one of those people."
"What kind of people?"
"The kind that gives you heebie jeebies."
I swallowed, told her what happened. She got really mad at him, but was totally unsurprised.
She said she hated him. She talked about how bad she felt for the boys.
Then she looked triumphant. "I told you he was a creep."
"You thought he was creepy too, remember? That's why you let me quit."
I wonder if some people like Em just have super radar, that they can tell things without knowing. If something whispers in their ears telling them to be safe. And why not all of us have it. Or maybe we don't listen to it, because we're so concerned about being polite or nice.
This guy, a lot of people liked him, thought he was a great choir director, were really proud to have their kids sing in his group. But a couple other people, people like Em, didn't want to have anything to do with him.
"He ruined singing," she said. "He really ruined it."
Recently, I saw a post on Facebook from this man who filled his feed and his political discourse with hate. I'm used to this from anonymous people, but this guy? He is friends with 76 of my friends and these are political big-wigs, women, men, other people I respect. The man called a female leader in our state government a 'dick,' and 'dumb.' Another guy in the comments called for her to be publically executed after first having a masectomy via cheese grater. He also called for an independent candidate for governor to be run over.
It made me sick. Just like Em's choir director made me sick. Advocating hate, committing violence? It's not cool. Hurting kids? Beyond not cool. Saying a woman needs to be executed after first being mutilated? Disgusting.
The thing is? It happens all the time. Those horrible things. It happens in our communities, on our computers, sometimes in our own homes. And when we see it? We have to do something. We have to.
Last night I dreamed this cute medium-sized poodle was trying to bite Em's ear off. Em was still a little person in my dream and I picked her up, tried to fend the dog off, but it kept coming at us, leaping for her face and her ear. I tried to yell, "Help" to all these nameless, faceless people who had their backs to us, but my voice was just this tiny whisper squeak. No matter how loudly I tried to yell, I couldn't make my voice any louder.
I hate dreams like that, when you know the meaning behind them, and you just want to swear at your subconscious mind and say, "I know! I know! Hold off on the nightmares. I've got it already."