Waiting It Out vs DIY

For a few months now I have been corresponding with an e-book publisher that may or may not be interested in taking on my novella St. Peter in Chains. First they told me it was under consideration for the back half of this year. Then they told me their slate is full up this year but they’ll consider it for 2013. In the meantime “under consideration” still doesn’t guarantee they’ll publish it at all.

I’d also sent the novella to Amazon Kindle Singles. It was rejected, and from what I can gather, so has everyone been who isn’t already a big-selling name. We’ve all received form e-mails suggesting we use Amazon’s Kindle Direct to self-publish our work. It’s something I’m willing to consider, though I hate the feeling I’d be capitulating to Amazon’s snarky practices. They don’t have a monopoly on self-publishing (in the e-verse anyway), but it’s pretty close given that Kindle is the most widely used e-book reader. Though of course I’d want to offer the novella on a variety of platforms. It will take some research, certainly, and I don’t want to rush into anything.

Which is funny, given that my impatience is the root of all this to begin with.

I will at least look into all my options. There’s a lot of information out there to wade through, so this will take some time, but I like learning things anyway, and I’m always up for a new challenge.

Unpacking

Unpacking is like excavating, especially when someone else did all the boxing—you never know where anything is or what you might find. Like archaeology, it’s hard work, time consuming, but also can be fun and enlightening. I’ve found my old postcard collection (when did I stop buying postcards for it? not sure) and my coin collection . . . but not my old stamp collection yet. And I found these:Back when I was an undergrad, you see, I worked in a copy shop, and I got this idea to make placemats out of magazine photos. I blew the pictures up and laminated them, just a variety of images of things I liked, things that defined me and my situation as a film/television student. (You’ll see the two above are an old Steven Spielberg/Temple of Doom photo and one of Jeremy Brett from Granada’s Sherlock Holmes series.) My guests were usually surprised, if they hadn’t already been tipped off, and either thought it was a fun touch to meals/parties or else thought I was a bit strange. Or both.

I don’t know what I’ll do with these things now, though my son has asked for some of them—mostly manga and anime images—to be put on the walls of his room. I’ve outgrown a lot of the fannish tropes, though not my love for the art of film and television.

Most of it, of course, is books. And scripts. And more books. My Sherlock Holmes library, which is extensive . . . Many, many photo albums. Stacks of notebooks. I’m starting to lose hope of ever having enough bookshelves to fit it all. And then the media: DVDs and CDs and such. My God.

But right now I am looking out my office window at my little English garden and thinking: As soon as I have a chair . . . Because I have this lovely little table out there now:It’s cast iron and everything, heavy as sin, but I can’t wait to sit out there and work. My office is lovely, or it will be one day once it’s unpacked and adorned, but sometimes one just needs fresh air and sunshine and flowers and birds. It’s not the garden at St John’s Lodge or anything, but it’s the closest I’ll get out here. And I don’t have to share it.

I’ve gone off topic, but that’s all right, I’m really just procrastinating. Back to the trenches now. The sooner the site is dug, the sooner I can put the shards together.

I know how this ends, the way it has always ended, with Alexandria in flames.

But we are not there yet.

Hello, my Marcus Antonius. The time is nigh, and things are moving now, swifter, like the speeding of the current that will bear me to Tarsus. Already you can hear the distant music and chanting, smell the perfume that carries across the water. They will be running to you to bring word of me, Aphrodite come to Dionysus. But will you believe it when you see it? And shall we start a club?

Inimitable, yes, save for cycles of lifetimes that play out the same game again and again. You may sharpen your sword; I’ll go in search of a snake.

But again: we are not there yet.

For now, enjoy the flowers and the wine, the music and the meat. They will talk about us now as they did then, a story for the ages. The sun reflected against silver and gold, or the spotlight—the heat is the same. And there is always the hope we may set the wheel, as well as the world, on fire, thus charring fate before it burns through us.

Writing Opportunity: Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2012

Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2012

The details of the prize are as follows:

Categories: Fiction; Poetry; Life Writing
Word limit: 3000 (or five poems)
Deadline: 27 July 2012 5pm GMT
Prize: £300 and publication in Wasafiri magazine
Fee: £6.00 if entering one category, £10 for two and £15 for all three

The prize is open to anyone worldwide who has not published a complete book in the category they wish to enter. Other terms and conditions apply, please visit www.wasafiri.org for further information and to download the application form, or email wasafiri@open.ac.uk

Where I’m From . . .

