Wednesday, December 31, 2008

closing remarks

I spent the last ten days on Long Island with limited to no internet access, no cable, and no car. You'd think it was the ideal time to catch up on my reading and writing, yes?

No.

I did very little writing and even less reading. Come to think of it, I don't really know how I spent the last ten days. I know there was a lot of sleeping and eating, but after that, my mind's ablank. I suppose I should scold myself for squandering away a perfect opportunity. I didn't even take an audiobook w/ me for the ten-hour train ride to and from (I can't read in a moving vehicle w/out getting motion-sick). Yes, I should be ashamed of myself.

But I'm not. I didn't do much of anything, physcially, but I have a feeling the squirrels in my brain were gathering nuts and anything else I needed to store for the coming months. As I looked out the window at the snow falling, or walked through town decked out in thermals and faux fur hat and gloves, etc., or gazed at the Christmas tree lit up in the dark room night after night before bed; as I stared out the window from the Amtrak as neighborhood after neighborhood whizzed by, I thought. I composed. I created. I made plans. I daydreamed and fantasized and imagined. I dialogued.

My mother told me that she often names her year. I hate to ride on the coattails of the presidential campaigns, but I suspect Change might be a good name for my '09. That, and The Farewell to My Thirties Tour. I am foreseeing change in how I see myself and live as a writer; change in writing as a business (*my* business, that is), changes in location, relationships, etc. Home is emerging as a theme yet again, and it may finally be time to take guitar lessons. Even Kairos Calling might be facing change -- certainly it has evolved in its short lifetime.

Allow me to offer some of my writing highlights of 2008 (not necessarily in any particular order, although the first one is definitely the biggie):
  • Well, the release of Faking It, of course...
  • meeting Andre Dubus III in June
  • all the great work on WILS w/ my writing partner and that collaborative experience
  • de-mystifying the agent querying process. I haven't had the opportunity to put the knowledge into practice yet, but I know I can and will when the time comes
  • the open mic night at QRB when I came in second place -- the feedback and number of hits on the youtube video were quite validating.
  • too many QRB events and authors to mention by name, but each one has helped me to be a better writer
  • the Kairos Calling blog. it's been an experience in and of itself
  • the upcoming nonfiction book -- for all its pregnancy pains, I think it's going to be a very healthy baby
  • "my" teen writers, also from QRB, also teaching more than I could ever teach them
  • my writers' group, and the women's writing group who so hospitably welcomed me in even for one night
I'm not ready to share my writing resolutions with you just yet -- hell, I'm not sure I've even fleshed them all out, yet. But I'd like to hear from you. Have you made writing resolutions? Will you? What would you like to see or do differently in 2009? Who would you like to be? What would you like to manifest? Please share.

Have a safe, warm, blessed New Year filled with peace, prosperity, and good health.
Elisa

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

my christmas card to you

Before you read my post below, please click here for an important message from Roy Blount, Jr.

I'm spending the day on the train tomorrow headed to Penn Station, and final destination, Long Island, NY. I'll be there for the remainder of the year, feasting on real bagels and pizza and Chinese food and looking for celebrities along Main Street in Sag Harbor and hopefully getting to see my beloved ocean. From what mom tells me, her internet access isn't so great, so I'm anticipating that this may be my final message of the year. Just in case, I just want to thank my readers for your interest, your insight, your comments that I always enjoy reading, and most of all, your continued support.

This blog has morphed quite a bit since its inception earlier this year. And I think it's going to see even more change next year. But it's been a neat little outlet for me to get all those things I've been wanting to say out of my system, and it's been a learning process as well. Sometimes I didn't write as much as I wanted. Sometimes I didn't write very well. And sometimes I wrote things I wish I didn't. Nevertheless, by the act of writing, I continuously affirm that I am a writer. And if writing is always in response to something else, then I am continuously affirming that I am also a witness. Those two things will remain intact despite whatever changes may come to Kairos Calling, if any.

If I don't get a chance to say later, I'd like to wish you, one and all, a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, blessed Kwanza, and a New Year that is full of peace, prosperity, good health, and lots and lots of books.

namaste-
the Purple Panda, better known as Elisa :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

more recommended reading

If any of my readers are single and looking for a new relationship, or are in an unsatisfying one and want to change or improve it, you must read this book!

Nanette Geiger doesn’t just talk the talk; she walks the walk. Geiger shares her success as well as her human vulnerability with her readers, assuring us that we all struggle at times. I take comfort in knowing that she’s been in my shoes, and that she’s rooting for me.

For those who are unfamiliar with Abraham-Hicks and/or the Law of Attraction (LOA), Geiger provides a simple overview (as well as a comprehensive reference list at the end of the book) as well as real life examples of LOA in action in her own life and others’. For those who already know and practice LOA, Geiger’s definitions and highlights serve as helpful reminders, and provide readers specifically seeking a love relationship with a clear blueprint. Furthermore, Geiger’s “How to” isn’t so much a step-by-step process as much as it is a journey full of twists and turns and ups and downs—in other words, wonderfully human and spiritual. The quest for a relationship no longer feels like social pressure or empty hunger, but instead becomes a peaceful, loving, and even fun allowance for our intended love partners to show up on time. Geiger assures us that our soul-mates are already here and don’t need to be “conjured up” but instead drawn to us by aligning our thoughts to support our intentions.

Take the next step: buy Nanette Geiger's book! If you are open and receptive, you too will feel the instant shift. And before you know it, you’ll be exchanging wedding vows.

what's in a name




I am seriously thinking of dropping the pseudonym The Purple Panda and fully coming out of the closet, or out of the costume, so to speak. It's not that my full name isn't blazing across the screen right at the top of my page (hello? elisa lorello's storefront???)

Quite frankly, I think my only hesitation is that the photo of Purple Panda is so gosh-darned cute (is it me, or did Sarah Palin ruin folksy talk for everyone?), and I plain like the name. I don't use it anywhere else except on this blog. The number of nicknames I go by otherwise ranges from Leese (my sibs started calling me that way before Bart Simpson coined it for his sis) to Bubs (short for "Professor Bubbles," and no, it's not a bad stripper name).

Besides, lately I've been thinking a lot about Mister Rogers Neighborhood and lamenting that this next generation doesn't have its own Mister Rogers or Neighborhood of Make Believe. To this day, when I am fortunate enough to catch a clip of him saying, "You make each day a special day by just your being you," I tear up -- the LOVE that that man possessed! How blessed we all were to know our "television friend." I think I keep The Purple Panda name as an homage to him, a way to stay in touch w/ my inner child, the one who makes every day a special day by just my being me.

Thank god for You Tube, of course. I get to see these wonderful gems of Fred Rogers in interviews and snippets of shows and Johnny Costa's fabulous piano accompaniment. And talk about names -- is there a more famous "Mister"? Is there one more loved, more cherished, one who has done more for three generations for children, and keeps on doing so thanks to reruns and You Tube? (Not only that, but I've also found some vintage Sesame Street and Electric Company skits that I haven't seen in 35 years -- it's more than nostalgia; it's homecoming.)

So, I don't know. All I can say for now is that the President-Elect isn't the only one running on a platform of change (although technically he's not "running" anymore). I am sensing that 2009 is going to be a year of change for me, and not in bad ways. Among other things, 2009 kicks off my Farewell Tour to my thirties. It's a good time to reflect on and visualize what I want the next decade to look and feel like. I'm already putting those intentions into the universe. Many of them center on my career as a writer. I had written months ago about author Nancy Peacock's advice and inscription to me to "get aggressive" with said career. I think for me, that is coming to mean "make a plan." I had also written much more recently about my theory that the problem is not that we a lacking balance of our writing careers w/ the rest of our lives, but that we are lacking a plan and a decision about just how and where our writing careers fit into our lives, and what kind of honest value we place on it. Thinking out loud and on stream of consciousness here, if I am hiding behind (or in) The Purple Panda, am I devaluing Elisa Lorello, fiction writer, by not shouting out to the masses, "This is who I am!"? Am I hiding?

Or am I just simply afraid of stalkers?

I wonder...

Anyhoo, I am really looking forward to the 10+ hour train ride back to Long Island to spend Christmas w/ my family. It will give me lots of time to stare out the window and think about what's comin' down the pike (or the LIE, since I'll be home until the end of this year...). Heck, maybe I'll ask Mister Rogers what he thinks.

In the meantime, put this on your Christmas/Hanukkah lists, or fill someone's stocking with The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. I know I want one!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

recommended reading

The other day I listened to Emma Walton Hamilton on NPR talk about her latest book: Raising Bookworms: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment. Ms. Hamilton is an "author, editor, educator and theater professional, she has co-authored 16 books for children of all ages with her mother, Julie Andrews, and serves as Editorial Director for the Julie Andrews Collection publishing program" (NPR website).

The other night, Hamilton was in Hampton Books in Sag Harbor promoting her book while my mom was down the street at Canio's bookstore giving a talk on Thomas Merton (incidentally, today is the 40th anniversary of Merton's death), so she couldn't attend. (No big deal. Hamilton lives in Sag Harbor, as does Andrews on a part-time basis. I know; I saw her walking along Main Street last Christmas. But, I digress.) Then again, my mom's kids are grown. And at least half of them are readers.

I recommend you listen to the podcast of the program if you can. I'm putting this book on my Christmas list. I think it's a book not only for parents, but teachers as well. And really, anyone who has a love for reading and wants to pass on that love.

