I’m over at Word Whores today, talking about being a fraud as a writer – but also how I still think antagonists don’t have to be people.
Craving the Pain
We bought rain barrels. Plastic ones that won’t, oh, fall over and shatter. Not as pretty, but far better for the long term.
We’ve realized that last year, our first year in Santa Fe, spoiled us terribly, with all the snow and rain. This year is far more dry and we fell behind on watering. We’re catching up now, and the flowers are coming along. Fortunately, as children of the West, David and I are both habitual water-savers. We just need to adjust our thinking, take it a bit further.
I am thinking longer-term in many ways.
I mentioned yesterday that I’m not willing to take The Body Gift to self-pubbing, or even digital publishing yet. See, I have a Plan. This is a Plan suggested to me by a lovely agent-friend who can’t take me on as a client right not, but offered me unlimited advice. (I’m not sure if that’s just her very gracious way of saying no while remaining friendly and supportive, but I don’t care. She also told me I seem to be doing just fine on my own and you know where flattery will get you with me. Hey, I’m a Leo – I can’t help it!)
At any rate, she suggested that with each new novel, I shoot as high as I can, walk it through all the Big Show venues and then, if no one bites, offer it to digital. I like this plan. I know many scoff, because it’s still clinging to the traditional route, which so many are forsaking. Why put myself through the pain of the Big Filter when I could just skip all the rejection and waiting, go straight to Smashwords or one of the innumerable start-up epresses that seem to snap up all and sundry.
I want the filter.
I want the writing I put out in the world to be the very best it can be. Even though I hate the pain, I want my work to receive ruthless editing and the stern eye of marketing. I know NYC can have a narrow view. I also know traditional publishing has been putting out incredible books for my entire life.
I want that to be my books.
And I don’t know about all of you, but I’ve been reading a lot of less-than-stellar stuff lately. Digital publishing is coming up in the world and some of the digital imprints seem to have pretty high standards. Others…. erm. Not so much. As much as I would love someone to embrace my book and publish it, I don’t want it at the price of quality. I’d rather revise.
I know it’s hard to know these days, what a press’s standards are. But if you look around, you can figure it out. Read their books and you’ll know. The ones who haven’t put out any books yet are a bigger gamble. Every publisher has some lemons, or books that you hate. More than once I’ve wondered what Ace was thinking, or who is reading some of what Kensington puts out. I also know they have exhaustive acquisitions processes, so I figure I’m not their reader.
So, I don’t want to be the person who doesn’t want to belong to any club that would stoop to admitting the likes of me, but I do want to make the grade.
I want to be part of the Big Show.
And I won’t stop until I get there.
Where the Deer and the Antelope Waddle
Lots of whining lately about all the rain.
Understandable. It gets old. Those of us in the sunny West rely upon our average of 330 sunny days each year. The last two weeks of nearly unceasing rain has people making grumbling remarks about Seattle. They also make absurd statements like “Since when did Denver get a monsoon season?” This from people I went to high school with. Who have lived in Denver for 40+ years. They should know better.
Before the drought, our Junes were always cool and rainy. They’ve forgotten.
Memories are short. And subjective experience seems to be the shortest. We’ve been in a drought for ten years now. An entire decade. Did you remember it had been that long. I didn’t — I’d been saying eight years. Now I’m wondering which two years I lost… At any rate, this decade-long drought in the western states has exceeded the infamous Dust Bowl.
Nobody seems to know this.
Of course, we don’t have the icons of that drought. The enormous dust clouds. The ragged people fleeing the farms to wander the cites with their belongings on carts. Technology allows us to irrigate, to control the flows of the rivers, to truck in water. Instead of losing livelihoods, our urban lives are impacted by hot, sunny days, perfect for recreation.
Now people are saying they miss the drought. They’re right — there isn’t much of one at the moment. (That link updates weekly, so if you’re reading this later, the map might be different. But what it shows as of June 9, 2009, is small patches of abnormally dry soil in the West and huge swathes of soil with normal moisture — it’s a miracle, really.)
It was like this, in the before time. I remember the summer I turned 16. I babysat for two kids and we would ride our bikes in the chilly rain to their golf and tennis lessons. When I was young, I used to write in my books the date I finished them. (No, I don’t know why.) I finished Little House in the Big Woods on June 8, 1974 and I noted that it was snowing. With an exclamation point. Cold and rainy, yes — even then snow in Denver on June 8 was remarkable.
Of course we’re all tired of the rain. We want to sit on our patios. We want to play in the mountains and soak up the western sunshine. We’ve had enough of cold and want summer already.
But in all the wanting for the warmth, let’s take a moment to give thanks for the rain.