So, this thing happened

My literary agent broke up with me. I’ve had her for years. Years! She loved my first book. She became my agent after years of trying to get an agent (lots of manuscript requests, but no commitments). Together we worked hard to make it a book I’m really proud of. But it didn’t sell. She sent it out for two years and then told me it was time to shelve it. I was devastated. It feels stupid to say that. There are bigger things to be devastated about but I was. I was.

I cried. Actually, when you go out on submission, you cry a lot. At least after a month passes and no one has offered you a deal yet. But then when it’s over and nothing happened–no six figure deals or ten dollar deals–you have to mourn.

I wrote another book. Actually, I had already written another book. Right before I signed with her, I was sending this other book out to agents after not having luck with the first one. She gave it a read and then I got her thoughts. She didn’t think it worked. I needed to change it in so many big ways, she said. It was hard to hear. She gave me a bunch of edits, notes. I read the notes and then put the whole thing aside. I tried to write a third book. Something spooky and historical, something challenging. I couldn’t get it figured out, though. Plot is hard for me. Everything I try always feels so artificial or contrived. I know, I gotta get past that. Anyway, I gave up on the third book and, with her notes, went back and revised the second. I thought it was great (having just read it again after a long time, I can see the work it needs, but at the time, I was in love). She did not. Back to the drawing board. (What exactly is a drawing board?)

I spent a long time on my latest. Like a really long time. I finally finished a draft and wanted her input on where she thought I should focus. What works? What doesn’t? She was my agent and I figured it would be good to get her opinion and thoughts because I wanted it to sell. Like I said, it’s been a long time since I started this journey.

She had it for months. At some point she wrote that she was going to dive into it and get me feedback in two weeks. Six weeks later and I hadn’t heard from her. I was worried. If she loved it I would have heard from her. I sent a check-in email. I didn’t get a response. I braced myself.

And then she did respond. Monday morning there it was in my inbox. I saw the first sentence and knew where it was all headed (and I had a whole day of clients to see, so that was hard, to say the least. I couldn’t NOT read it, though. I mean, I already knew.) She was so sorry, but….you know the rest. She’s not feeling it. It’s time to part ways. She wishes me the best.

She’s a great person. So nice! I hope she’s incredibly successful and I have no anger towards her. But, of course I’m sad she didn’t like my other stuff. I’m questioning myself. I’m wondering how much more I can give to this. I’m defeated. But, well, I can’t give up. I want it too much. I like too much. I like my ideas and my characters and my stories. I want to share them, I want to be read, I want to put my voice into the world.

So, I’ll keep going. And I’m trying to tell myself, it’s a good thing, ultimately. We want someone who loves our stuff, who believes in us. In all relationships, really, right?

That said, I’m listening to a lot of break up songs. Well, my version. “This sucks” songs and “you are still alive and go get em” songs. They exist in case you need recommendations.

Onward.

Hey. Some recs.

E. Lockhart is a lovely writer. We all know how amazing We Were Liars is. I recently finished Again Again. Very nice (why does that sound like Borat in my head?).

We did just watch the second Borat movie. I may not have stayed for every scene. Sometimes I had to leave the room. Real life cringe comedy is difficult for me. Many times I could be found hitting my husband’s arm saying “Oh no! Oh my God. Nope. No.” I did laugh, of course. A lot. And Maria Bakalova, who played his daughter, was absolutely incredible.

The album I played the most in 2020 was Waxahatchee’s Saint Cloud. It is a gorgeous album and gives me all those good feels.

Shithouse is a really good movie I feel like I once upon a time could have made. Or something similar. Back when I wanted to make films. It is my aesthetic, is what I’m saying. Go watch Shithouse.

I finally read John Langan’s The Fisherman and really enjoyed it, because I love weird fiction. Although I have a lot I’m confused about and no one to ask. I don’t know John Langan. He probably doesn’t want to go to dinner with me and answer my questions. He probably lives in Maine or something. Maine is far away.

I finished Schitt’s Creek. Patrick and David forever!

Now to get back to Ted Lasso. I do like that Ted Lasso. He’s a good bloke.

Wait For It

Is my favorite Hamilton song.

How did we get to October? Almost mid October. The tree in my front yard is all yellow. I feel like I need to go for a country drive. At least take a walk in the wooded park near our house. Actually, in the fall, I think you have to call walks “strolls.” You aren’t walking. You are taking a stroll.

Are you like me? Are you stressed by how much television you are behind on? I just finished Love on the Spectrum. Very much enjoyed. I love them all. Still working my way through Schitt’s Creek. Need to get back to Queer Eye at some point. The Vow is still on the list. And the kid got me started on The Boys. Whoo boy.

I’m writing every day. Going through it all again and again, trying to make it better. Trying to make it good. Trying to make it something special. The pressure.

What else? I love my cat. But she won’t cuddle with me.

Notes from Fairchild St. 4/24/2020

We are so close to May. Some people are telling me that quarantine life moves slowly, but for me it is moving incredibly fast. 5 weeks have gone by like the life of a fly. I am having a hard time with it almost being May. I mean, when am I finally going to build by dream house (which is like a modern cottage with some Prairie style thrown in)? When am I going to go to NYC and eat bagels and pizza?

I was going to learn to make some cocktails.

I was going to get rid of the half the stuff in the basement.