My first writing assignment is a literacy narrative. Students reflect on books that had some kind of impact on their life and read other literacy narratives ranging from a history of reading and writing to learning how to read to a love affair w/ reading Dr. Suess books. Too many student narratives focus on the hatred rather than the love of reading. They talk about their experiences and use violent metaphors of being forced, having books shoved down their throats, and so on. What I find is that some students wish the circumstances had been different.

There's got to be a better way. I think this book can offer some good ideas. I'm sure my blog readers would love to see a reveral of the trend of reading as a chore as opposed to a delicious pleasure. I know I would.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

all you need is...

I don't have time or energy to post anything original, but this is worthy of a little reflection, and it's a nifty little piece of writing. It's the opening segment to the film Love Actually.

Enjoy, folks:

"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspision love actually is all around."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

when my job is more than a job

When the progress a student has made throughout the semester is so obvious I can't help but be happy for him/her.

When my I put my UMass Dartmouth bachelor's degree to work, and I'm paying forward those bits of wisdom given to me by my professors.

When I run into a former student and she tells me that she was talking to another one of my former students, and the latter tells the former that I was her favorite teacher.

When find out that my former Upward Bound student from eight years ago is now in graduate school for International Relations, and I wish I could hug her.

When my students tell me that my passion has rubbed off on them.

When I can take a few moments to roam the halls with my colleagues, and enjoy their company.

When I can go home at 3:00 because I don't feel well, and be in pajamas by 4:00.

When I get to talk about writing on a daily basis.

When they get it. Always when they get it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

dream team

This may be my last post for a couple of weeks -- I'm collecting 50+ papers on Tuesday, each an average of 6 pages, and then on Friday I'm collecting 50+ portfolios. I need to read and grade all of this in approximately a week to nine days.

Oy vey.

Maybe I'll try to scrounge up a guest blogger.

In the meantime, I'll leave you w/ this: if you could have a dream team of trusted counselors, living or dead, real or imagined, who would be on your council? In what capacity would you seek their services?
On my short list (and in no particular order):
  • Fred Rogers
  • Jim Henson
  • Jed Bartlet
  • Nora Ephron
  • Jerry and Esther Hicks/Abraham
  • Aaron Sorkin
  • my Aunt Louise
  • my grandfather on my mother's side
  • MEB
  • John Taylor

I have more, but I'll not bore you. Some of these are creative consultants. Some of them nurture the inner child. Some of them just have plain good energy. Some are practical.

Why not tap into such energy? As writers, are we not seeking inspiration in any form? Why not ask them to guide us, give us ideas, introduce us to people we need to know? Consider it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

the question: balance. the answer: intention + plan

I think I may have the answer to the question of balance (i.e., how does one balance a writing career with the demands of a second career, family, etc.). Some may see this as a far-fetched answer, or the inconvenient answer, but allow me to think out loud.

I wonder if the issue isn't one of balance as much as it is choice. In other words, we're choosing to juggle these things in the air, but have never given any one enough attention for any sustained amount of time; or, we're so busy listening to our self-programmed thoughts (which are probably based on faulty premises and the criticisms of others) that we've never made a clear decision backed up with a plan.

I mean, think about it. How many of us want to be full-time writers but, rather than make the decision: I am going to be a full-time writer, one that can sustain a prosperous living from it, and follow that up with a plan of how to make that happen, instead, we say: I want to be a full-time writer, but I can't make a living from it. And it's too hard to get published. And I'm probably not talented enough. And I couldn't afford to live on my own if I was. And what would my friends and family say if I gave up my nice, stable job in order to do so? What about my health insurance?
And so on.

Not to say that some of these aren't legitimate concerns. But we're approaching them in terms of problems rather than solutions. We're putting our attention on the I can't rather than the I can. We're disminishing the issue as impossible rather than make a plan of action that is entirely possible.

If we want to be a writer and a ... (fill in the blank as many times as you need), have we ever made that decision in a way that really defines precisely what we want? Set an intention? In other words: I intend to be a published fiction author in addition to my full-time teaching position. I will balance this by devoting no more than 40 hours per week to my teaching, and write for two hours every night. Those two hours per night may also be devoted to querying agents, submitting to journals, etc. Or, we could plan to work 20 hours in one job and 20 hours in writing.

The point is, we get to decide!
Get the point?

I think often times we're too afraid to make the choice we really want because of our fears of being ridiculed, of failure, of insecurity, etc. We've not found balance because we've not become present to what we really want. We're going about our cluttered lives unconsciously. We let the voices (disguised as reason) talk us out of it, tell us our intentions are silly, not feesible, impossible, far-fetched, etc. when really we're just out of alignment with said intentions.

I'm not saying I've got this mastered. But I think it's time I get clear about what I really want and follow up with a plan of action (that means turning off the tv, too). I think all things are possible when we align ourselves with our intentions.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

as we read someone else's story, we write our own.

Yesterday I took part in what has become a tradition. The Tuesday class before Thanksgiving break is typically not well-attended. I still require students to show up, and I make it a light day. I also share a piece of writing with them -- mine, to be exact. It's a piece I wrote six years ago called "Tofurkey." It was published in the 2003 volume of UMass Dartmouth's literary journal Temper, and it's about my 2001 Thanksgiving in which the vegetarians in my family finally outnumbered the meat-eaters.

I read this piece for its timeliness, of course, and because it was my first attempt at writing humor (and occasionally some students laugh). But year after year, the highlight of the piece is not my descriptions of tofurkey (frightful) or my then-five-yr-old nephew's reaction to seeing the real turkey sitting fully cooked on the table (he ate peanut butter and jelly that day). No, it's the description of my family traditions from another time and life. A time when there used to be thirty of us, and the table extended from the dining room into the living room. A time when my parents were still married, and we all still lived in the same county. A time when the only vegetarian was my mom. Year after year, the students resonate with this part of the essay, but they don't respond to my family descriptions -- rather, they immediately begin sharing their own family traditions and Thanksgiving stories and mishaps. They tell their own stories. The late Donald Murray would be proud, for, as he used to say, "when we read someone else's story, we write our own."

The essay also seems to be one of the things that sticks with them after they leave my class. I've had students, years later, ask me if I've eaten any tofurkey lately. I don't know if that speaks to my writing abilities, or the uniqueness of the subject, or the fact that it was one of the rare times I gave them a bonus point just for showing up to class. Nevertheless, it gives me a good feeling as a writer to know that I've touched a reader in some form.

I only read the essay once a year, and usually, as I read, I think of all the ways I might tweak it. But this year, interestingly enough, as I read, I read. It was as if there was a second reader beyond the one attached to my voice, thinking, damn, this is a really good essay! And I don't mean that to sound conceited; but for some reason the piece got to me this time. And not just the humor of it. I actually felt myself starting to choke up when I came to the part about my family as I read to my first class. There was something deeper than the story, my story. I'm not sure what it was, but I was suddenly in awe for having written it, as if to say, where did this come from?

There are two films I must watch on Thanksgiving Day, in addition to the Macy's parade and the Cowboys game: one is Miracle on 34th Street (the classic black and white one, not the god-awful remake or the horribly tinted color version... thank you, Ted Turner); the other is Home for the Holidays, with Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, Robert Downey, Jr., and an outstanding cast. Both have fallen into the categories of pure tradition and nostalgia. I first saw Home in the movie theater-- twice-- with my friend Autumn; we were blowing off studying for finals. We continued to recite lines from that movie years later. Home is about the dysfunction of a family at Thanksgiving. Not very cheerful, you might say, but there is something profound about the protagonist, Claudia, as witness of all that happens to and around her. It is what we as writers -- in particular, memoirists -- need to be. And the ending will take you back to your own home movies, or thinking about those perfect moments from your life, the ones that last for 15 seconds but stay with you for an eternity. Ditto for Miracle. I tear up at both every single time.

As we read someone else's stories, we write our own. As we pass on our traditions, we inspire new ones. It's the secret to immortality.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

the nearest book

This was originally posted by some guy on Facebook. It's a fun little game. Feel free to copy and paste on your own blogs or Facebook pages.

Rules:
  1. Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
  2. Turn to page 56.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post that sentence along with these instructions on your blog (or post to your Facebook wall in a note).
  5. Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Here's mine, from Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck:
"They never really change," people often said (back in those days) about babies.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"my guest tonight..."

I've been having fanstasies of appearing on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report to promote my novel. Of course, I am a fabulous guest. I have plenty to say. I tell the story about the time I encountered Jon Stewart in the Sag Harbor drugstore and, in suck-up fashion, recommend that Stephen Colbert would make a good Devin in the movie version of Faking It. I make the usual jokes about the book itself: No, it's not autobiographical. No, I did no formal researh of male escorts. No, I don't really hate my mother.

With my luck, I'd be interviewed for one of the mock news pieces -- and, in the process, I'd be severely mocked.

Ah well. Maybe I'll just try to get tickets to a taping when I go home for the holidays (or will they be on hiatus then?) and put my guest fantasies to rest. (Or should I send a book to Oprah instead?)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

on self-publishing: a message from the converted

With each day that passes, the ambivalence I had had regarding self-publishing is becoming a distant memory. My advice to those who want to self-publish but are afraid of the stigma that accompanies it: Don't be afraid. And don't listen to those who tell you not to because of said stigma. Times are a changin'.

