Just heard from an acquaintance who is a voodoo priest living in the French Quarter of NOLA. He rode out the storm in his Civil War-era house with his animals. He said he didn’t leave because the gov’t botched the order to evacuate and the roads were jammed, meaning many people turned back. But he says the Quarter is dry–there’s only a few puddles. Major problem is the looting. They broke the windows in the A&P, the deli, and other shops and houses. They even broke into WallyWorld. He lost the railing off his balcony and a few shingles, but otherwise, his house was sturdy, which is heartening. Anyhow, he said he was thinking of joining forces with his neighbor across the street and loading up all their animals and heading out to Red Stick, I mean Baton Rouge. He said the Quarter is still there, but nothing will ever be the same because people will be afraid. (sigh)
Okay, he’s not an acquaintance of mine. I heard all this on MSNBC. But anyhow, I thought it was a trip to hear all of that. It’s the only upbeat-ish thing I have seen or heard all day. Saw all those people being rescued off rooftops and worried about the ones who didn’t get saved today and whether they’d die overnight of dehydration, exposure, etc. One lady has a three-day-old baby with her and not even a diaper change. She had to leave the hospital when they closed it down for the evac, and she has no place to go. Oh, the humanity. No houses, no jobs. NO wonder I can’t think about it right now. La la la, I cannot HEAR yoooooo. . . .
Let’s talk about happy, mindless subjects. I have partials out to several agents. I only hope my chick lit wins a prize (it’s “magical chick lit” or “smart chick lit,” not all about shopping–my friend said, “Your book is not about a ditzy, party-loving, nearly always drunk girl (as the stereotypical chick lit character is).” _Little Rituals_ is about an introspective loner who mostly just wants to find fulfillment. It’s more of a literary novel and a “book” book in chick lit clothing.
I am of the old school and I like a “book” book that can’t be categorized. Nowadays, since everything has to have a brand name, you don’t see that many of these, but I still like them. Here’s a secret–I haven’t read much chick lit at all, just a couple of them that I could not really get into, but found silly and unfulfilling. However, the *voice* and the digressive nature of the plots seemed to fit me. The “voice” of my chick lit novel is more that of an online diary or journal or blog–it has that postmodern ironic tone and is funny. I decided that if I wanted to sell, I should try to sell as chick lit and then have all those unsuspecting readers picking it up and being amazed at the way they could enjoy a more literary novel, not even about shopping. (grin)
One of the agents is someone who read another book of mine before and ALMOST didn’t pass on it. (grin) Another agent is one who seems very interested in a second book of mine that she has had for a while.
I also have a partial out to an editor at Kensington. I won the privilege to send it for comment by bidding on a charity auction on eBay. The money went to help a writer whose house burned down. Don’t know when the editor will reply, but I’m hoping the book is of interest. I can’t afford to buy my way into publishing, or I’d have done it YEARS ago, were it possible . . . so this has to work. *grin*
What else? I found a sucker, I mean a friendly published mystery author, who’s willing to read through the mystery novel that I want to send to the St. Martin’s contest this year. I only hope she can tell me what to do so that the book wins. It’s a matter of pride at this point. Seriously, the book would be a hit. If only I could get to editor Ruth Cavin . . . I know it’s her kind of book! She liked last year’s winner by David Skibbins, so she’d like mine. I got my judge assigned, and it’s not one of the people I’ve had in the past (I have entered various books twice in past years), so that’s a good sign. Maybe it’ll be somebody with sensibilities like mine who’ll like my kind of book.
Man, it cost a ton to send that manuscript snailmail! (It went UPS Ground, but still.)
* * *
A novel is a sudden window opened to let us watch an arc of action from its initial to its closing phase. John Gardner writes that it is “a vivid, continuous dream.” Bill Johnson says a story is a promise. Dwight Swain says that a story is a succession of motivations and reactions, rather than being “about” anything. It always concerns, instead, someone’s reaction to what happens. In other words, we read to live vicariously through the characters, as my junior high school English teacher suggested. Robert McKee says that story is a force of nature.
# # #
Commercials are wrong again dept.:
How about that crazy car commercial where they’ve licensed “Dust in the Wind” as a background song? They didn’t understand the song, now, did they? I realize Kerry Livgren needs to make his car payment too (or whoever owns the rights to Kansas’ songs now), but really, this is embarrassing for the ones who made the commercial. THEIR car is going to turn to dust, ALSO. It’s not because of their car that the other ones turn to dust. It’s the way of the world.
It’s the whole Ozymandias thing. Sic transit gloria mundi.
(You know, the Shelley poem. In the desert, the collapsed monument that reads, “Look on my works ye mighty and despair”–surely everyone remembers.)
And the AK spot that uses “Pleasant Valley Sunday” by the Monkees is a fun commercial, but they say “Summer of 1965” when that album wasn’t released until 1967. The Monkees show went from 1966-1968. The Beatles had just hit around 1964 and the Monkees show doesn’t start until 1966. We can forgive, but them’s the facts, man. The Monkees were way ahead of their time, by the way. The precursor to MTV. And of course the wacky format comes out of “A Hard Day’s Night.”
[“The Monkees” (1966) aired from 12 September 1966 to 9 September 1968 on NBC for 58 episodes. It ruled its NBC primetime slot (Mondays 7:30) for the entire duration of its run. CBS carried repeats of the series on its Saturday morning schedule between 13 September 1969 and 2 September 1972, after which it was seen for a season on the ABC Saturday Morning schedule from 9 September 1972 to 1 September 1973. So there.]
Micky ruled back then. Mike was okay, too (being from Texas added some punches to his column.) The other two were cute, but not geniuses. (grin)