Jan 27, 2010

Be afraid...

I've been quite tired lately. And no, it's not because I'm up all night rewriting Carrie.

It all started a few days ago.

On that fine day, I woke up in the guest bed in my parents' house and my reality-meter kicked in. Mine is hardly a sustainable lifestyle. I am 32 years old, I live with mom and dad in the suburbs, and my shopping habit is being fed by handouts from the unemployment agency. (And I take this opportunity to thank everyone who pays, or has ever paid, French taxes. Much appreciated.) Moreover, my novel (all 30% of it) is probably terrible. Even if it's amazing, no one else might think so (which would probably mean it's terrible after all). And even if other people do think it's amazing, it's likely to take years for anyone to pay me any kind of money for it.

So, I bit the bullet. That's right folks. I applied for a job. A legal job. In a big, scary company. A legal job that is in fact, freakishly perfect for me. Which means I may even get it.

And that's where my problems began. Remember how I said I had been feeling really tired recently? It's because of the nightmares. I kid you not. Actual, honest-to-God, wake you up at night feeling sweaty and needing your mother nightmares. About working.

And by working I mean setting the alarm at 7 every morning - taking an overcrowded metro - sitting in an office all day - getting yelled at by people - being way too tired when you get home to do anything - living with a blackberry attached to your hip like some kind of tumor. That kind of working. The kind that comes with a paycheck.

Fortunately, I have simultaneously discovered melatonin.

And next week I'll be in Namibia.

So then I can dream about lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!

Jan 23, 2010

The Other Steve

First, an apology for not having posted in a couple weeks.

On second thought, no. I've been trying to write a book, and dealing with jet lag, so sue me (speaking of jet lag: melatonine, go get some, it works). In fact, not posting on the blog is a really good sign, when you think about it. It means I may finally be making the transition from someone who writes for fun (and therefore spends lots of time blogging instead of doing things like powerpoint diagrams) to someone who writes for work (and therefore cannot be bothered to blog after she has already spent all afternoon trying to hammer out half a crappy chapter).

So there.

Speaking of writing (because, let's be honest, I'm hardly able to talk about anything else these days), I've just finished reading Stephen King's "On Writing." And I would like to thank Steve for making me feel bad. Here's why.

1. Steve reads 70 books a year. He says that's a minimum if you're serious about being a writer. I read about 25, and until now I always thought that was pretty good going.

2. Steve writes 2000 words a day. 6 days a week. He scorns anyone who writes less than a 1000. It takes him three months to write the first draft of a book. It took me three months just to churn out the first 50 pages.

3. Steve says adverbs are the hallmark of the bad writer. I now seem distressingly incapable of writing anything else. I'm afraid my entire book reads like one impossibly long string of adverbs.

4. Steve says only pussies actually bother thinking about plot before they start writing. The characters and the situation dictate the plot. Not the writer. Duh.

So thank you Steve. I now want to go crawl into a hole somewhere, eat my miserable first fifty adverb-filled, plotted pages and suffocate under a pile of all the books I haven't read.

Jan 11, 2010

Take Two

It's alright. We've had a slight hiccup. These things happen. When great things get started, sometimes there's a bit of a fumble at the beginning. Like at NASA, for example, they're doing that countdown and then they realize they've forgotten to check one little widget or turn one button-doodah and so they have to take a break and fix it before they can get to the really cool launching the rocket part. This is just like that.

I have bronchitis. And writer's block. But we shall not panic. These are leftovers from 2009, that's all. 2010 hasn't really started yet, obviously, since 2010 will be awesome and not contain anything like illness or blocage of any sort. At all.

It will, however, contain lots of travelling. Starting this week, with a trip to my beloved New York.

Updates will follow.

Now I have to go cough up a lung.

Jan 3, 2010

Are we there yet?

So this is it. 2010. The long-awaited one. Check that. The Long-Awaited One (there are just some things that deserve capitalization).

Doesn't really feel different yet. Even though my horoscope or numberscope or whatever that damn thing was at the back of my Elle magazine said that my entire life was going to change this year. Considering it's already changed quite a bit in the past few months, that sounds rather daunting, possibly ominous. But so far, not much to report.

It's still cold. I'm still living with the lovely people who conceived and raised me and still check whether I'm wearing a warm-enough sweater. And I'm still struggling with the book.

Although on that note, Stephen Fry (if he wasn't already capitalized, I would capitalize him) has brought me great comfort. In his latest blog post, he has announced that he is ceasing all communication with the outside world because he needs to get some writing done - apparently he's been having a bit of a tough time with this latest installment. Stephen Fry is having a tough time with the writing! Can you imagine how much better that makes me feel?! As Wentworth would say: heaps!

So, who cares that I appear to have stalled somewhere in the middle of Chapter 8. That I have spent the last three days seriously re-thinking a major element of my plot-line. That I may be meeting (informally) a literary agent in New York in less than two weeks and for the moment there's absolutely nothing that I would be happy to show her.

Who cares about any of that? Because Stephen Fry and I - well, we're bonding.