aqua fortis

Friday, September 30, 2005

Dreams of Not-So-Grandeur

I had this really bizarre dream last night. It definitely seems to reflect my literary stress. In the dream, I was at a party at my friend Cindy's family's house. All her relatives were there, and at one point I remember I was warming her grandmother's cold hands between my own. I had brought a casserole dish with some sort of ham and potatoes au gratin in it, which I seem to remember calling a "ham-n-cheesy bake." At the bottom of the casserole (yes, in the dish) was the latest letter I had gotten from an agent to whom I'd submitted my YA novel proposal. It was opened and lay flat underneath the food, but I hadn't read it yet for some reason.

Then, before I really realized it, people had started cutting into and eating the casserole, including the papers underneath. So I said something like, "Hey, wait, I didn't read that letter yet." A few people tried to look at the pieces they held in their hands, but then I said, "It doesn't matter because it's probably another rejection anyway." It was a brief letter.

Later in the dream I was sitting at a dining-room table, perhaps at a different party. I had just received a packet, presumably a rejection, from an agent. Tanita (aka TadMack) had gotten accepted by an agent, Steven Chudney, whom I had just been rejected by. He happened to be at the party, and she got in conversation with him and a woman who worked in his office. Meanwhile, I looked at the letter I got, which was impersonal (Dear Author) but so long and convoluted that at first I couldn't tell if it was a rejection or not. It turned out that, despite the impersonal salutation, it was a sort-of acceptance. The two reviewers who looked at it had, at the opening of the letter, each written their names and one word, chosen from a short list, that best described how they felt about my submission. Their two words were "jealousy" and "choice." I noticed that one of the other words on the list they were choosing from was "denial," which I assumed would have meant a no.

I went on to scan through the letter and saw at the end that they had requested me to bring a whole array of "supporting documents" to their office, which was in Boston. I thought, I can't afford to just fly to Boston, unless they pay for me to go there. The bullet-point list of supporting materials included various photos/slides of Welsh landscape and history (this makes sense in light of my novel). They asked for the photos to be put in sleeves and bound with a binder ring. But I was still excited about it. I thought, I'll have to tell them about the two lettters I sent to publishers just last week (true).

Then Tanita and the lady from Steven Chudney's office came over to say that Tanita had been telling them about me and they were interested in talking to me. I said, "How can they be interested in me? They just rejected me last week." They were both taken aback/embarrassed/confused. I said, "Anyway, it's okay; I just got from another agent." The letterhead said they were an agency "of color."

And then I woke up.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Oh, the Injustice.

I can't submit an unsolicited manuscript of quality literature (or at least, what I hope is quality literature), but I can submit an unsolicited Star Trek novel. What is up with that?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Arr, This Be Revision, Mateys.

Originally uploaded by Aquafortis.

Yes, there is a reason why I said that like a pirate.

Anyway, here is the long-promised photo of the drastic revisions I did on my story a couple of weeks ago.

On a totally separate and bummer note, have you ever noticed how, if you spend your day doing something utterly pointless--even if it's for money--everything else you do also seems utterly pointless? Maybe that's just me. Or it could be the brand-new novel rejection talking. At least this one was personalized (Insert best Arnold impersonation here--"Rejection: This time it's personal.").

Monday, September 12, 2005

Funny Flashbacks

God damn, did I used to write some humorous humor columns. (Be sure to click both of those links. Apparently I was on a roll that day.)

Unfortunately, very little of what I wrote is in good enough taste to serve as a writing sample for something aimed at 12- and 13-year-old boys. Well, really, it was aimed at those boys, and the ten-year age span above that, but I'm not sure it's a very professional example of my writing. What an enjoyable waste of two years of writing daily.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Very Bad Television

Sometimes I watch craptacular TV shows while, say, washing the dishes. I usually only ever watch each program once or twice, in total desperation for something to entertain me while I engage in mindless drudgery. Tonight's crapfest was MTV's Date My Mom, a show in which one guy goes on dates with three moms and then decides, sight-unseen, which mom's daughter he wants to go out with.

