Friday, January 2, 2009

The One That I Want

A few years ago I wrote a book.

The main question I got asked about the writing process was "how many pages is it?"  A question I always found extremely odd.  I imagine it's like actors getting asked "how DO you memorize ALL of those LINES?"  It always caught me off guard ... and made me grossly aware of my page count (378).

I knew getting a book published would be difficult, so I decided to outsmart the system.  I queried a publisher before I even finished the book.  I figured I'd rack up the rejection letters for a year or two while I wrote and then at about the same time the book was finished, I was sure a publisher or agent would come calling.  SSG DIGS on efficiency and the false impression that she can control the future.

A couple of months later, as I swung by my mailbox on my way home from work, I got a letter from a publisher in New York.   "My first REJECTION LETTER!  I'm a REAL writer!"  I almost yelled to the random lady walking down the street.

I ripped the letter out of the envelope, hands shaking and teary eyed, almost passing out when it said:

"Your story idea sounds interesting, please send the completed manuscript."


Um, WHAT completed manuscript?  By manuscript they TOTALLY meant sending a few spiral bound, handwritten, coffee stained notebooks their way, right?  


For the next 3 weeks, I got up and wrote for a couple hours before work, came home and wrote until about midnight and then shipped my manuscript off to an editorial assistant somewhere in Manhattan.  And then?

I promptly freaked the fuck out.

We went back and forth a couple of times over about a year, but ultimately they decided not to pick the book up.  Their words: "Your work has merit, but the romantic relationship needs to be more prominent."

My words:  "Even my FICTIONAL relationships SUCK ASS."

Now, YES.  I know it was a HUGE thing to have my first time up at the plate be a double.  Okay, maybe a single ... even if it did mean never reaching home (gah I miss baseball, I'm using metaphors 3 MONTHS before opening day).  But it also screwed me up for a while.

I had a sense of confidence (that I had NO business having) about approaching people in the publishing business.   After a few "we're not interested" e-mails and letters, my short lived confidence jumped off a bridge and I put the book away.  It has been in a drawer ever since.

We're fortunate enough to have an author as a family friend.  She has volunteered to give me advice but that means showing my book to her.  Which really is like asking me to strip naked in front of all of you.   In fact, I'd rather do that.  

How do I work this video thingy?  
Can I get some music?!

Anyhoo ... the whole point of this is that I'm saying YES to writing again.  It is what I not only want to do, but what I can't NOT do.

Excuse me while I go freak the fuck out ... AGAIN.

I started this blog last year for two reasons.  I had been writing every day for years before I sent off that query letter.  Every day for a couple of hours before I'd trot off to work, I'd write with no expectations, just for the sheer pleasure of it.  I wanted to get back to writing for fun.  I also needed to remember to pay attention to my daily life.  2006 and 2007 gave the finger to SSG in a BIG way.  I wanted to remind myself that there still was a ton of fun to be had in this crazy world ... even during the painful, sucky periods.

I'd say 2008 was a success on both accounts ... with considerably less suckage than its predecessors. 

So!  If anyone is still reading ... the big news is this:

I'm picking up the pen again.  I am scared shitless but also SO excited to say yes to a life that I have wanted since I was 5 years old and writing a script to go along to the Grease soundtrack I listened to in my parents garage.

I got chills.  They're multiplyin'.  

And wait for it ...


What are YOU saying yes to this year?


belladella said...

That last question is something I really have to think about. I think it has something to do with being creative, though. I need to make more time for that.

I am so glad to hear that you are writing again- I use again very loosely. You churn out amazing work here every single day.

I've always wanted to write a book. Really. Actually, I think I would be happy writing articles again. I was a newswoman from elementary school through college and thought I would be a journalist when I grew up. Hmmmm?

Maybe that is what I need to say yes to again.

That and baseball. I miss baseball. Remind me to e-mail you a funny story about that.

Molly said...

Funny, making myself write something everday is why I started my blog. I would love to be a writer, and was editor of my high school newspaper. It seems to me there must be something you want to say - and I haven't figured that out yet. What I appear to be doing is using photography and crafts as my creative outlet, and this is good. So I need to say yes to more of that, and commit to slogging through the repetition that goes with developing a talent.

Enough of me, let's talk about you: Your posts are so engaging. You definitely have a voice. And I understand your dilemma. Writing is hard because it's pretty much taking that soft, vulnerable creature inside and pouring her out on paper for everyone to see.

I look forward to saying "hey, I knew her when she kept this blog..."

And my verfication "word" is undetypo. Some kind of sign?

Predo said...

I am soooo excited!!! FINALLY! (throw a little Hammer dance!)

By the way, after your striptease, I get to read the book, right? Actually, I think our special friend, the former editor "R" has dibs first up (cuz he wants to read if there is any "dirty" parts!)!

What ever, what ever. I am actually just happy you are getting back in the saddle. Congratulations! Just remember to do it for yourself, just like it started, and all will be okay!

Love you Princess! Oh, and if you write about me, make sure "my ass" is glorified!!!! LOL!

Living on the Spit said...

This is amazing news, SSG and you have my complete support.

I have often wanted to ask you if there was any chance that you would write a book...I agree, I was capitvated with you from the start by your writing. You just have that special way of conveying emotion and information in an enlightening way.

I miss writing everyday, although it was "technical" writing and not very expressive, it was somewhat creative to me, expecially while performing research. I write for me and the story, although totally true, is too personal to share with the rest of the world, who would believe that the paths I have walked in the past to be true? Somedays, I can hardly trust that I survived.

Someone like Oprah, or was it Dr. Phil once said, that there is a book in all of us...I can not wait to read yours! Do you need a proofer? Any help defining any dark characters who run through life with wild abandon? Research? I am here to help in any way...even if it is to say...get off the internet and go write!

What do I want to explore this year? Finding a recession proof job would be a great start.

Just awesome news sweetheart. I can speak for all of us. We are SOOOOOO behind you 100%.

Love ya,

Marlene...sewing does help with the whole creative process.

Big Hair Envy said...

Look at you! Gettin' back in the saddle:) Could I get a copy of that manuscript? I'm always looking for a good "beach read"...will there be firefighters?

This year, I want to start a line of BHE products. It's still in the planning stages, but I have a friend who is working on a logo for me....who knows where it might go? You never know unless you try, and I don't want to wake up one day and say "what if..."!

Lys said...

First of all, SUPER EXCITED for you. I think you should write - and don't let ANYTHING slow you down.

What will I say "Yes" to - umm.. I'll get back to you on that. I am, however, getting more focused on developing Cooking In Stilettos and possibly dabbling in Culinary PR but we'll see. All in due time, right?

Bob said...

Go Bobby, Go! Glad to hear you will be picking it up again! Hope there is someone named 'Bob' in there somewhere. :)

Frita said...

The world needs your voice! It was what you are born to do...

Just remember to keep us on your Chirstmas card list when you become super rich and famous and move to Paris. I can at least say I was with you there the first time :o)

kimmyk said...

i'm not saying yes to anything at the moment.
i'm in declutter stage then i'll be all yes to probably everything.

but i gotta ask...since i'm new around john cusack are you kiddin me with that? love him.

kimmyk said...

oh yeah...good luck with writing (again). very cool!