I write, therefore I wait

giphyWriters write, is what I always say. And as a practitioner of the art, I not only completed one novel recently, but just last week I finished revising another one that had been cooling in my hard drive for a couple of years now.  I did this just after closing out what is commonly known in English academia as The Living Hell That Is the Final Essay End-of-Semester Clusterfuck. (Don’t get me wrong–I love my students. But there’s just something mind-scrambling about spending every living, breathing, waking moment with a red pen in my hand.) After that I thought I’d I’ll give my brain a few weeks to chill, maybe get ambitious for that mile-high to-be-read stack of books  on my end table, or scrape off that pile of unidentifiable goo bridging the gap between the leg of my desk and the wall. Or I can continue on with that new series I’ve been tossing around for awhile now. And I would, if I wasn’t fretting out those two literary babies I just sent out into the world while I molder here in Submission Limbo.

If you’ve submitted, whether query, proposal or full ms. to an editor or agent, then you know what I’m talking about. Because the result is you get to wait and wonder how it’ll ultimately turn out, while going half off your nut obsessing about it. From a query: will they ask for a proposal? From a proposal: will they ask for a full? And after they do, oh Christ, that’s when the real quivering commences, as your hopes get so high you start cruising the Tesla site and actually saying things like, “Hell yeah the Makers Mark’s on me!” And it doesn’t matter if you’ve sold before, and it doesn’t matter if you have an agent. Selling before only makes you feel worse, as an agent may get your foot in the door quicker, but it also makes it slam even faster. So what’s a writer to do?

Two things, actually: cultivate a nice, cushy mental block, and keep writing. Send something out, and then turn around and get to work on the next project. My agent and I have an agreement: she only contacts me if she has news. By news I mean, if it’s good. This approach doesn’t work for everyone, as I know several writers who prefer to track every submission. But the way I figure, if I wanted to do that, why would I need an agent? For me it’s better to focus on the big picture (read: the Tesla). Yet…

Look, there’s really no easy way around it. Waiting blows. But I’d never get any writing done if all I did was focus on what I’ve written and not on what I’ll write. So I’ll linger in Submission Limbo and bide my time  a little longer, as running with the big dogs will beat sitting on the porch any day.


Support Child Literacy Via National Readathon Day

nationalreadathonThe National Readathon 2016 is coming up on May 21st. Book lovers across the country will be cracking open the books and reading in solidarity from noon to 4 pm to promote literacy.

As part of the event, Penguin Random House and the ALA are running a fundraiser that will raise money to promote literacy to children. Funds raised during #Readathon2016 will benefit the Every Child Ready to Read initiative, a national library program for early literacy development. Supporters can use the Facebook Donate button on the ALA Facebook page in order to contribute.
To find out how you can host a reading party or to find a reading party near you, follow this link.
Reposted from GalleyCat By Dianna Dilworth on May. 17, 2016

Literally funny

I had a friend who published a literary humor magazine and always thinking myself funny, I submitted an article. With (seemingly) much hesitation and a very nice letter, I was rejected as for lack of a better descriptor, for not being droll enough. Truth be told, I can be as high-brow  jocose as the next fellow if I so desire because seriously, I am a subscriber to The New Yorker after all. Not sure what that story has to do with what follows, but hey, I’m a writer and if I didn’t have a sense of humor I would’ve jumped off a cliff a long time ago. So if you’re a writer too and can find the funny in any of this then maybe there’s still hope for all of us.

Cartoon-2-by-Debbie-Ridpath-bb2acb74faafa632be59c8b9b840580d565fe1598c6298d2a82c3679a003d42fcartoon-weird-writers-blockapostrophe_pinningAnd for those combo

writers/English slogs/

professor-types like me,

a bonus!

Random brushes with greatness

With QuestloveYou know you’ve really made it when people will post pictures of you posing with them on their website, but until then I’ll have to subsist on the other side of the ‘net. This photo is from Friday’s jaunt to Random House, when yours truly got to meet and greet with the likes of Questlove of the Roots. (Note to self: do not wear flouncy blouses when getting pix taken of you. Remember that old piece of advice about the lens adding ten pounds? Living proof.)Pierce Brown Here’s another on of Pierce Brown meeting my hair. He was so nice the next time I go to one of his signings I’m going to bring my face. Justin Cronin Justin Cronin was also very nice, and I found out he’s also a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, which to a fellow MFAer like me, that’s right up there with Harvard and Yale.  Also totally appreciated the fact I was blowing off class to see him.  Could you possibly find a better skip day?Anna Quindlen and Lee Woodruff The next one is a really badly-focused picture of Anna Quindlen (left) and Lee Woodruff, but that was really because of my shitty camera-phone, and nothing at all to do with how fab they are in person.

And they were, along with the many other authors we saw that day. So much fun, books, food, chocolate, wine, and hey! I won a Magic Bullet in a raffle. What could be better?