Sent to me by my mother, probably in an attempt to remind me of my roots. After all, where I’m from the key question is: “But who is his [or her] family?” Hell, where I’m from we cut the hair off dead relatives and weave decorative wreaths adorned with pressed flowers . . . Yeah, it’s macabre. In that Southern Gothic kind of way.

And it also freaks people out when I slip into a “Suthun” accent . . .

Key Southern Cities
typically “dripping with charm”

Chawlstn
S’vannah
N’Awlins
Addlana

Who Counts as a Southern Gentleman

Men in Uniform
Men in Tuxedos
Rhett Butler (though we settle for Clark Gable)

Three Deadly Sins for a Southern Woman

bad hair & nails
bad manners
bad cooking

Things Only True Southerners Know

  1. the difference between a hissy fit and a conniption fit (and that you “pitch” a fit, never “have” one)
  2. how many of anything make up “a mess” or “a passel”
  3. exactly how long a time “directly” [pr. “direckly”] is (i.e., “Gone to town, be back directly.”) Same is true of “by and by”

Just for fun, I’ll add an old Joe Boudreaux joke here. (For those who don’t know, Joe Boudreaux is an Acadian folk hero featured in many jokes.)

Joe Boudreaux was driving to visit a friend who’d moved out past Houma somewhere, and while he was driving he got turned around. He started to think he was driving in circles! Then Joe came to a crossroads, and at that crossroads was a young boy of about age nine or ten. Joe stopped the car, rolled down the window, pointed down the road in front of him and asked the boy, “If I go down this road here, where I be at?”

“I don’t know, me,” the boy said.

Joe Boudreaux pointed down a side road. “Well, if I go down this road here, where I be at?”

But the boy shook his head. “I don’t know, me.”

Joe pointed the other direction. “And if I go down that road there, where I be at?”

“I don’t know, me.”

“You don’t know much, do ya?” snapped a frustrated Joe Boudreaux.

But the boy just stared at him placidly and answered, “Well, I ain’t the one who’s lost.”

Tidbits

Have a couple script treatments to write, but with my office not even half unpacked and sorted I totally don’t feel like it. My physical space isn’t right, so my mental space isn’t right, either. Gah.

Wondering what I thought of Frankenstein? Wonder no longer: my thoughts are here.

And if you’re wondering what I think of Matchbox Twenty’s “She’s So Mean” you can read a short musing on it here.

Now I am off to continue excavating, and to possibly even do some work (namely writing).

A Scene #3

They lay on their backs in the coolness of the grass and stared up and up at the canopy of oaks that stretched over them, stately and unmoving; nothing stirred in the heat.

It had been a long day, spent walking and looking and (eventually) talking—a conversation that had unfolded like crumpled paper, tight and stiff at first but later spread in many directions from the place where it had started, until they finally forgot there had been a time they’d never known one another. A time only hours before, in fact.

But by afternoon the edges of that paper had been reached; their talk came to the margins and slowed, and they lay now in the park, no longer speaking at all, only enjoying the shade. The undersides of the oak leaves flashed grey-green in the sun that touched the treetops. Everything around them smelled of earth and growth; the park was well tended, galvanized against the season.

He waited until he thought she might have fallen asleep before turning to look at her, but her eyes were still open. He liked her, he decided, and she either felt his eyes or heard his thought because she looked at him, too.

“I think I’m falling in love with you,” he said, only half joking.

She smiled, but it was wan and didn’t touch her eyes. “I’m technically still married.”

He rolled onto his side and searched her expression as well as her words, trying to find the loophole. Her eyes were not cold; she was not running away. She was wary, perhaps, and giving him fair warning.

“Technically . . .” he said, sure this was the key word. “But your heart?”

She shrugged and went back to studying the arc of branches above them. “We’re friends. Still live in the same house. But we haven’t shared a bed in almost two years.”

He reached over, pulled her to him, and she did not resist. “Would you share mine?”

Tough as Nails

The kids were working my extremely rusty soccer [“football” to my overseas friends] skills this morning. Glad to say I still have a bit in me. And it helps to have “rock star toes” too:

Yes, I was playing soccer in a sundress and sandals and with sparkly toes. My daughter kept calling me “Princess Aurora, Soccer Star!”

Of course, at one point while playing I wasn’t watching where I was going and backed into one of the hawthorne plants, winning a couple barbs in my shoulder that I had to pluck out. “Briar Rose” indeed!