Today I cleaned out the shower drain and that was somewhat satisfying as well as gross.

The moths have not emerged yet from the pupas. They’ve been a long time in those pupas. I wonder if we are doing something wrong. Their names are Phyllis and Gladys. They are ladies.

We got a cat. She is a stinker. She is a little fluffy black thunderbolt. We are calling her Birdie. I thought she’d be a lap cat but so far she is a “I must be near you but not on you” cat. She is also mean to the dog. Poor old dog.

I’m reading books. I’m eating a lot of sandwiches with fake deli meat. Tofurky smoked deli “meat”. I’m making a lot of plans to redo a lot of my little house that is not my dream house.

Notes from Fairchild St. 4/10/20

Happy Birthday to my friend Christine, who is sheltering at home in Grimes, IA (near Des Moines)! We met as workers many moons ago at the Union Pantry which served coffee and popcorn. Also, many pastries which I ate a lot of. And sometimes gave away to cute boys, including band members of Toad the Wet Sprocket. Christine was the best supervisor a person could ask for. The Union Pantry no longer exists. Like many other things in my life.

Spring allergies have arrived and I can never decide what’s worse: the allergies or the effects of the allergy meds. No, I can. It’s the allergies. But barely.

Who wants to nap? Me!

I’m listening to Waxahatchee’s new album. I love it. Also, now, the new Hamilton Leithauser. Good stuff! Alison recommends. What, you don’t refer to yourself in the third person sometimes? Well maybe you should, you boring thing.

I’m reading Daniel Kraus’ Bent Heavens which features a scary alien creature and some disturbing alien creature torture. And it’s set in Iowa. Just like me! I’m set in Iowa.

Quarantine life features a lot of potato chips and cookies and candy. And napping. And cleaning up dog pee.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone in the world learned to play the ukulele? And then we could have a worldwide ukulele song event. But not John Lennon’s Imagine.

New throw pillows have improved my life, just as I knew they could.

Someday I’m going to clean the cabinets.

Notes from Fairchild St.

Whatever day this is. Sheltering at home. That thing. That we are all doing. Well, most of us. The ones that can.

I tried again to adopt a cat. This time from Cedar Rapids. But they told me that they aren’t currently adopting outside Linn County because Covid. I have the no cat blues.

I have barely made a dent in my big list of projects now that I’m having to be home more. I have scrolled twitter a lot. A LOT.

Trump is a terrible asshole.

I am walking more but also eating more. Because I’m home with my snacks all the time. Is that boredom eating? I get way too excited about meals. Right now I’m really looking forward to my bagel with garden veggie cream cheese that I plan to have for dinner.

To help my husband feel better I’m encouraging more viewing of Preston Sturgess films.

There are too many choices for everything.

I have a lot to do

I ate some leftover pie and now I’m filled with leftover pie regret. I watched the first episode of Enlightened because what better time to start a series you always meant to watch then when you have a big to do pile?

What is a Verve Pipe? Do the Verve Pipe still tour on their one hit wonder? I’m not going to Google that. Don’t ask me to. Fine. I did it. They are still making music. Good for them. 90s forever!

I do not know how to expertly decorate my house for the holidays. Is this why they invented putting rum in eggnog? Should I have picked up that Martha Stewart Living full of advice on holiday decorating or would that have made it worse? I bought a tinsel garland. What am I supposed to do with it? I am a holiday decorating failure.

It’s really time to work on the novel. It should be done by now. It really, really, really should.

Laura Dern rules.

My therapist is Jungian

He asks me about my dreams. He encourages me to write them down and we can talk about them and their meanings. I finally remembered to write it down today. I put it all in a word doc. It is ridiculous. Drew Barrymore is it in. Now I’m going to have to read my word doc in my next appointment. “So then we were on a bus and on the Cayman Islands for some reason”.

Dreams are not like dreams in movies and books and television shows. Media is lying about dreams. Dreams and sex.

Sometimes I blather on

I have a friend from Wales who always peppers the phrase “this, that, and the other thing” into conversations. I like this very much. She also calls me (and other people) “love”. I think they do that in Australia, as well. It’s not just “mate”. I like being called a “mate” though.

Maybe somebody could invent a fast people tube that would send me places without me having to fly. Like that fish tube. I mean, yes, it does sound terrifying. But if it’s over quickly. If I’m on anti anxiety meds. No, forget it, I’m too claustrophobic.

Like three times today I started on the writing of comments in response to tweets. I started and then I deleted them. Stop your blathering, Alison. You aren’t offering anything new to the conversation. Donald Trump and Marco Rubio are not interested in your snarky opinions about their stupid thoughts and actions. Also, I have the tendency to write long rants on Facebook. Or short rants. Both are totes unnecessary and yet I cannot stop. Also, long winded comments on blogs. WHY DO I HAVE TO HAVE MY OPINION AND VOICE OUT THERE EVERYWHERE? I know there is eye rolling. I eye roll at my own self.

being nice

So many stories I would like to tell, but it would probably hurt or piss off some people to tell them. It’s a problem when funny or curious life stories involve sharing about people who might not appreciate reading about themselves in such a manner. The people I’d share about would probably never read this here blog, but you never know. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad.

But the stories! Just for example, one I would give the title “Please don’t eat my pickle”.