Thursday, January 20, 2011

At All

Things were going so well.  A four-day weekend, thanks to the marvelous Martin "LK."  Trips to see several shows in which several co-soon-to-be-famous people were starring.  A call-back for a paying gig that just so happens to work perfectly into my schedule -- and into my artistic evolution.  A spot on national television.  And the momentum was only increasing.

Wednesday night, the Duke Men's Basketball team played an outstanding game in defeating North Carolina State.  Further, they announced that Kyrie Irving will be losing the cast on February 4.  (Who?  What?)

But back to me.  Everything was going my way . . . until . . .

This morning brought an iced-closed car door.  Followed by 45 minutes of traffic to travel two-and-a-half miles to AC1.  A twenty-minutes too late arrival. 

Afterward, a broken fuse.

Then a broken belt.  My britches almost fall off in front of a respected friend and co-worker. 

On the way home, someone decides it will be prudent to merge onto the J-Way regardless of the moving traffic.  All the way over to the left lane, no less.  I almost die.  Literally.

An empty refrigerator.

A leaky tub.

Then this:

"I'm afraid it's a pass. The writing just didn't grab me, at all, in these opening chapters, but I trust another agent thinks otherwise."

Read that carefully again.

"I'm afraid it's a pass. The writing just didn't grab me, at all, in these opening chapters, but I trust another agent thinks otherwise."

If you followed instructions, you have now read that shit three times.  Did you catch it?

There are those agents who politely pass on a work; those who wish you luck; those who sincerely hope, even if they don't like your work, that someone will; those who remember when they, too, were regular . . . and then there are those who unabashedly add "at all" to their emails for . . . no . . . apparent . . . reason.  Except to be mean. 

What should my response be? 

"I'm afraid I don't care.  There was no tact, at all, in this opening interaction, but I trust someone somewhere must love you."

I think back now to that same Duke game from last night.  In the midst of Duke's most enjoyable and (dare I say) inspiring performance, an announcer whom I respect very much crapped on the impending removal of Kyrie Irving's cast.  "It's nonsense," he said.  "That's just a projected date.  I think, him playing this year--that's just a pipe dream."

Love is in the air.

So a quick message to all the influential people who assuredly read my blog by now:

Our pipe dreams aren't hurting you.  So why you gotta treat them like your plumbing?

Fourth Omen: I'm on National TV

Has anybody ever heard of The Colbert Report?

Yeah.  It's about me.

If you haven't been following this debate, Wake County Public Schools have become the center of national attention.  They're changing their busing program to reflect a more regressive worldview.  Speaking of regressive . . .

If you haven't been following me since my birth, I went to Wake County Public Schools (not all of them, but three of them).  My mother taught at a Wake County Public School.  My sister is currently doing extensive research on Wake County Public Schools.  She also went to the Wake County Public Schools, which will no doubt be reflected in the precision of her report about the Wake Country Public Schools. 

Colbert basically should have interviewed my family.  But . . . giving us a shout-out is enough for now.  In return for this national (though limited) media attention, I have honored Colbert and his Report by "like"-ing him on "the"

Watch out, Colbert.  It will soon be I who is shouting-out to you.  See?

1. My Zeitgeist Stage check
2. I Burned My Face
3. A Book
4. I'm on National Television!
5. ??
6. ??
7. ??
8. ??
9. ??
10. ??
11. ??
12. ??
13. probably a giant check

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Diagnosis: I am An Snobiotocrite.

In 2001, I graduated from Furman University with a BS or a BA in psychology.  I honestly can't remember which.*  Two words: thank god.  This morning, I was able to sit down with Doctor Me and wow . . . what a good psychologist I am!

Doctor Me, I've been suffering from a variety of symptoms.  Intestinal discomfort, intense jealousy, and what can only be referred to as "general literary malaise."  What's your diagnosis?

It sounds like something that might arise from writing 74 query letters in 8 months and getting rejected at a 95% rate.

(in tears)             
You're not being fair!

You're right.  If you consider the fact that the four agents who requested your manuscript ultimately rejected it, you're batting .000. 

I hate baseball!

Let's skip to the point.  Are you ready for this morning's epiphany?

Will it make me run around my house screaming explicatives and ultimately change the path of my entire literary career?

I'm not a psychic, but yes. 

Lay it on me in first person.

I am an idiot.

So, me, have you ever actually looked up the definition of young-adult fiction?

Of course.  It's trash about having a boyfriend for the first time, or . . . or getting your first locker.  Right?

Um, sure.  Sometimes.  But young adult fiction also includes famous works like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Great Expectations and Little Women.  

It . . . it does?  But those are works of great literary value.  In fact, I'd say those are three of the most famous novels of their eras.

