Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The years die like old engines. The summer chokes to fall and you realize you are no longer twenty-five. You hope that mentally, you are still waxing, still getting better, not yet at that sad waning phase of the cycle so many friends started years ago already. The long long process of growing up and older like the slow expansion of galaxies pinwheeling in the vacuum. You didn't use to know the word insouciance. You are stronger, you suppose, though already your joints are failing. You are more desired now than you were at eighteen.

You try not to think of the grandmother of your ex, the way her matchstick fingers covered in blue veins looked as she fed a cracker to her parakeet, Baby, as Baby played with the cord from her breathing tube. She finally smiled at you once, after years of harlotry remarks. You didn't know it would be the last time you'd ever see her. They buried her alongside her husband, you heard, sometime last winter. The closest to each other they'd slept in years.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

So I was naive, and for all the "Goddamn it I'm almost 26 and have BEEN AROUND"s I throw out there, I am an idealistic kid. I really thought that other people would find interesting in writing what I find interesting. It never crossed my mind that an agent, someone who's job it is to SELL literature, would be taken in by the sensationalist stripper story I wrote to be marketable, and hate with the power of 1000 fiery suns a sparse and meditative character portrait. How dumb was I?

There of course is the first thing you think when your world is flipped over on you. "God. It is true. Who am I kidding? I am utterly talentless. This is hopeless forever and ever, and when they find out I am talentless, they will come with torches to my door and force me off the roof. My boyfriend will break up with me, my friends will abandon me, I will be forced into exile, change my name and my face again, live that quiet forest life like Gary fucking Snyder and write pastoral haiku for no one while waiting for the bread to cool.

But I remember feeling hopeless before. I remember believing I was dying. I remember believing I would never be pretty, that I would never be loved, that I would never make it out of Indiana. I remember last summer the sense of loneliness and abandonment, thinking I would never love anyone again, but I kept going and things got better. I remember my first agent experience in college, and how he duped me and I thought, Jesus, I am utterly, utterly worthless, but I am still here and doing what I love. As long as you're not sick, if you just keep going and doing good things, things will get better.

Coco Chanel said, "How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something, but to be someone." I have put too much of myself worth into writing. I'm like the women who die when men leave. I am a writer, yes, but I am also a friend, a girlfriend, a daughter, a sister, a party lover, a cook, a raconteuse, a model, a personality, a pretty face, a nice figure, an odd dresser, a good fuck, a social drinker, a researcher, a waitress, and a technical genius, depending on what IQ scale you're looking at. Sometimes maybe it's enough to make a good pasta sauce and knit a pretty scarf while you're waiting to write the next novel.

Now the decision. Do I throw this one in the bottom of the drawer and write another Backstage, like she wants? I guess I have to accept that if I want to do this for a living, I will have things that will be marketable and things that I really care about, and I can do that.

What I will probably do is do what I can with this one and shop it around to some micro-presses. If no one buys it then I might just say fuck it, she's right, it is unpublishable and put it on the Internets. I'm going to take a fiction break for a while and develop a new idea, work on getting some poetry out there, and then, in a month or two, probably start the next book.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Got off the phone with my agent crying. Worse than the worse-case scenerios I prepared myself for before her call, she will not represent this book. Not only that, she basically said it is worthless. That it is concerning that I think this one is better than my first one. That I have regressed, that my first one (which no on wanted to publish) was the work of a real writer and this one is the work of a student. She said, literally, that I should put it in my drawer an forget about it.

She said lots of things about specifics that I don't agree with, but she also covered her ass and said that my friends would love it, but only they would love it, and she couldn't even think of a publisher to send it to. Anyway, it doesn't really matter, because even though she's only one opinion, she's a very important one.

What do I do now? When the fuck is enough enough. I need to find something else to do with my life. Something else to make it okay to breathe. I don't know if I can take this anymore.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A return to form over the weekend. Derek's birthday at the Beehive was epically fun.

My agent's finished my novel. I'm supposed to talk to her about it tomorrow which means it's time for more revisions. The work is never done.

I'm writing some poems now. Hopefully I'll get that chapbook done by Christmastime. I have the first line of my next novel, now all I need to do is sell one.

Oh, and I'm gonna be on the radio:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Do you ever just lie on your back staring up at the blue blue sky in an amphitheater in Indiana in between both of your parents who are happy and in good health, after getting off the phone laughing hysterically with one of your best friends back in Boston, one of so many intelligent, interesting, creative, beautiful people you get to spend your life with, after hugging your brilliant sardonic brother and his brilliant adorable wife and sending them back to Ann Arbor to get their PhDs, after kissing your beautiful, hilarious, talented boyfriend who makes your heart thumpathump goodbye at the airport, and think god, even with the premature joint deterioration and the unknown variables like lotteries and car crashes and book publications and even with the void, you are just so unjustifiably lucky, like so much you can't even take it or understand what you could have done right in any past life to deserve all this, and you just wish you could find someone or something to thank for all of this, this way everything is here, now?

Okay, maybe it's just me.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

*In less than 24 hours I will be HOME! I'm weirdly thrilled to be back in Indiana after months and months. I really miss my family sometimes.

*Last night Jamie, Steve, and I held the Cantab together while everyone was away at nationals. I waitressed for the first time during poetry and people were ridiculously generous, making it possible for me to take tonight off, which is good because I don't think I could have done it otherwise.

*My first friend finished my book and had very interesting insights. The gist was I think it's effective -- she got out of it what I wanted. I guess the fact that I can have these types of conversations about my book means I'm doing a good job.

*My friend Kat is back in the States after her Peace Corps time in Africa. When she left it seemed like she would never be back. In a way so much has happened, everything is so different, but in another way it seems like we were just sitting on my porch in Bloomington eating cheesebread and drinking complicated beers and having salons. I guess this is a pretty common human experiential phenomenon.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Tara loaned me a Betsey Johnson dress to wear for my Lizard feature. I have to say, I think I did a very good job. I'm proud of my performance, and I had everyone there I could hope for/want.

Finished the first draft of The Novel and sent it off to friends and lovers. Will drop it off with my agent tomorrow. Doing a phone interview for the radio in September two days after I turn 26, anniversary of No More Twin Towers day. No real jobs yet but people are paying to take pictures of me.

Wolf Parade was inspiring, one of the best concerts I can remember ever going to, even in college, even as a CD-to-chest-clutching adolescent. What a great band. The whole crowd bouncing together, screaming "I'll Believe in Anything," I guess some people might call that religious.

On and on, to bigger and better things only.