Of course the show was bad. It was too heavily edited and scripted to even be morbidly fascinating. It's too lame to even merit a category on Television Without Pity, though it did spawn a forum. But when I was done watching, it got me thinking that the opposite show could never, ever happen. You would never see Date My Dad. A young 20-something girl going on dates with three dads? Come on. Date My Mom--some might think that was kind of cute. Date My Dad? Some might think it was kind of creepy. What a bizarre double standard, when you really think about it. Why is it less creepy for a middle-aged woman to attempt to win a twenty-something man for her daughter by dating him herself?

Monday, September 05, 2005

Somebody Is My Hero.

Somebody Is My Hero.
Originally uploaded by Aquafortis.
I saw this sign for "Square Dance Lessens" a couple of days ago while driving around town. I noticed the egregious error and commented to Rob how I'd just love to get a big black marker and correct that errant "e." Then, of course, I promptly forgot all about it.

But today when we drove past the sign again, this is what I saw. I kind of want to call whoever did it and tell them how much they rock. It brightened my day, I tell you.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Where the Bloody Marys Are Bad and the Karaoke is Badder

Last night we met a friend for drinks at this place on our side of town that's basically a bar masquerading as a Japanese restaurant. (We have a couple of those in town.) The food--even the sushi--is passable, but chiefly people seem to go there to a) get drunk and b) sing karaoke. Because yes, like many of the otherwise unassuming restaurants in town, Torii has a teeny little stage set up for your craptastic listening pleasure.

And craptastic it was. But let me back up a bit. A few weeks ago, Sam, a colleague of mine from my Welsh language group, was in town for a night. I picked him up from the train station on a Monday evening and conversation eventually rambled to the fact that not a hell of a lot of places are open in Modesto on a weekday night. "But," I said half-jokingly, "I can take you to the steak house with the cowboy karaoke." "Cowboy karaoke?" was his incredulous answer. For he found it difficult to believe that not only did "legitimate" restaurants such as Lyons offer karaoke, but that a large amount of the karaoke done in this town was to country music.

I should have told him that he'd lived in Menlo Park too long. Because, yes--as I'd found on a previous visit to Torii--people like to sing karaoke country songs. But they also like to sing bad 80s music and non-melodic aggro rock, too, the more off-key the better. Which brings me to our latest jaunt into the Modesto karaoke scene.

We'd met Nick there because it was conveniently located on our side of town and also had Japanese food. However, we forgot how likely it would be that we would be unable to hear ourselves think, let alone talk, over the deafeningly bad tunes being belted by the same three people who apparently suffered under the illusion that people wanted to hear them take the stage again and again and again. Oh. My. God. Some people just should not be allowed in front of a microphone. I almost thought about going up there just to clear the air, so to speak, with something sung on-tune for once. But instead, these two young, surely-not-drinking-age inebriated ladies took the stage and screeched out some terrible aggro song with heavy-handed lyrics about death and maiming. They capped it off with an immaturely overenthusiastic flinging of the microphone onto the ground, which earned them a public chastisement by the bartender. Then they left in a huff. A male friend illegally took an open beer bottle outside with him, which was angrily flung to the pavement after the restaurant owner told him he couldn't leave the premises with it.

Naturally, in order to put up with the continuously crappy crooning, I had a drink or two. For some odd reason I had a craving for a spicy bloody mary--I just can't resist that celery stick. But what I received appeared to be a glass of V8 with about a teaspoon of cayenne in it and some vodka. There were other things wrong with it as well:

  1. There was no celery. I really wanted the celery.
  2. There was, however, an olive. I hate olives. Especially the green ones. Guess which color this one was.
  3. There was also a piece of lime. LIME. In a bloody mary. Blech. You can put the lime in the coconut, but you CANNOT and SHOULD NOT put the lime in the V8.
  4. Plus the aforementioned lack of actual bloody mary mix.

So I drank about half of it before I got repulsed and switched to Corona. Now that, children, had a lime in it, and it was good.