The Quiet

The blank quietness on this blog makes me sad. It just shows how much my brain has been clogged these past weeks (months? has it been months?). I don’t want to say that I made a mistake spending this whole year doing all this ghostwriting, but maybe I made a teensy-tiny mistake? No point arguing over what’s done because, as you may know, it’s soon over. Today was a decent day. It’s Halloween, which is decent in itself—and I didn’t even eat candy corn!—but also I saw that my YA manuscript was transmitted to copyediting. That means it’s officially accepted. It’s done. No more revisions, at least by me, and soon enough I will be paid. I’m sure the copy editor will appreciate my thorough knowledge of Chicago style and proper usage of serial commas. Or not. Either way, it’s out of my ghostly hands and into the world and that’s nice.

I have two more revises due now on other projects, my last two. One imminently—in fact, they expect it tomorrow (they won’t get it tomorrow)—and one November 15. Can it be? Can November 15 be the day I am really and truly done?

Also, for that revision, I am working with a wonderful editor. She actually wrote this to me in an email, can you imagine?

Please take a look and let me know what you think. If you disagree with my comments or edits, please don’t hesitate to tell me so. Ultimately, this is your book and it should read as you want it to.

I never hear that. I am told to do things and I do them, blindly (kicking and screaming only to myself). One of my revises is like that. I want to stick a fork in my eye when I work on it. I might do that tomorrow, in fact, over coffee. So to hear those magic words above, “ultimately, this is your book” and “it should read as you want it to”—my, maybe that’s what real writers hear when they write real books. I want to kiss her.

Lessons Learned While on Vacation

  1. The sun—it burns.
  2. An empty head can be a very happy head.
  3. Visiting countries where it is not recommended to drink the water is not good for someone whose favorite all-time beverage is ice water. (I did not get sick, but juice—nor strawberry daiquiries—did not quench my thirst, so even now I feel so thirsty.)
  4. It is sometimes not possible to get up off one’s beach-side lounge chair, even for a cultural tour, except when it is time to eat.
  5. I like to eat.
  6. I also—shocker—like to swim.
  7. “Swimming” is relative. It was more like bopping around in the calm ripples while balancing on my toes. And while wearing a giant hat (see #1, re: sun).
  8. I am afraid of jellyfish.
  9. I am also afraid of swarming schools of minnows.
  10. When in a foreign locale and spoken to in a foreign language I should know but don’t know my first inclination is to get terribly nervous and then, randomly, answer in French.
  11. Bringing 5 (yes, five) books on a 5-day vacation is overkill. Especially when one of those books is the luscious novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, a total of 607 pages, of which I am now on page 311.
  12. This is because I like to swim.
  13. And nap.
  14. And eat.
  15. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is brilliant. To those of you who recommended it, thank you.
  16. While lounging on my beach chair, I had little glimmers of the novel I want to write next. They were sparkling points of light in my mind, up there like the stars, not going anywhere.
  17. Sometimes I closed my eyes and looked at them.
  18. I knew they wouldn’t leave.
  19. I can’t wait to start writing.
  20. But first I had to nap, and swim, and read, and eat.
  21. A day in which there is nothing whatsoever to do is a perfect day. I can’t remember the last time I had a day like that.
  22. These vacations are addictive.
  23. But I wouldn’t need them if my life was quieter.
  24. If I had a less-stressful job.
  25. Or no job.
  26. But who are the people with no jobs? I don’t see any.
  27. So maybe I will go away again next year. And savor those 5 days. And read another great book.
  28. If only a plane ride wasn’t involved.
  29. Planes make me claustrophobic, give me headaches, make me dehydrated (especially on the flight back when they confiscated the water), and make me ache.
  30. Cab rides make me car-sick.
  31. I feel a cold coming on.
  32. But my vacation pictures show me smiling, my cheeks the color of strawberry Jell-O.
  33. Oh, what a great time we had.


In an impossible feat that I really didn’t know I could do, I met a deadline Thursday. And another today. And now I’m done. I’m going away for a little while to relax. I’ve decided that I’m not going to be a freelance writer anymore, not while I have this full-time job. (I mean, after I make the deadlines on my revisions, of course, I’m not that much of a slacker.) I just don’t want to do this anymore. I want to write for myself again. And, beyond that, I’m very, very tired.


I was rejected today.

It was a tough one.

It started as a what-if one, not mattering too much. But then random coincidences began to make me think that it might happen, it just might, otherwise why the signs showing themselves only to me (and decipherable only by me, which is the way of such coincidental signs)?

And in this way I got my hopes up.

My hopes can be very slutty. They get excited about anything. Someone bats an eye in their direction and they go all rubbery and start planning the wedding.

I should have known that the final “sign” in the list of signs was the hopes going up.

From my experience, which is all I really have to go on because in this life as it stands I haven’t been able to try another person’s body/life/hope/dreams to see how that feels, my hopes going up always ends the exact same way.

Utter disappointment.


The good things come when I don’t expect them to come. Case in point: E. I met him when I was too young to know how lucky I was. Another case in point: the things I got were always things I’d stopped hoping for, because I thought I wouldn’t get them.

Hope = utter disappointment.

I need to remember that for next time.

So I was rejected today.

The day was ruined when it happened.

Before rejection: writing freelance project, making good progress.

After rejection: waterworks.

Ugh, what is wrong with me? I can’t help it.

No more writing can be done on a rejection day. The sun stops shining, the rainbows go gray, the birds flop into the sewers, the chocolate is stale, you get the idea.

I am in recovery now.

So I have to add a space between every thought.

Because I feel like that.

Broken up.

With space in between.

Can you see what a big deal I am making of this? When really it changes nothing? Because I am almost done with all this hack-work and I can start a new novel and maybe the new novel will be “the one” like E was the one and in the moment I first saw him I was too young to know it?

I look back on meeting E and I have such wisdom.

Will I have wisdom about this someday?

Will it make sense?

The No. And the No. And the Maybe, Oh never mind No. And the NO NO NO. And the NEVER. And the you’re-so-very-talented-but-I-don’t-care-enough-to-help-you No so it sounds empty like all the other Nos?

Will they make sense someday, maybe?

I want to settle down.

I want to know that I am doing this for a reason.

Because that’s what I feel.

But I also felt a yes and I was wrong, so my feelings can’t be trusted.

There’s nothing else I want to do.

Have a career? No. Start a family? No. Teach English in Thailand? Sounds cool but no. Join the circus? No. Be a rock star? No. Be a good person? Obviously I’m too selfish. Do a crossword puzzle. No, I don’t even like doing that!

I am so one-note.

If only I didn’t give up photography after college. Maybe then I’d have another art outlet for the times when I am stomped on as a writer.

I could learn to surf… No, I’m a klutz, and I can’t really swim. Plus I burn in the sun. I could, oh, give up and be a regular person. Sounds fun. Is this the sign that says it’s time to do that?

Stop it.

Fact is

there were no signs

there was nothing


just my own head

making things up

as per usual.

Tomorrow is another day. I will not be rejected tomorrow. I will not. I will not. I will not. (And if I am, E, you have permission to hide this one.)


I finished the 1st draft of the freelance novel late last night, emailed it in to the editors, and then opened the file to find a mistake on page 1: I’d noted (X words) on the front in big block letters to announce the word count, and forgot to fill in the X. Oh well.

Between you and me, I am only about one thousand words over this time. That’s a miracle. I’m usually 10 to 5 thousand words over. One thousand can be fixed in the revision with simple line edits.

So very tired right now. The 1st draft isn’t as good as I could have made it, I believe, had I had more time. I should get that motto stamped to my forehead.