Yup.  And is this where I mention that it's still the case today?  The Catcher in the Rye is essentially written for young people, and Nobel prize winner The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao has broad appeal across many different age groups.

Oh man.  Oh man.  Oh man.  
(A long stunned silence)                           
How could I have been so stupid?

Do you really want to know?

Lay it on me.

I am a snob.

It's true.  You've never taken the idea of your novel being "young adult" seriously because you feel it would diminish the literary value of the novel.  You feel--or felt--that a serious book has to be for serious adults. 

I did.  But wait.  If that's the case, then . . .

I am a hypocrite. 


I mean, I preach to young adults all the time about their value in the world.  I trust in and hope to empower them.  I've even publicly talked up the value of young adults and young adult novels in the industry
                        (DOCTOR ME just listens)

Ready for more?

If I must.

You must.


You've know all of this for a long time.  You just haven't accepted it.  I mean, you yourself have compared your book to The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in casual conversation . . .

. . . but never in a query letter.

Now we're finishing each other's sentences.  

Okay.  Then let's say it aloud together.

I am a snobiotocrite.

Doesn't that feel better?

Yes.  Yes it does.  And do you know what feels even better than that?  Recrafting my query letter and knowing exactly what my target market is.

And what is that?

It's something they like to refer to as edgy young adult.  And as absurd as that name is, it fits my novel to a "T."  Which, incidentally, is the name of the musical Melissa Carubia and I are writing together and which opens at ImprovBoston in late June of this year.

That was a shameless plug.

I think you've judged me enough for one day.

That link was also a shameless plug, and a useless reference at that.
What did I just say about judging?

You're hopeless.

No . . .

I am a young-adult author.

With an adult novel on the way after this one, mind you!

(What, you expect a lifetime snobiotocrite me to change his ways overnight?)

*I can barely remember 2001

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Last Page

Great news everybody!  According the my e-psychic, 2011 is going to be a great year for me, and by the end of it, I will have accomplished many amazing famous-person things (and blogged about them)!

Unfortunately, I know that most of you won't be around to see that.  Judging from my current rate of abandonment, I will have -33 "like"-rs by the time I am liked by everyone.

Delicious, that.

It's fine if you all can't wait for my e-psychic's visions to come true.  I can't blame you for jumping (man)ship and climbing aboard on blogs like "" and "" and ""

But at least let me say goodbye . . . ?

Below is a severance package for those of you on your way out:  I am pre-posting my e-psychic's entire 2011 vision for me below.  You won't get to experience all of the joy and laughter of "like"ing me as I go through all of this, but at least you'll know how the story ends.  That's what we all want, isn't it?

January 14 I will post to my blog.  (I have to say, the e-psychic was right on about this one!)

January 27 - 30.  It was hard for the e-psychic to pinpoint an exact date, but in this general time period, I will win a $7,500 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for my playwriting work on the script The Hypocrites.  

February 26 I will turn 32, thus marking the 6-month anniversary of my inspiration to write this blog.  In celebration, government workers will take the day off. 

February 30 I finish the fourth draft of my screenplay.  This time it has a storyline.  Go figure.

March 1 I will realize that there is no February 30, at which point I will wonder about the validity of my e-psychic.

March 12 Thanks to my MCC grant-winner status and reinvigorated marketing efforts, one lucky agent will agree to represent me and my first novel. 

March 15 Random House immediately passes on my novel.  My agent cries, then assures me that a better opportunity is ahead.  If she only knew . . .

March 31 - April 2 I serve as a judge for the METG High School Finals in downtown Boston.  Not only is this a great honor, but I gain 3 "like"rs who think they can win my affections by e-stalking me.

April 15 T: An MBTA Musical, by Melissa Carubia and me, goes into rehearsal.  Everyone wins. 

June 1 I finish my second novel.

June 2 I get a two-book deal with Doubleday.  What perfect timing!

June 29 T: An MBTA Musical, by Melissa Carubia and me, will open at ImprovBoston and be an immediate smash hit.  We will earn exactly $0. 

July 3 Warner Brothers buys my screenplay, puts all other projects on the back-burner (including Clooney's latest debacle) and goes into immediate production. 

September 1 In a beautiful twist of irony, I will use the money from the MCC Grant to start a new life in Chicago, or LA, depending on what global warming has done to the US climate by then.  My e-psychic is no environmental chemist and couldn't predict that part.

September 10 Already rich enough but guilty over my misuse of MCC grant funding, I sit down with The Hypocrites.  

September 19 The Hypocrites goes into rehearsal.

October 3 The Hypocrites opens at the Nederlander.* 

October 27 Novel #1 is published.