That is not to say that there aren't any crappy books that have been self-published. But there are a lot of crappy books that have been traditionally published, too. As my twin brother says, there's a market for *everything.* Rise above it.

The keys to self-publishing are commitment and planning. Make the decision and stick with it. Don't waffle back and forth, and don't let others talk you out of it. Some people may tell you it's hard. Some agents may tell you that the traditional publishing world and/or literature departments in universities across the country have a disdain for it. Some booksellers may tell you that they never stock self-published books. All of the above *might* be true.

But...
What they don't tell you is that there is such a thing as viral marketing, i.e. marking via word-of-mouth that is used to promote and sell everything to music to movies to medicine. Heck, why do you think Barack Obama's campaign was so successful? Technology gives us a quicker and easier access to a market than ever before. Podcasts, Facebook, blogs, etc. connects us to many at once.

Of course, I'm not saying anything that you probably don't already know. You're a smart bunch.

If you are committed to self-publishing, then go all the way. Don't skimp. Make every aspect of your book as professional as possible. Proofread and edit it w/in an inch of its life. Get feedback.
And when you're finally ready to sell, don't just sell your book out of the backseat of your car. Make contacts. Network yourself professionally (no stalking!). Get a Myspace or Facebook page. Get your own website. Join a Meetup. Make the book as accessible as possible. Arrange to do a reading. But plan these things. Assess how much time and/or money you can invest into promoting yourself. Be thoughtful in your approach. Set goals and timelines.

I can probably do a better job of all of the above than I am now. But I am certain I'm on the right track, and that feels *really* good.

I'm not telling you to abandon traditional publishing. I'll likely go back to querying agents when my current fiction manuscript is ready (and that likely won't be until next spring). But it's so encouraging to know that there are more options than ever before (and really, don't we writers need all the encouragement we can get?), all w/in our reach.

Take 'em! Go for it!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Introducing FAKING IT

Faking It has finally arrived! Go to my Storefront to order your copy!!!

I am sooo excited that this day has come. It's even a little scary. I mean, I finally did it! And for all my ups and downs, ambivalence and reassurance, I'm happy that I've taken this step.

My hope is that you'll buy it, you'll tell your friends to buy it, and that you'll like it.

Thanks for stickin' with me!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

the elements of memoir

I enjoyed today's QRB panel on memoir writing. It's a genre I've taught, but from a rhetorical point of view. Interestingly enough, as the panelist spoke, I found myself jotting notes not about her insight or advice, but ideas for how to improve my own narratives in my nonfiction book. Inspiration struck. There was something else I was reminded of, although it wasn't something that was said today: in a memoir, the writer acts as both an observant and a participant of the event he/she is writing about, and the reader needs to be the same.

I have some ideas about what I'd like to attend to in my narratives -- I don't know that I would classify them as "memoir," but they are stories that need to encompass more of memoir's elements. These include:
  • establishing a better sense of place.
  • doing just a tiny bit of research (tiny, at least, for my purpose and audience) to get a sense of historical context. (My concern is getting too far off the track of the lesson of the story, and turning such context into "info dump".)
  • as of right now, the voice of the narrative has a "going-through-the-motions" feel to it. I want to be more mindful of the narrator as observer and participant.

I'd also like to share something that Stacey, as panel moderator, shared w/ the audience, in regards to process (and revision, I'd say) in his novel-writing, and I think it serves creative nonfiction as well. (Please correct me if I've misprepresented you in any way, Stacey.) At the end of each chapter, he takes inventory of several elements:

  • character POV
  • where is the protag? (and/or supporting characters)
  • how are they feeling?
  • what do they want (internal, external)?
  • how are they going to get it?

After the event, I got to say hello w/ some attendees that I haven't seen in awhile, and got to unveil my newly printed novel. The exitement on their faces, and their compliments and congratulations were all very validating and contagious. I think I am finally ready to take the last step: the ISBN. It's time.

There's something really wonderful about being a part of a community. This Write2Publish group is quite gratifying. To all my readers (many of whom are part of this same community), I'm glad to know you and belong. And to those readers who haven't found their community yet, seek them out. They will benefit your writing -- and you -- in more ways than you know.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I wrote the book I wanted to read

Today I lost track of how many hours I spent revising the introduction to my book, but I like what I came out with. And because I kept in mind that I wrote the book I wanted to read, I got out of my own way and wrote without trying too hard, without worrying about what others would think, without worrying about whether it was good or not.

I also realize that I need to stop kavetching when it's not going well. Calling attention to the negative, keeping those thoughts alive and active, only attracts more of them. Begone!!

Writers are such goofy people, yes? I say that lovingly, of course. :)

I considered moving on to another chapter, but I think I'm gonna just enjoy this little bit of momentum and move on to other pleasant things. Low volume, high content. Why stuff yourself with the whole cake when one slice is so satisfying?

Friday, November 14, 2008

update

After much back-and-forth w/ Lulu, my new test copy has arrived, and it looks pretty good.
Thing is, I'm not sure "pretty good" is good enough.
I want professional grade. I want this book to be taken seriously.

It could be me in perfectionist mode, or it could be that I have legitmate concerns. I'm just not sure. I'm going to show it to some people this weekend and see what they think, and if I'm satisfied w/ what they say, I'm going to go ahead and purchase an ISBN and make it available to the public. If not, it might be worth it to wait a bit longer--even after the holidays--and get it as close to perfect as possible.

I have learned so much about this process and made several mistakes, which, in the end, are successes since I can apply them to the next project (the corrections, not the mistakes!). And I believe more than ever that this is the next wave of publishing and, if done carefully and thoughtfully, can yield just as much success as traditional publishing.

As for my nonfiction manuscript, well, I think it's time for me to ask for an extention on it. I don't think my publishers know that this is a very young manuscript -- I began writing it in May -- and such things can't be rushed. I had thought that because it was a relatively short book that I could complete it quickly, but revision is slow and meticulous, and I live by the saying: "Do you want it done fast, or do you want it done right?". There are three weeks left of the semester, and they're going to require my physical and mental energy. I'm just not going to be able to attend to this manuscript the way it needs to be attended to.

This morning, my novel-writing partner asked how the writing was going. I replied, "It's going very well in my head." Right now, that's good enough. Thoughts are the keys to manifestation. If I can't get the physical writing done, I'm going to keep composing in my head, seeing it as a finished manuscript, see it as something that I already know and am able to complete, see myself working on it w/out fear or resistance. That much I can do and believe in.

Monday, November 10, 2008

aaarrrggghhhh!

One of the downsides of teaching students about writing is that teachers sometimes fall into the very traps they help their students emerge from. Consider it an exercise in the Law of Attraction. By attending to so many problems in student writing (despite my attempts to turn their attention to their strengths), those same problems show up in my own writing. If I come across a lot of wordiness in student drafts, my own drafts start to suffer from wordiness. If the student writing veers off the track, so does my own prose. And so on.

It seems that just about every possible weakness is showing up in this manuscript, the biggest of which is an overinflated audience awareness. I'm thinking too much about them. I'm overexplaining. I've overanticipating objections. I'm answering questions that aren't likely to be asked. My prose is veering too far off the topic. It lacks suspense or depth. It's plain uninteresting. The lessons I'm trying to teach lack substance and evidence.

It needs so much revision. It needs so much attention, so much tender loving care.

I tend to write well when I'm reading writing that really inspires, or reading styles I admire. I have a self-help book beside my bed to inspire content, but stylistically it's a bust. Other than that, it's been almost all student writing for the last month or more. How in the world am I going to be able to devote my time and attention when the next four weeks are going to be spent trying to help students write well-developed academic papers(no doubt riddled w/ problems during their drafting stages)? At least I can co-miserate w/ them. Right now I feel like a fish out of water. I feel like a sucky writer, like I can't do it at all and the manuscript is a pile of shit. I have visions of it being published and getting deserved horrid reviews. Right now I'm wondering how I ever taught memoir when my own stink on ice. So much for Yes I can. No, I can't.

I worked for ninety minutes on four pages and it still sucks.

How am I ever going to get it done? What made me think I could write a book like this in the first place? Could it be that somewhere deep down I never thought it would actually get published? The kicker is that I used to pride myself as a nonfiction writer. It's predominantly what I teach (in the context of academic argument, of course. Maybe that's the friggin' problem). but man, I can't tell you how much I miss my fiction right about now.

I think I'm ready to start praying. There must be a patron saint for writers. I suppose St. Jude also works: patron saint of the hopeless and those in despair.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday lazy Sunday

I'm longing to go back to my May productivity. The sun and warmth and foliage certainly give me the mood aspect, but the demands of school take over my time and energy. I may just be making excuses, but I prefer to look forward to the day when I'm complaining that my time is consumed by writing. If only I could be in the classroom w/out all the prepwork and grading. It's the one-on-one interaction I thrive on. It's the conversation I love.

Meanwhile, I spent most of today riveted by the special Newsweek edition that basically told the entire story of the McCain-Obama (and Clinton) campaigns from start to finish. I don't know how much of it was accurate-- I mean, I rarely trust the corporately-owned media, and I noticed that Newsweek has moved a little to the left. But it was a great story for story's sake. It was like reading a West Wing drama, but w/out Aaron Sorkin's wit or characters as likable. It was fascinating, though, and I just couldn't tear myself away from it. And even though it took away from my writing time, I always think reading time is time well spent. I'm a thinker as much as I'm a writer, and sometimes it's just instinctive to know when it's time to start physically writing. Other times it's massive fright. I'm actually looking forward to turning to my manuscript just as soon as I finish this post. (Now that the Patriots game is over, I can focus...)

