Tara: Oh, hey, Blog. How are you?
Blog: “Oh, hey?” Is that all you have to say?
Tara: What’s wrong? You sound mad.
Blog: What’s wrong? You disappear for weeks, and then you show up all friendly, “Oh, hey,” like I’m not supposed to notice or anything?
Tara: Okay – what is going on?
Blog: I can’t believe you could treat me like this. I thought you were better than that.
Tara: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Blog: It’s that book, isn’t it? You’ve been writing that book.
Tara: I never lied to you about the book. I told you I was writing a book.
Blog: But you used to write the book AND write me. So what happened? All of a sudden you’re in love with the book, and I’m out like last week’s loser on Project Runway?
Tara: You know I care about you. That hasn’t changed.
Blog: But you’re in love with that book, right?
Tara: Don’t compare yourself. It’s totally different. I don’t love the book more than you, it’s just …
Blog: What? The book is all literary and stuff, and I’m just a little amusement? I have feelings, you know.
Tara: Blog, come on. Stop it. Yes, it’s true, I have been spending a lot of time with the book lately. I needed to commit. It’s just something I had to do. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still like you.
Tara: You each give me different things. The book is deeper.
Blog: Thanks a lot. I can be deeper, you know. You’ve never tried to be deeper with me.
Tara: I don’t want you to be deeper. I like you the way you are. You’re fun. You’re … easy.
Blog: Great. That’s what every blog wants to hear. “You’re easy.” I’m so glad I’m here for you to have your little fun with.
Tara: Look, I’m sorry. I know I haven’t been around as much lately, and that was wrong of me. But this is something I really have to do right now.
Blog: But I can help you. You need me, you know. You think you’re just going to write a book and ride off into the sunset? What about a platform, huh? What about publicity? What about an audience. I can give you all those things.
Tara: I know. I know. And I want those things – I really do. But right now, I can’t think about that. I just have to write!
Blog: So write me! You used to love writing me! You wrote me every day! We had fun. Don’t tell me you didn’t feel it, because I know you did.
Tara: I did. I still do. Why are you making me choose? I want both of you. Lots of writers have both.
Blog: But you have to give me something – a little attention, a post here and there. I’m not a saint, you know. I have needs too!
Tara: I’m sorry. I am. I know I’ve been neglecting you. But I do need you. I do want you there with me.
Blog: Words are easy. You of all people should know that.
Tara: I just … I need a little space right now. I just need to write the book. It’s going really well, and I don’t want to lose momentum.
Blog: Look. You do whatever you have to. I’m not going to hang around waiting for your scraps, is all I’m saying.
Tara: I understand. I’m going to try to make it work. I really am.
Blog: I don’t want empty promises. I want posts. That’s all I’ve wanted from you. It doesn’t have to be every day. Once a week is fine.
Tara: Really? You’re willing to do that?
Blog: Of course. I’m with you in this. I’m part of this. I want what’s best for you. Once a week. That’s all I’m asking. Can you do that?
Tara: Yes. I can. I promise. I’ll change. You’ll see!
Blog: All right. Good. I feel better now.
Tara: I’m glad. I’ve missed you, you know?
Blog: Don’t try to butter me up now. Go – write the book. But remember – once a week.
Tara: Thanks, blog. I won’t let you down.
Blog: And chocolate works, too. Just so you know.
In conjunction with my guest post for the wonderful “La Belette Rouge.” I present my boyfriend. I was thirteen. He knew my very soul. (Plus – the hair!)
You know Tim Gunn? From “Project Runway?” He helps the design contestants as they struggle to complete each new challenge – his motto on the show is “make it work.” I was reading an interview with him on the BlogHer site, written by the fantastic Susan Wagner:
“Gunn’s basic philosophy boils down to his recognizeable tag line: “Make it work!” In A Guide to Quality, Taste, and Style, Gunn writes about the evolution of this philosophy. He watched students, stumped by assignments, abandon the designs they had started midway, in the hopes that the next design would be better. “This practice unnerves me,” he writes, “because it’s like playing roulette with one’s work….Important learning occurs when a struggle is examined and analysed, diagnosed, and a prescription offered. Ergo, make it work.”