November 4 Great news-to-be!  Book #1 becomes a New York Times Bestseller!

November 6 In excitement over my NYT Bestseller status, I will forget to set back my clock and spend just over 4 hours of my day in mild confusion.

November 30 Novel #2 is published.

December 6 Book #2 becomes a New York Times Bestseller, toppling book #1 from its ranking.  My ecstaticity (it's a word now, b'znatch) goes into overdrive. 

December 18 My screenplay (now a movie) opens and immediately becomes the Golden Globe, SAG Award and Oscar frontrunner for Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture, and Handsomest Screenwriter. 

December 31 2011 ends with me on a beach in Costa Rica, reading this blog and trying to remember, 'What was regularity like again?'

And that's 2011.

Now you don't ever have to read my blog again.  You can piddle about on instead.

*aka the only Broadway theater I've heard of and, no, I'm not a RENT groupie

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Have a Big, Big (Small, Small) Fan

I just got back from the Dominican Republic last week.  While I was there, someone got very attached to me. 

His name is El Diablo, and he lives in my large intestines (i.e., the proper organ, the "large intestines," not i.e. "I have intestines, and they are abnormally large.").

Scientists are debating whether or not El Diablo is even living, so I wouldn't normally call him "someone" -- except that he's become "someone" to me.  Our relationship works like this:

I take El Diablo with me everywhere.  In turn, El Diablo uses the DNA in my intestinal cells to replicate himself, which causes me considerable gastrointestinal discomfort--but makes me feel very, very needed.  In this sense, our relationship is much like that of Leo and Kate in "Titanic," but with considerably less nausea and more diarrhea. 

Also, El Diablo doesn't drown at the end, and I don't get any jewelry. 

El Diablo showed up on my first day in the DR, and I rejected him.  So he left me alone for four or five days while I enjoyed my trip.  Then, he started begging for my attention again.  That's when we really started getting to know one another.  We've been really getting to know each other for almost twelve days now. 

*big forced smile*

I have to say, I'm glad El Diablo is sticking it out.  I'm still convinced that he's only using me but, on the bright side, it's rare enough to find a fan so dedicated.  It's even rarer that that fan will create more fans in his exact image.  What more could a star-on-the-rise ask for, especially at this difficult time

I can honestly say I have thousands, maybe millions of followers.  They're just microscopic is all. 

The doctor says it's just a matter of time, and if I eat a lot of "ruffage," El Diablo will eventually "leaf.*"  I know better.  El Diablo and I have an emociopsychobioconnection.  Even if I get rid of him physically, his memory will live on in the base of my spine in the form of antibodies.  He will have forever left his mark on me. 

Just like Leo and Kate.^

* My doctor did not make this bad pun.  I came up with it all on my "grown." 
^ click here to see El Diablo's drawing of me in the nude

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Third Omen: A Book

What did you get for Christmas?  I got some bedroom slippers, some warm socks, and a blanket knit by an alpaca.  Oh, and a tremendous burden (which is also an omen). 

Patti Smith--singer, songwriter, siren.  Her book is called Just Kids, and it was given to me by my mother.  What is it?  Here's from the back cover:

"USA $16.00"

Wait.  That probably doesn't tell you much.  Let's try the inside cover:

"A true fable, it is a portrait of two young artists' ascent, a prelude to fame."

Great.  There's a book -- a book that anybody with USA $16.00 can buy -- on how to get famous.  Not only that, it says right there in the front cover that it is, in fact, an omen.  Thanks, Patti Smith.  Way to open up the market. 
I have to do some damage control here.   It's lonely at the top, and I intend to keep it that way.

If You Own This Book: 

I'm sure many of you already own this book.  It is, after all, a New York Times bestseller and a National Book Award winner.  If so:

1) kindly cross out the part that says "a prelude to fame," then don't read the book


2) send the book to me (without reading it)

If You Don't Own This Book:

You never will, because I am in the process of buying every remaining copy.

If You Are My Mother:

Thank you for giving me this omen, thereby making me aware of my responsibility to remove it from the eyes of others.  You have given me both a great gift and a great responsibility.  Also, thank you for the chocolate pecan pie recipe and the warm socks.

I can't discuss the book any further here for fear of angering my non-Patti-Smith sponsors, which could then lead to a wide-reaching web-pact (that's web-speak for "impact") or web-alanche (web speak for "deep impact").   Let me instead sum up the omens so far and get back to shopping (like crazy) on

1. My Zeitgeist Stage check
2. I Burned My Face
3. A Book
4. ??
5. ??
6. ??
7. ??
8. ??
9. ??
10. ??
11. ??
12. ??
13. probably a giant check