Yes I can! Yes I can! Yes I can!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Yes I can!

I went to Caribou Coffee at 9:30 this morning and didn't leave until approximately four hours (and the first draft of the book's introduction) later. It'll need work, of course, but I felt good about what I had written, and it came fairly easy to me--it should have, given how long I've been thinking about it. I actually wound up borrowing from my "riding the wave" post, being that the introduction was all about shifts in consciousness. I suppose the time had finally come to write about it because the shift had actually happened.

Maybe I don't suck after all.

I just hope I can keep the momentum going, not to mention the discipline. It's a lot easier when I don't have papers to grade, when I'm not having trouble sleeping, when my car is in working order, when I have a chance to crack jokes w/ my twin brother, and when I tell myself to quit stalling and write, dammit.

And seriously, the affirmation helped.
Yes I can.
I am.
And I will.
Because I love being a writer.

Friday, November 7, 2008

fears of failure

My optimism for my manuscript went out the window when my twin brother sent the rest of his feedback to me and I saw the overall tonnage of work ahead of me. I'm scared of it. Really, I am. I'm scared of the amount of work that needs to be done. I'm scared that I don't know what I'm talking about, that I'm really a fraud regarding the subject I'm writing about. I'm scared that I'll finish it and it'll suck to high hell and won't even sell to my family and close friends.

Fear is a sucky emotion.

I've got to get a grip. I've got a choice, here. I've got a choice to practice what I preach, or give in to the fear and thus fulfill my fears of losing credibility. I've got to outpsyche myself and get back on the stick and remind myself that the only thing standing in my way at this point is me and my damn irrational fears.

The irony is that more than ever, I think the message of my book is quite timely. And yet, it's that very realization that upped the ante even more, and makes me that much more frightened of falling on my face. But of course, if I keep it up, I'll jip myself out of that possibility as much as the possiblity for monumental success.

Maybe I should start saying Yes I can! Yes I can! Yes I can! I heard that that phrase is available for use now that the election is over...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

riding the wave

This will probably be the last time (for a long time to come) that I use this blog as a forum to forego conversations about writing and voice my political views; however, something moved me so much that I couldn't even sleep, and I needed to express myself. I'd like to tell you what I witnessed, and why it has moved me so.

As I write these words, it is 4:45am, and my heart is full by what I have witnessed as the clock turned into morning. I wasn't living on Long Island in 2001, but, like so many of you, I watched in horor as the towers in my beloved birthplace came tumbling down. I had spent that day dreading and preparing myself for the likely news that one of my oldest, dearest friends, along w/ her husband, who worked in the building next door to the WTC, had not survived. I am still overcome by emotion when I recall the subject line of the email I received from her that evening: We're ok. I wept for joy, yet also wept for all those who would continue to wait for such an email and never receive it.

The images from New York in the days that followed were those of people of all races, creeds, and colors walking in a daze, clinging to each other in grief. Strangers who had never given their neighbors a second glance embraced each other and wept. It was a time of startling presence, of unity, of oneness in the midst of that grief.

Late last night, I watched images of crowds gathered in the streets of Times Square, Harlem, and all over the city -- one would think it was New Year's Eve at first glance, only there were no bouts of drunken displays -- and I saw people of all races, creeds, and colors, strangers, embracing each other, some of them weeping. Only this time, they were weeping for joy. And, just like seven years ago, the crowds had not only gathered in New York City, but in Washington DC, Pennsylvania, and all over the country. Tonight and this morning, the world celebrated with us.

What I saw was not only celebration of an election -- I witnessed something far more powerful. Last night/this morning, something inside of us that had been torn open seven years ago healed. I can't explain how or why I believe and feel this, but I did and do. And I can't tell you how much we needed to heal.

For those readers who voted for Senator McCain and are feeling disappointed, I hope you will ride the wave of this vibration of love, peace, and healing that has taken to the streets, and be open to whatever it brings in the following months and years. And to President-Elect Obama, I hope you, too, ride this wave, and let it guide you to a presidency of peace -- peace on terror, peace on poverty, peace on drugs, peace on AIDS, peace on earth.

To my readers, thank you for allowing me to use my blog as a forum to voice my feelings at this hour. Perhaps this was actually the right forum -- one can argue that I witnessed a moment of kairos.

And now, back to all things writing (and sleeping, eventually).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

nano nano?

It's November, which means it's time for NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo. For those unfamiliar w/ the words or think I've got peanut butter stuck to the roof of my mouth (metaphorically speaking, since I'm typing the words), let me translate. The first stands for National Novel Writing Month. The second is National Blog Posting Month. In the case of the first, the goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel in one month. The second is to do a post every day (I assume -- I've actually never done it before!).

My last NaNoWriMo was in 2006-- it was my second consecutive year. And I "won," too--I did the 50K (with a couple hundred to spare) and produced the first draft of what eventually became Ordinary World, the sequel to Faking It. The year before that, I didn't fare as well--made it to about 35,000 words, and that manuscript is still sitting in a drawer. It's not that I didn't like the concept (actually, I love it -- it was my homage to Richard Russo's Straight Man), and I've tried several times to revive it since then, but I just can't seem to get the action going on it, not to mention that I would probably be sued for libel if I did because the characters are based on real people, and I think it's a little too obvious (then again, maybe I'm the only one who knows). Still, I hope one day I can actually finish it.

There were some really fun things about doing it. The first was the challenge and the competitive spirit of it to actually finish, like running the New York or Boston Marathon (had to get both of my homes in there!). There's also a sense of community, even though you write on your own. You can post your pages and daily word counts, and there are support groups and forums and such things. A good friend of mine used to send me a daily cartoon. And some days I really got into what I was writing and enjoyed myself. And when my students got wind of it, they started asking me about my word counts each day. I think they were both fascinated and bewildered by the process -- who writes 1700 words a day for fun???

So why not do it again?
Given my current schedule and the fact that I'm already working on a book, I plain don't have time to try NaNoWriMo, or even NaBloPoMo. But in the case of the former, even if I did, I wouldn't do it anyway. Why? Because for me, it causes me to write really crappy. Like my students who get so hung up on the page requirement (which is why I stress, "4 pages is a guideline"), I get so obsessive w/ the word count that I write passive, wordy, very poorly constructed sentences and useless descriptions. Ordinary World turned out pretty good by the final draft, but man, the stylistic clean-up I had to do... it also seemed to take longer to iron out some of the plot and character problems in revision because I had plowed through them when I got stuck, in the interest of making the word count goal. And then, on top of that, the stylistic crap got in the way. I concluded that it was more trouble than it was worth, and decided not to go for a hat trick NaNoWriMo.

As for NaBloPoMo, I suppose I could take a crack at it (I've already got two!). As Mit wrote (and thanks, Mit, for the inspiration for this post, btw!), it helps to form some kind of discipline about writing/posting every day, and I suppose it's a great way to either establish or maintain a readership because you do this as part of a community. But, I'd be worried about posting meaningless bits of writing just so I can say I posted *something* (not like I've never done that before, on this or my private blog). Besides, I already have too many distractions from getting my book done. I can see myself using this as one more.

Given my poor turnout of posts last month, and given the aspirations to better market my upcoming books anyway, I've been considering reinventing Kairos Calling to include a wider audience (like moving it to my website, removing the Purple Panda pseudonym, and coming all the way out, haha) and to maintain a momentum of writing regularly, even when I'm slammin' busy. We'll see.

In the meantime, for all you bloggers and novels writers up for the challenge, Go for it, and have fun!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

a new hope

No, I don't mean Barack Obama. I'm talking about my book, thanks to additional feedback from my wombmate. I sent him the rest of the manuscript, and he's been replying one chapter at a time. Tonight, however, he called me and we chatted for at least an hour (if not longer) about it. It's the talking that's made the difference for me. I've hardly talked about this book--especially in terms of content-- w/ anyone, and I've been needing to. Badly. I didn't realize how badly until tonight.

For the first time, I voiced what's been really troubling me about this book, and why it's been so difficult to write (or break through the writer's block): I'm trying way too hard.

He noticed it, too. I didn't even flinch when he told me that my narrative sections were "weak." And most of the criticisms were the typical things I respond to when I'm reading someone's nonfiction prose: too much telling, not enough showing; expounding on unnecessary details while bypassing the necessary ones; and losing one's own authority w/in the body of both the narratives and the lessons. And it's not that I hadn't noticed them myself. I'd been aware of them all along. And yet, I couldn't revise my way out of it. I had no idea how to fix it. I couldn't see past what was on the page.

But he could. So we talked about it. We talked about the writing. We talked about the genres of narrative and memoir and spiritual/inspirational books (even tossed in a little science fiction, too). We talked about the subject matter, and a little bit about metaphysics. We talked about the reader. We talked about rhetorical situation and the appeals (although we never used those terms). I tried jotting a few things down as we talked, trying not to forget the gems. And I got off the phone feeling so optimistic about the project, wanting to get back to work now that I finally had a new, clearer vision. I think I finally know where to go w/ it, how to approach it, how and when to think of my reader, and when to not think of her, too.

I think he may have singlehandedly saved this book from becoming bird cage liners.

