Gah! Tearing My Hair Out!

For those of you bemoaning my lack of presence here (or not) it’s not that I don’t like you (or love you), because I really do. I’m up to my eyeballs in work, and trying to get those damnedable first four or five chapters re-written.

I spent Monday and Tuesday of last week poring over the sentences, barely able to take anything out but adverbs. That’s because my protagonist is an intelligent person, but her brains have been reduced to ditziness after 20 odd years of marriage. It’s hard to convey those abstract qualities in few words.

Wednesday I came to my senses. Though I had eliminated 5K worth of adverbs and “thats” 170K words is about 50K too many. I took to the knife and wacked out entire chunks, paragraphs falling to the wayside willy and nilly.

Re-reading my weeding, I couldn’t make any sense of it.

I took a step back on Friday and Saturday due to nice weather. Since a week’s worth of rain was in the forecast, I had to get in grape vine pruning and raking during the two good days I had available.

By Saturday night, I was feeling quite irritated with the whole thing.  I really want to get my portion of the re-write completed by the end of May, and that’s going to be tough since 1. I’m a world class procrastinator and 2. I’m lazy. “Daunting” is not a strong enough adjective to describe this task.

In addition, there’s some truth to be said for the fact that writers are often weary of their work, especially during the re-write process. Then Saturday night, I had a dream about my book, which is good. I woke up at 3 a.m. and began to think.

Such a revelation means only one thing: I’m going to have to re-write the entire first 13 chapters from scratch, taking bits and pieces from the 50K or more words I have written to describe the first part of this journey.

So, if you’re wondering where I am, I’ll be up to my eyeballs in angst.

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The Chicken Begins Running With Her Head Off

In eight days, I will be in San Francisco, in advance of a writers’ conference I signed up for last year.

I had good intentions. I paid for the conference back in March. I paid for my plane ticket back in September. I have lined up a rental car using gift certificates, so that’s taken care of. I even have my son dropping me off at the hotel location, because it’s in a very congested and chi-chi area of downtown and parking is $80 a day.

I have toiled at my novel full steam since the first of November. I’ve somehow managed to add an additional 100,000 words since then. There are three, maybe four more chapters to go. I’ve been good, even though I’ve done other things, like work, eat, play the violin, make jewelry, etc. There was the holiday and the extended stay of Ms. MiniD, always a disruptive influence. I’ve even had time to be sick.

Now comes crunch time, and I feel like a chicken with her head cut off.

I have been working with an online business card company that specializes in authors. I had trouble sending in my photograph (actually, the real trouble came finding one that doesn’t make me look like a serial killer) and my emails kept bouncing back. It’s been ten days, and so far no word. In a panic, I emailed again on Saturday. Nothing.

I still need to get with an attorney so I can wrap up the novel. That’s because an attorney plays a prominent part in the ending. I have emailed our business attorney, hoping for some free input. The guy is nice, but he’s one of those super-slick shyster dudes, and his office, in a very trendy neighborhood, likely has a high lease. However, I feel comfortable with him, so I even promised to pay. Hopefully, he’ll be like my other advisors and will take a mention in the beginning of the book instead.

Finally, I have new clothes and have been exercising like a fiend to fit into my old ones. Some writer who sends me newsletters suggested I get a smokin’ hot red dress. I don’t want to look like a hooker, so I bought some red cashmere sweaters instead. After my daughter returned to school (that was the longest six weeks of my life), I found out she raided my bathroom and all my cosmetics are GONE. (I might slap on some make up once in a blue friggin’ moon, so I expect it all to be there when I need it.)

I hope I don’t look like a boob. There’s always the possibility I might laugh too hard, look needy, or become unexpectedly mute.

GAH!

When Too Much Information is a Bad Thing

In my last post, RN commented that do we really want to know everything our grown, college-aged children are doing?

After the past couple of days, I would have to say “no.”

Late Friday, my daughter’s last Boy Du Jour – now her EX-BDJ – messaged me on Facebook to tell me the news. If you know me, you know my relationship with my daughter is going through a phase of sorts. (Honestly, at one time she and I were best buds, but now her personality is rather split on whether she wants to be my friend or completely disregard me. I think that’s normal teenage rebellion, that might work its way around in, oh, say maybe ten years or so?) I had just enjoyed a lengthy conversation with her the night before, and so felt the universe was back on an even rotation.

Well, I might be wrong.

After writing of his teenage angst over being dumped, Ex-BDJ then informed me that he believed she was partying (wildly) and hooking up with guys. How he would know this from 2,400 miles away, I’m not sure. I witnessed myself a gradual cooling of their relationship over the last three weeks just by reading their Facebook posts. In some ways, I was not unhappy about it. They had gotten a bit too close to each other for my tastes, and it’s not because I didn’t like the kid. I liked him plenty, it’s just that both are too young to pledge undying and eternal love. I know this as a parent (and someone who has lived this exact scenario before), but try saying that to a headstrong couple of 18-year-olds.

My initial reaction was to lose whatever breath I had in my lungs. Then I thought about it. He has to be pretty pissed off over the dumpage, so coming up with an elaborate “gotcha” for mom would be in order. No one takes rejection so well that they forgive and forget, not within the first 24 hours anyway. My daughter’s campus and her dorm area are DRY, and if she gets caught with alcohol on premises, she is likely to be tossed out (of the dorms anyway) on her cute little behind. Being 18 and on her own, I know she is wanting to drink, even though it’s not quite legal for her to do so. We’ve given both kids a little alcohol in advance of college, so that they would not want to get totally plastered once two thousand miles away.

This approach has had mixed results. My son, normally a level-headed person of extraordinary means, pretty much got tanked every weekend during his first six months in San Francisco. After his violinist girlfriend dumped him and that late night Golden Gate Bridge fiasco (which was captured on his piano teacher’s voice mail-which is how we learned about it), he settled into a rhythm of partying, which was to rarely do it during the semester and go nuts after finals. (I think he inherited that method of operation from me.)

So I wrote Ex-BDJ back telling him to stay strong, and back off for awhile. Then I called my son to see if he could shed some insight. My son and daughter are 500 miles apart, which is a long way, but it’s much closer than the parental units are to either one of them.

My son, who is painfully truthful about anything in his life (please don’t make me come up with an example… you will not want to hear it) told me his sister text-messaged him (coincidentally, right after she talked to me) about how big that bottle of Jaegermeister was that he had brought home this summer (he’s 21 now, so it’s legal for him), and that hers was just as big!

Well, it was hard for me not to make that scathing bitch-mom phone call to LA, but I managed not to do it. I waited until yesterday to call, but of course, now that she has a bit of cash in her bank account, she is not picking up her phone or answering voicemail.

There are some days where I would like to subject myself to the Vulcan mind-meld and erase the memory of having children. Hmm, add their friends to that, and while you’re at it, include the stupid first husband and all the bad boyfriends.

There are many more days when I say a prayer and keep my fingers crossed.