The rest of the article goes on to explain Gunn’s philosophy about fashion – that ordinary women can find their own style groove by paying attention to their own inner voice, trusting their own instincts, critiquing themselves, and not giving up.
I think this is fabulous advice, and not just in terms of fashion. I’ve been struggling with the book I’m writing. In the past few weeks I’ve been feeling like I want to give up on it. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t where where I’m going with it. But I can’t let it go – I know there’s something in there, somewhere. I know I had an idea when I started, and there’s still something I want to say, something I’m trying to convey. I keep reading a million blogs about writing, about other people’s books, about what they think or what they did and how they did it. I’ve let a million voices into my head, all giving me conflicting advice about what’s wrong with what I’m writing, and how to change it, and what it needs, and what it is, and what it isn’t. I should turn it into a novel. No – I should make it a serious memoir. No – I should make it a screenplay. No – I should make it a how to guide. NO! NO! NO! There’s so much babbling in my head right now that I can’t hear myself think.
I need to forget about what everyone else is saying – expect maybe Tim Gunn. I need to be quiet, tune out all the voices, and listen to myself. I need to stop trying to change it into something else that someone else wants, and figure out what I want. And I shouldn’t give up. I don’t want to to give up. I want to make it work.
Yesterday I received my second rejection for my book, a humorous non-fiction story of getting married at an older age. The agent called me personally from New York to tell me that he didn’t want to represent me. Which, hey – the agent called me personally! How special am I!!! (And don’t be thinking he’s some schlump with a cell phone working out of Starbucks. He’s a real, legitimate agent with authors who have actual books on Amazon and everything.)
I’m not exactly sure why he called me personally to give me such disappointing news. He did say he really liked my idea and thought it was very well written, if totally lacking in any importance or profundity or anything at all that would ever make anyone ever want to read it. But other than that, he liked it! I’m pretty sure he realized it’s supposed to be funny, although I think I heard the word “fluffy” being uttered. However, my mind might have momentarily strayed to my hair which is reacting badly to the humidity at present, so I can’t really be sure.
Anyway, I’m over it now. Sure, I was slightly taken aback and called my friend Belette and sobbed on the phone for twenty minutes, but honest, I just had something in my eye. She reminded me that he was merely one person with one opinion, and told me I was pretty and that brownies help. (She was so right.) (About the brownies.)
So, today I feel good. I have decided that you have to be in it to win it, and nothing ventured nothing gained. Also, better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. In addition, winners never quit and quitters never win. (HA! And the agent told me my writing is not profound?)
I am preparing to send the proposal out again, to another agent. And then another. And, most likely, many more after that. Because this agent wasn’t right or wrong – he just passed. It wasn’t for him. Nothing to be done, nothing to see here, move along please. I like what I’ve written, and until every single agent tells me no, I want to keep believing that I have something to say and that people will be entertained by it. And maybe even a little bit moved by it. If every agent says no, I’ll go back to the beginning and start again. Because, really, what else do I have to do with my time? It’s just me, the computer, and a box of brownies.
I can’t concentrate. The squirrels are just too damn loud. Seriously, there are hoards of rampaging squirrels running across the roof of my house, right above my desk. They jump from the tree outside and land on the roof (THUMP) and then scurry across the entire length of the house to the other side (SCURRY SCURRY SCURRY SCURRY.) My roof is apparently where all the squirrel freeways merge.
And just now, the tree started shaking violently – like when the smoke monster used to appear in the first season of LOST (but without the thick black smoke.) I looked out to see two squirrels fighting. Road rage. Or tree rage. What ever happened to letting someone merge ahead of you and giving them a friendly wave? These squirrels are mean. Suddenly I feel sad and I need a cookie.
And that is why I’m having trouble rewriting Chapter five. True story.