My twin brother and I are obviously not identical--physically, we're opposites: he's tall, I'm short; he's got brown eyes, I've got blue; his hair is straight, mine's curly (well, naturally, anyway); he's right-handed, I'm left-handed; he's smart, I'm beautiful... ok, I'm smart too... ;) Actually, I think we're more like complements. We used to call ourselves the Yin and Yang twins (one time we even showed up to a dinner party w/ him dressed in all black and me in all white, unplanned!). He's more on the pessimistic side, while I'm the eternal optimist. His writing is much more elegant, literary prose, while mine is more "popular," and when it comes to drawing, he's much better at cartoon, or caricature, while I'm better at portraits. What I love so much about this kinship (in regards to writing) is the respect we have for each other as writers as well as readers. He has the ability to see writing in literary form, while I see it in rhetorical form. Thus, when we respond to each other's writing, we exchange these perspectives that result in a more balanced piece once it's finished. What a wonderful gift for us to give each other!!

Besides, he's funny as hell, which is the icing on the cake. And he laughs at my jokes, too.

Obviously, I'm pleased when people tell me how much they like my writing. But when my twin brother tells me it's good, then I know I have arrived. Ultimately, it is his approval, his enjoyment, his laughter that I aim for, despite the fact that we have such different styles. I don't know if he aims for these things from me (if he does, for some reason I don't think he aims quite as high), but I know he values my feedback. It's just as good a feeling when he compliments the quality of my feedback.

So tonight I will go to bed, using the extra hour to process his written comments and everything we talked about. And then tomorrow I'm gonna write. I look forward to it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

on reliable feedback and semicolons

A few nights ago, I sent a chapter from my nonfiction manuscript to my twin brother for his feedback. He returned it, and I read the comments this morning.

Awesome. I mean, right on the money. Love that.

I had felt pretty good about what I had written, but when I read his feedback, I realized it was far from finished. And I refer to the entire manuscript, not just that chapter. I believe in the project and what I'm writing, but it still doesn't feel like my best work, and I really need to change that before the deadline, which is fast approaching. I'm going to send him the rest of the manuscript this evening, and hopefully he'll be up to the task of responding.

Granted, my twin brother isn't exactly the "spiritual self-help" kind of guy, but he's an excellent reader because he asks the questions that I need to anticipate from my audience. Moreover, he knows and gets storytelling, and since half of this book consists of narratives, well...
And I just plain trust him.

Perhaps the most helpful feedback was my wombmate's pointing out just how obsessed I've become w/ semicolons; he admonished me w/ this: "'Don't use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites signifying absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.' -Kurt Vonnegut, Jr." (did you see what I did there, btw?) Better yet, he got so fed up that he wrote "Kill it! KIIIIILLLL IIIIIIT!!"

On that note, I must face my day, which is challenging me to squeeze in more car repair, grading papers, and more manuscript writing, among other things (would have loved to have gone to the Obama rally, but apparently you need tickets for that?).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

a shift in thinking

Yesterday I attended the QRB Write2Publish event -- the panelists included a literary agent and an Algonquin editor, and the attendance was excellent. I always enjoy attending such events, and I almost always run into someone I know, which is even nicer.

The discussion was interesting, as always; but as I listened, I found a series of thoughts going through my head: I'm doing ok. I'm right where I need to be.

I'm the first to admit that I don't know a whole lot about the publishing industry, or the business side of writing. But it seems to me that the face and dynamic of the industry has changed drastically, thanks to technology, but those in traditional publishing either haven't noticed it or haven't figured out what to do w/ it. There are so many more ways to be published now, in a variety of media; and yet, the industry is clinging to the idea that traditional is still the only way to go, that it is the only avenue that carries any sense of value or credibility. Months ago, I would have agreed w/ that. Today, I'm not so sure.

I agreed w/ Chuck as he described his love of books -- not just reading them, but the tactile pleasure. Oh yeah. I know that -- just holding a book in my hand, smelling the pages, seeing them lined on a shelf, or stacked on a table... ooooh, feel my happy pulse rising! "Tactile" books are still alive and well, but the gap between author and audience has closed, thanks to You Tube, Facebook, podcasting, and other such outlets. I was happy to hear that Chuck gave a thumbs up to Lulu (although the agent opined that publishing fiction through POD was not as viable as nonfiction; I disagree, and not just because I'm publishing my novel this way), but he seemed stymied about technology's place in 21st century publishing in terms of "solutions."

When the discussion ended, many attendees scrambled to talk to the panelists, no doubt to give a quick pitch, or hand off a card, or something. I had come armed w/ a stack of business cards, yet they never left my purse. Instead, I opted to talk to my friend Susan, and went to Caribou Coffee afterwards to do some writing and catching up w/ her. Some may think I gave up a big networking opportunity, and maybe I did, but I simply didn't feel the need.

Maybe it's because I've been aligning my thoughts w/ my intentions, but I'm feeling satisfied w/ my current path. And this is not to say that I won't consider an agent in the future, especially when my current manuscript is query-ready. But I'm no longer convinced traditional publishing is the only way to make it as an author. In fact, I probably have less confidence in it than ever. Still, I was very appreciative of this particular panel, as I'm sure many were.

I didn't get much writing done at Caribou (but I did figure out what I wanted to write for the chapter); but last night I finally uploaded the corrected PDF file on Lulu, and am awaiting yet another test copy of my book. In hindsight, I wish I could've better formatted the book to minimize pages and cost. Depending on how the test copy looks, and the opinion of a manager at QRB (I've gotten to know one of them well), I may have to change it again; but I'm hoping it won't come to that. I'm really, really looking forward to finally releasing my novel to the public.

(P.S. Happy Birthday, Stacey!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

momentum, and home as a state of mind

So, I did some writing yesterday. Finally! Quite a bit, actually. And it felt really good. I also sort of plagiarized myself, haha! I was writing a narrative on the theme of home as a state of mind. I used to assign this essay to my students when I taught at UMD. The challenge for them was to write an essay about home w/out using the words "home," "house," "comfort," "cozy," "warmth," etc. I didn't restrict myself quite as much yesterday, but I found myself looking to past essays that I had written on the subject. Frankly, it's been a recurring theme in a lot of my creative writing, fiction and non. So I actually took 'em out of a box, found some golden oldies, and made some minor adjustments, excerpting passages, changing the tense and a couple of names, etc. Since this is for my book, I wonder if I have to cite myself. Always the academic, to the very end.

I hadn't read some of these pieces in awhile, and I thought, "Damn, these aren't half bad." One of them was a creative nonfiction piece that was published in the literary magazine Siren at UMD. At the time, it was one of my best, if not the best I had ever written. Hard to believe it's seven years old, and I've since written three novels. It brought back some bittersweet memories, too, although I focused on the good.

Later in the day, when I had finished the draft, I sent it to my writing partner, just for her enjoyment. I wasn't expecting feedback or anything. I wasn't even expecting a response. But a few hours later, she did respond, and was her usual honest, thoughtful self. And she praised it, assuring me that she liked it not solely because it was mine, but because it was good. I was happy to hear from her, and happy that she liked it. And incidentally, when I write, I'm at home.

Mit commented on getting the momentum going, and I hope I've done just that. It's hard when I've got another 50 rhetorical analyses, an average of five pages each, needing my attention and grades. This is the time of year when I get really antsy for the semester to end, when Thanksgiving feels right around the corner and it's a mad rush to fit everything in. And does anyone else want this election over and done w/ already?

And speaking of home, it's finally starting to look and feel like fall around here. That certainly adds to the momentum, not to mention my mood.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

what's next

When I look at the number of posts I've completed for this month, I frown, and I wonder if I've run out of things to say about writing, the craft, publishing, etc. It seemed that when I started this blog I was an endless well, even though I didn't have a fleshed out audience and/or purpose. But that's changed now. I have readers -- far and few, perhaps, but I have readers nonetheless. And yet, now it is the text part of my little rhetorical situation that is scarce, not to mention my time.

What do I have to say these days?

Seriously, I'm sittng here for a full minute, and nothing comes to me.

For one thing, I miss my writing partner. She's even busier than I am, in the final stretch of her education, recovering from surgery, and has little time to enjoy a meal w/ her hubby, much less co-write our delightful novel. And I've had no time to attend to it either. The nonfiction book and Faking It come first these days, and I've been so mentally and emotionally spent from the recent traveling, family stuff, and teaching that I spent my nights vegging out on the couch and watching the previous night's Daily Show, or baseball when I should be writing. I'm thinking, is all I can say.

I miss conversing w/ my partner about our book, about the craft, about revising, etc. And I'm hoping she doesn't read this and feel bad. I know she misses me too. But one of the reasons why she's such a great partner is that she and I trust our process. We know that if we need to put the book on hold for now, it's ok. We trust that it'll be born at the right time, and we both look forward to that day.

I'm so grateful to have the day off today, even though I've got final drafts waiting to be graded, a manuscript waiting to be finished, a novel waiting to be published, a bathroom waiting to be cleaned, a car waiting to be serviced, etc. (Oy vey -- what am I doing writing this silly blog?!) The sun is out, and the choices are endless. Better still, the choices are mine to make, freely. Yay. In that case, I choose to pack up and head to Caribou coffee, put in an hour of grading, and take it from there.

Monday, October 20, 2008

good vibrations

I'm slammin' busy.
I'm so busy I haven't had time to write in my own blog, much less read anyone else's. And I feel bad. I feel as if I've neglected my readers.

But let me tell you about this weekend. Let's just say that thanks to synchronicity and the generosity of a couple, I found myself at the Abraham-Hicks Law of Attraction seminar at the Inn at Biltmore Estates in Asheville, NC this past weekend.

For starters, wowie!! Beautiful area, especially at this time of year.

For those who don't know Abraham-Hicks or Law of Attraction (LOA), I invite you to click here to go to the website and check it out. In a nutshell, LOA states that "that which is like unto itself is drawn." Put another way, when you are in vibrational harmony with your desire, you attract the object of your desire. You may have also heard the expression "what you give out comes back to you." Something like that.

Long before The Secret (and let me tell you, The Secret was no secret; rather, it was a brilliant marketing plan), there was Abraham-Hicks. And I've been practicing LOA for a long time. I could give you example after example of LOA at work in my life (and others'), but let's get to the point sooner than later. The seminar is really more of a conversation between Abraham (via Esther Hicks) and participants (or, in LOA-speak, co-creators). Those w/ questions raise their hands, and are selected at random to sit in the "hot seat," where they pose their questions in front of an eager audience.

In the days leading up to Sunday, I had formulated a question, an issue to bring to the seminar, and possibly Abraham themself (yes, I know I'm using the incorrect pronoun there, but in their vernacular, it's correct). I didn't know if I would raise my hand, for something in my gut told me that if I had, I would definitely be selected. (Did I mention that there's a video camera recording the event, as well as a microphone for audio recording as well? And that the images were projected on screen the whole time?) Quite frankly, I wasn't sure if I wanted that kind of attention.

My question, or issue, centered around the negative beliefs about self-publishing that I am still clinging to. I've shared them before, and you know them as well: the ones that say self-publishing isn't "legitimate," it's too expensive, won't bring recognition or dollars, etc. I could name them all w/ ease. But where were/are the beliefs to the contrary? Now, how LOA fits into these beliefs (and a belief is nothing more than a thought or series of thoughts repeated over time, and thoughts are vibrations of energy -- can you tell I've been drinking the kool-aid?) is that what I have been attracting has been in response to these vibrational thoughts. I mean, think about it. My book was supposed to be ready for sale back in July. I've had technical difficulty after technical difficulty. Co-incidence? Precisely. Put another way, I've been attracting delay, because I don't fully believe that what I'm doing validates me as a writer.

I can understand how some might find this to be a bunch of hooey, but I've witnessed enough events in my life to believe (there's that word again) otherwise.
I knew I had to change my thoughts (and I've been trying, even through this forum), but I wasn't sure where to start. I wanted a little help w/ that.

Well, I didn't raise my hand. But by listening to Abraham's responses to other questions, I felt more assured that I could take the initiative myself. What's more, the energy in the room was quite uplifting, although I had a dull headache for much of the day; at first, I thought it was fatigue, until I realized that the pain was emanating from the point known as the mind's eye. I then understood all too well that I was experiencing resistance -- in other words, the negative, false beliefs were fighting to stay alive.

And so, knowing that I am a co-creator of my life and all of my experiences, it's time to change my thoughts. I'll start with appreciation and positive aspects.
  • For one thing, I'm a damn good writer and worthy of being published, whether it's through Lulu.com or Simon and Schuster.
  • Second, irony of all ironies, aside from their books, Abraham-Hicks self-publish all their materials! In other words, who's the authority on "legitimacy," and why should I listen to them?
  • Third, self-publishing is giving me the freedom to release my book my way, and I can give myself all the attention I need regarding things like promotion and distribution. I am my best client. And through all the technical difficulties and mistakes, I've learned lessons, used my excellent rhetorical and communication skills (and my former lifetime in customer service/sales hasn't hurt), and given myself an opportunity to practice what I preach about being present, and responding vs. reacting.
Not a bad start, eh?

It's high time we writers start aligning our thoughts to what we really want. We can become bestsellers, we can attract agents and publishing deals, and we can be successful self-publishers, if we so desire. We can make writing our day jobs, the one that brings home the bacon. We are worthy. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. But we need to start acting as if we're already bestsellers, as if the agent is already here, as if the check's on its way. We need to think from the end, and stop listening to the voices in our heads or in the trade magazines or sitting next to us who say it can't be done, or it's too hard, etc. And if you think I'm just babbling a bunch of b.s. or that I'm naive, then of course you're free to think so; but please don't voice that in a Comment. I'd like to use this blog as a forum to practice appreciation and building new and better thoughts/beliefs. You're welcome to join me in this; and my hope is that you'll adapt these higher-frequency beliefs for yourself and your writing/publishing intentions.
I'm so slammin' busy that I haven't attended to making the necessary adjustments for my novel, but I'm going to. I'm going to fix it, I'm going to publish and release my novel, and I'm gonna sell a shitload of books and get rave reviews and follow up w/ my next novel, and the next, and the next. (In fact, I need to get out of the future tense and into the present: It's getting done. It's on its way.) Why? Because I can, and because I am in harmony w/ a universe that supports my intentions.

I think Abraham would agree.




Tuesday, October 14, 2008

pep talk?

I must must MUST commit to working on my book for at least one hour per night. I must must MUST meet my deadline. I must must MUST not give in to procrastination, MLB playoffs, Facebook, and other wonderful distractions. I must must MUST not use school demands as an excuse (although let's face it -- next week final drafts of Project 2 are due for grading).

sigh.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

taking the leap

I think I'm finally ready to say it out loud: I have a publisher for my nonfiction book!
I think it's ok to be cautious, but sometimes my "superstition" is really fear-based: fear of things not working out and winding up disappointed, fear of speaking too soon and winding up embarrassed (or the aforementioned disappointed), fear of losing momentum, etc. And while I *still* won't give the specifics of the book (hey, lots of writers share that superstition!), I will say that I am excited about this new venture. Because I am getting the chance to be a co-creator of this little company's vision (and let me tell you, this little company has big plans!), and I am getting the chance to co-create my writing career.

And as I told my good friend C over the phone when I got home from my meeting with my co-creators, I realized how stuck I've been in the negative thoughts and talk that writers can't make a living being full-time writers. I continue to put my writing career, and intentions, on the back burner as if they have less value because they aren't drawing a salary at the moment. Is this practicality at work, or delusions of worthlessness? I'm inclined to think the second. I'm inclined to think that the only thing in my way is that kind of false thinking. No mas! Time to trade up to a higher frequency of thought! Time to stop making excuses! Time to lovingly (and nonviolently, haha) "get aggressive" again.

I mean geez, I am getting my book published!! Two of them!!

Speaking of, I'm still working with customer service to fix the printing problem w/ Faking It. I'm not going to share the latest chapter of that saga (because frankly, it's too easy to get caught up in the complaining aspect, and why go there?), but I will say I'm putting my rhetorical skills to work and thanking my lucky stars I kept a record of dates, emails, etc. This process has been one big lesson, for sure. But man o man, I want the book on sale by the end of this month!!!! Send positive thoughts to both me and Lulu! Send 'em to Faking It! With thanks, of course.
namaste :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

and...

I am still waiting for a response regarding the status of my novel. I am aligning my energies so that this will be resolved in divine right time. And while I do that, I am staving off the cynical voice in my head that says, "yeah, right... it's been how long?"

I'm going home to Long Island this weekend and wish I could take the book with me (maybe I can at least show off the cover). But I will at least have something to talk about.

In the meantime, I'm not getting much physical writing done these days, but there's definitely some mental composing going on. It's "baking." And I sketched out an idea for a companion EBook to go w/ my nonfiction book.

Not too exciting, I know. But more to come soon, I hope. Hang in there with me!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

remember me?

I missed you all.

I am looking at the cover of my novel, Faking It. It's gorgeous. Eye-catching. Definitely makes you wanna pick it up and start reading.
Then I open the book.
Gobbledegook.
The text is printed in these cryptic characters that looks like Chinese at a first, quick glance.

Last month (yes, this has been going on a month), when I ordered the test copy, I went on Lulu's website to check the sample pages, just to see how it looked on the screen. That was the first time I saw the gobbledegook. Of course, I immediately contacted Help via IM and asked if this was a problem w/ the website or if my book was going to come out this way (I certainly didn't want to spend the money ordering a copy if I was going to get a book full of gobbledegook). They opened the PDF file of the manuscript and it looked fine. I did the same: fine. "Phew!" I said. "Make sure you check that out on your site."

After the whole fiasco w/ the package getting lost in the mail (took me at least two weeks, btw, if not more; I lost track), I had completely forgotten about the incident and about re-checking the site.

Sure enough, it wasn't a technical glitch.

I had to IM them again, and they told me to take a digital photo of the pages and email it to them (fortunately, I had recently bought my first digital camera -- I know, I'm way behind the times -- and had been regretting the expenditure until that moment). I took two photos and sent them, along w/ yet another message explaining the problem. That was Wednesday (or was it Tuesday?). I was supposed to hear back in two days. Today is Saturday. I've heard nothing.

I am trying to attract positive energy to the situation and give thanks (thank goodness I had that camera! thank goodness it's taking a few days -- I've been so preoccupied w/ student conferencing! thank goodness for... -- I've quickly run out); I've been ambivalent about taking the self-publishing route all along and can't help but wonder if this is the manifestation of that ambivalence. I'll tell you, though: after seeing the cover, I'm feeling differently. I mean, wait until you see it. It looks like a real book -- Hell, it is a real book!! That's exactly the kind of negative energy I'm talking about!

So at this point, there's nothing I can do, except wait until Monday. If I get no answer by then, I'm sending another email. And in the meantime, send some positive vibes to me, Lulu, and the book world to receive my novel. It's on its way.

Monday, September 29, 2008

see ya on the flip side

I'm bracing for a busy week (two, actually), and likely won't have a chance to post anything this week. I try not to let too much time pass between posts, but I don't think it can be avoided this time around. Who knows, maybe I'll be wrong; but in case I'm not, just wanted to give you the heads up and ask you to stay tuned. I shall return!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dear Purple Panda: a reader seeks advice

I'm reprinting a question posted by one of my faithful readers in the comments section following an earlier post, because it's a great question and because it's a chance for me to talk rhetoric, which you all know I love to do...

hi. i have a writing question, and i wasn't sure where to ask it, but it's kinda political, so i thought this would be a good place. i am opposed to a proposed federal mandate which is in a 30-public-feedback stage. i desperately want to comment on the proposal, but because of the way that the bill is written (very well) i'm having a hard time attacking it on a rhetorical level. what do you do when you want to write a strong argument but there isn't anything glaringly wrong (i just morally oppose the bill)? i mean, how do you shape an attack when you don't have a blatant target??(to clear it up a bit, the bill is trying to protect healthcare providers from being forced to perform any action that they are morally opposed to. it's trying to help them, and this is very clear in the way that it is written. however, i feel that this is negligent of the patient, simplistic in its view of access to care, and potentially dangerous in a downward spiral kind of way....but i feel like the argument isn't that strong. i want to say "it's my duty not to harm the patient. it's my duty to educate them about potential care and see that they receive the best possible care whether or not i provide it. but in the end, it's my utmost duty to respect the patient's right to be in control of their own healthcare." or some snappy version thereof. so wow, this comment is long, but i'm curious how to proceed with argument when you feel your rhetoric is weakly based.)


Ahhh, this reminds me of a "debate" we had in my Writing About Popular Culture class almost ten years ago (egad, where the hell did that time go?). We had to argue whether a student (hypothetically) had the right to hang a Nazi flag outside his dorm room door, and my group was assigned to argue in favor.
Oh goody.
Naturally, we all found this morally abhorrent, but I rallied my groupmates and said, "We're not going to address the moral issue; we're going to argue First Amendment down the line. We can say that it's abhorrent, but it's still that person's right." (In hindsight, I'm wondering whether that position would no longer be valid under the hate speech laws.)

Technically, my group won the debate because we had a more sound argument and anticipated that the opposition was gonna play the pathos card (the opposition, and my groupmates, I think, was especially speechless when I brought up the US's internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII-- don't remember what I was specifically responding to, but it worked). But I wrote a follow-up essay as part of the assignment that was more reflective of my own morality albeit still rhetorically effective.

Now, in your case, you're saying the argument to restrict practitioners from exercising treatments/practices to which they are morally opposed (such as administering birth control or the Morning After pill after a rape has been committed because it violates their pro-life stance, I assume) is sound-- or, at least, the written proposal is well-crafted.

Here's my suggestion:
  • For one thing, acknowledge the moral dilemma and make the concession that it exists. I'm trying to think of an instance in my own profession that matches this, but the closest I come to is maybe something like school prayer. (I don't find it "dangerous" or "harmful" as much as alienating and prejudicial, however.) You may even share your own propensity for personal morality and its role in your practice, or even spiritual values that may not necessarily be integrated in your practice (such as praying for patients), but is essentially a part of your own life and being. This will disarm your audience who supports this legislation.
  • Next, redefine the moral obligation. You said: however, i feel that this is negligent of the patient, simplistic in its view of access to care, and potentially dangerous in a downward spiral kind of way....but i feel like the argument isn't that strong. i want to say "it's my duty not to harm the patient. it's my duty to educate them about potential care and see that they receive the best possible care whether or not i provide it. but in the end, it's my utmost duty to respect the patient's right to be in control of their own healthcare." I disagree w. you; I think that's quite valid and actually *really* strong. Your first statement is a powerful claim -- you now need to provide the evidence to support it. Show me examples/evidence of negligence; show me how/why the view is simplistic; show me the cause-effect of the downward spiral. In other words, it's just as morally reprehensible if we withheld an option such as contraception from a patient as if we withheld an option such as chemotherapy and radiation because we're against violence of all kinds (and I think that's a form of violence), for example. (Maybe that analogy was too extreme and thus faulty in logic, but hopefully you get my drift.)
  • Finally, offer potential solutions or even compromises. Is there a way for those who stand in opposition to refer patients to other specialists? Is it acceptable to say, "I'm personally opposed to this, but it's my duty as a practitioner to inform you of all your options (or is that intimidating? based on all the Law & Order I've watched it seems that even counsel will still carry out their clients' wishes under protest). And if there are no good compromises, then stand your ground anyway. Your position is not an unreasonable one. It may be that if the person is *that* morally opposed, then she/he needs to leave the profession, or open a private practice in which she/he explicitly states that she/he will not perform such services, thus allowing the patient to go elsewhere. (I see this creeping up more and more w/ pharmacists, too, who won't fill prescriptions for birth control pills, for example. Kinda scary, if you ask me.)
  • What's up w/ the Patient Bill of Rights that John Edwards had a hand in? I might not bring his name into it, but I heard it was an excellent bill (or am I thinking of a West Wing episode? seriously, it's possible!)

Overall, I think that approaching readers as a co-thinker (i.e. not going on the attack) while maintaining your position -- i.e., use of rhetorical appeals: ethos, pathos (carefully), logos -- is your best bet. And knowing you as I do (that is to say, knowing your writing skills), I have the utmost confidence that you'll pull it off and earn the respect of your colleagues, not to mention the trust of your patients.

And with that, I think I hear the bell ringing... Class dismissed!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

critical reading in critical condition

The older I get, the longer it takes me to get through a stack of papers, be it for feedback or grading or both. I don't know what happened to my grad school days, when I used to rise early on a Saturday morning, drive to Uncle Jon's coffeeshop, and park myself in one of the comfy corner chairs with my vanilla chai, choc chip muffin, and stack of papers. I'd zip through 10-15 until noon. (I may be exaggerating. I seem to recall spending 20 minutes per paper in the early days, although I think by the end of my TA days, I'd gotten it down to 10. These days I'm averaging about 15) Then I'd hit whatever academic reading I was assigned for my own courses.

No mas.

I'm lucky to get through ten in a day now. A whole day, with breaks in between. Again, ten is the high point. Sometimes five is the goal.

And yet, I can get through two chapters of a book no problem. Of course, pleasure reading and critical reading are two very different cognitive functions, as I frequently tell my students. But I also tell them that reading is reading. It may be just my low-volume-high-content thing kicking in for me, the volume decreasing as my chronological age increases. It's certainly not disinterest or disdain.

What's fascinating is the disdain for reading they've developed thanks to their educational upbringing, and I don't blame them one bit. What some of them have described (and sure, they might be biased, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt), as indicated by the language they've used ("forced," "drilled," "shoved down our throats," "tortured," etc.), shows that there's a problem not only with the way students are being taught to read and about literature, but also, and more seriously, with the attitude and manner in which students are exposed to reading. I don't get on the bandwagon of blaming the teacher -- I think many of them are yearning to pass on their own passions for reading -- but something is very wrong with the system.

Ditto for writing. And again, I'm not getting on the bandwagon of "students can't even write a complete sentence" (hell, I'm willing to bet my salary that some members of Congress, from both parties, can't do it either). I'm not convinced that the problem.

I'm sorry that Kairos has become so political these last few posts. My work is spilling over onto this blog. So are the times we live in. But I'm convinced that we're in this crisis (and not just economic) not only because of greed and all the other 10-second sound-bite excuses, but because we're producing generations that are not reading and writing enough, partly because they don't know how, but more so because they don't want to. And I'm wondering what I can do to change that, if what little I'm doing now is making a difference.

On that note, I must get off my soapbox and tackle the final eight papers awaiting a grade. I'm hoping to do at least four w/in the next hour. I sure do miss Uncle Jon's vanilla chai.

Monday, September 22, 2008

visit from an old friend

Enjoy this "what if" by my hero Aaron Sorkin. You might not agree w/ what's being said, but ya gotta love the writing. I do! I outright cheered in my apartment (and it's not even 9am yet) when I read the part about democrats taking back the words "elite" and "patriot". And heck, I miss Jed Bartlet!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

all dressed up and no chance to read

Maybe it wasn't meant to be.
Maybe it was because my name was drawn at the last open mic, and it was someone else's turn this time. Maybe I got greedy. Or overconfident. Or complacent.
Maybe it was because I'm not to read my novel until it's released to the public, so people can buy it once they hear it. Maybe I'm meant to debut it on its own, w/out the help of an open mic contest.
Maybe it was because my supporters (like Mit) weren't there tonight, and there wasn't a great turnout, and my novel is meant to be heard by the masses. Maybe it wasn't the right crowd.
Maybe it was because I was headachey, hungry, and inexplicably sneezing all day at random. Maybe I wouldn't have put out a good performance despite my rehearsal.
Maybe it wouldn't have won.
Or maybe I'm just not in alignment with the universe this month.

At any rate, I'm disappointed. I wanted to read again. I rehearsed. I wore my sexy boots and my makeup came out flawless. I straightened my hair.
Alas, there will be other opportunities, I'm sure.

...and I approve this message

My brother and I have been engaged in a lot of political discussion and debate these last few weeks. Thank goodness my long distance plan is no longer paid by the minute, otherwise I'd be paying some pretty high bills! Often times my brother and I don't see eye to eye on the issues. He tends to be fiscally conservative, while I tend to be more on the idealistic side.

But conversing w/ my brother about these things has been stimulating, even enjoyable, because he does not conform to the 10 second sound bites and viral headlines that media outlet after outlet are so quick to take out of context and squeeze into a consumerable package. He does not jump on bandwagon slogans and shock rhetoric. He does his homework. He consults multiple sources and evaluates them for their validity. He not only reads the speeches, but analyzes and interprets them beyond flashy partisan punditry. He listens to others' points of view with an open mind. And when he presents his argument, he provides evidence to support his claims, and works to make them as valid as possible. (And he throws in a bit of humor, too.)

In fact, I wish our own presidential candidates took a page from his conduct.

Kairos Calling is a blog that celebrates writing, and when I started this blog, my intent was to make the conversation about creative fiction and nonfiction. But I'm also a rhetoric girl--that's my bread and butter, my diploma on the wall, and it's the way I approach my fiction and nonfiction. And so, I'm pleased to see him following these basic rhetorical prinicples, and I grow more and more frustrated that the political debate in this country follows the template of a Mac vs. PC commercial rather than substantive, rhetorical, intelligent discourse.

This is where he and I are in staunch agreement.

When I listened to Obama's speeches during the primaries, I was struck by his message of hope. He spoke of change, but change came through ideas, through inclusion, through peace, through hope, and through visionary thinking. He spoke of the promise of restoring faith and pride in our government and in politics. For the first time in a long, long time, he made me feel good. Indeed, I felt hope.

But where has that message gone?

He has gone from ideas to ideology. He has gone from visionary thinking to playing it safe. He has gone from peace to tough-guy persona. He has gone from inclusion to regulation. He has gone from hope to placating. And he has stopped engaging in thoughtful, encouraging, intelligent debate. He has succumbed to the sound bite. He has turned his attention from positive proactiveness ("fired up-ready to go") to defensive reaction ("I have experience-Palin doesn't").

I read Obama's morning radio address in which he says he has a plan to fix the economy, to fix health care; but unless I'm looking in the wrong places, I don't see the actual plan. I want details. I want to see the ideas -- whether I agree w/ them or not. I'm tired of the validation that the situation sucks and I'm even more tired of the endless, childish finger-pointing -- I want to know what you're going to do to keep this from falling into my wallet when I had no say in either the problem or the solution.

Enough.

For all the comparisons to Reagan that the Republicans use to align themselves, no one really understands what his policies were all about, because no one takes the time to study them anymore. We only remember a charismatic figure and the classic "Tear down that wall!"

For all the talk about experience, no one turns to the Cuban Missile Crisis and how a young JFK responded to it; we only see the photos of him sailing and being serenaded by Marilyn Monroe.

For all the talk of "offensive defense" and "pre-emptive strike" (or my favorite slogan, "peace through strength," or something like that), no one examines the momunmental decision by the IRA, once a terrorist organization w/ the same ferociousness as Al-Queada, to end their methods of violence.

We turn to news footage, bits and clips, footnotes and youtube, cereal box mentality. Why oh why don't we turn to our best resources: our minds and our libraries?

This may be simply a case where I'm using my blog as a forum to get on my soapbox, and I suppose that's my perogative since it is my blog... but there is a message in here, and it's one about rhetoric more than writing. It's also an open call to the candidates: if you want change, start with your rhetoric.

Start by breaking through the consumer culture and engage us through our minds instead of our screens.

Do your homework. Consulte reliable sources. Research. Take the emphasis off the pathos and amp up the logos (it'll do wonders for your ethos).

Stop listening to bullies who call you "elitist" because you turn an elegant phrase. (To steal from Aaron Sorkin and The West Wing: "You think Mao never turned an elegant phrase? How do you think he got 'em all to be communists?") It is high time we start celebrating intelligence not only as a commodity but as patriotic. Jefferson; Madison; Franklin: Elitist?

Talk to the people instead of at the people. You've done a so-so job of listening to the problems, but have you listened to our ideas? Aside from taking my money for more ads and soliciting me for my vote, have you asked anything else of me?

And for the love of Zeus, stop looking at us as demographics. White female liberal. White blue collar worker. Black woman. Gay male. Conservative Republican. Liberal Democrat. War monger. Peacenick. Independent undecided. Obama, four years ago you said we are more than these labels -- and yet, I don't feel any sort of collective comraderie. What happened to "citizen"?

And speaking of, here's a call to citizens: stop playing into the sound clips and out-of-context quotes. Do your homework. Research. Seek to understand. Evaluate your sources. (My advice? Turn off CNN, Fox News, and the whole lot of them.) Engage in open-minded discourse and not shouting matches. Evaluate, analyze, interpret, and then persuade. Be like my brother. He's behaving like a citizen.

Maybe, just maybe, discourse can be the instrument of change. Maybe discourse can restore the hope.

It's worth a try.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

what's up w/ the purple panda...

For the record, I'm going to try not to let too much time pass between posts, but now's when my day job takes over, and sometimes I plain have nothing to add. I will catch you up on a couple of things, though.

I've just finished editing an EBook, the second one, for what I believe and hope will be the beginning of a fortuitous partnership of things to come. The dangerous thing about getting into editing mode is that it starts to wear off when I read student papers. Hopefully I'll be out of the habit by the time I collect their first final drafts tomorrow.

My nonfiction book needs to take center stage at this point in time. Things are progressing nicely in terms of aforementioned partnership. I'll say no more about it because you know me and jinxing (it's not in writing yet), but it looks good! The book, however, is shaky at best. Or, at the very least, I am. I am sure this is my perfectionism at work again, but I need a reader for it. I need someone I trust who knows the genre, who can give me both critical and insightful feedback but also understand my rhetorical situation and the needs of the market. My typical Intended Reader, my writing partner, is not the best source on this because she hates the genre (spiritual self-help) -- italics appropriate. On one hand, she's a good reader in that she's someone I can hope to target in terms of the reader who gives the testimonial "I never thought I'd ever pick up a book like this, but..." On the other hand, she knows me too well...

Speaking of books, my novel is still lost in the mail. This has been going on for over a week now. My carrier has been kind enough to get on the stick and track it down, calling me w/ updates, but I've not heard anything yet today. I REFUSE to pay for another one, so I can only hope that either they're gonna find it or someone's gonna reimburse me for losing it in the first place. What's pissing me off is that this is delaying my debut date. I can't move forward until I proof it, and I can't proof it if I DON'T HAVE THE DAMN BOOK IN MY HANDS. I apologize for shouting, but it's been an unpleasant week.

But I have the next open mic contest at QRB to look forward to. I'm entering again, and this time I'm going to read from the novel, and this time I'm going to win, dammit!
Stay tuned...

Friday, September 12, 2008

bad day

There are a lot of reasons why I had a crappy day today, but here's one aspect that fits into the day of an aspiring author and the business of writing.

My book is lost in the mail.
I had ordered my own book for proofing before I progress to buy an ISBN and finally getting it ready for sale. And maybe I'm being selfish, but does anyone find something unjust about buying your own book for the purpose of proofing? Wouldn't it be great customer service to allot one or two free copies for that purpose? Surely the POD company could cover that cost somehow, or am I being naive?

Anyhoo, I bought the cheap shipping (USPS, for however many days) when I bought the book, and finally got the email saying the package had been shipped, and figured I'd get it by Monday. I'm doing apt-complex living, of course, so I was looking for the slip notifying me that the package was waiting for me in the office.
Monday: no slip.
Tuesday: no slip.
Wednesday: no slip (did I accidentally throw it out w/ the circulars?).
Thursday: no slip. I was going to go to the office and asked if the package had arrived -- perhaps someone forgot the slip or I accidentally tossed it -- but then thought, "Nah, they're very organized. I bought the cheap shipping. It's late, is all."
So I then decided to check it through the tracking, which notified me that it had been DELIVERED on Sept 8!!!!
sonofabitch!!!

Of course, the complex office had closed before I could call and find out what's up. Of course, I couldn't stop in to the office this morning because they weren't open yet. When I finally got a chance, I went to the office, and they looked.
Nothing.
I then drove straight to the post office.
"Do you have your tracking number?"
Geez, how could I be stupid enough to not stop into my apt to get it?I drove back to my apt., changed, checked the tracking again, copied the number and triple-checked it, drove back to the apt. office and asked them to check one more time (nothing), and then drove back to the post office, and they told me to call between 8 and 10 tomorrow morning because "they don't have it."
I even went back to my mailbox: got mail, but no slip.

Great.

Some days, when it comes to being an aspiring published author, it's no wonder we collectively feel the deck is stacked against us. I'm sure that once this grey cloud completely passes, I'll be voicing a much sunnier and more hopeful perspective and intention. But for today, I'm simply wanting to see my own @#!! book in my hands.

Is that really too much to ask?