Mae B Continues to Sabotage Herself

Well, I’m ticked off, and I don’t care who knows it. I just wasted a perfectly good weekend and $50.00 to attend a writer’s conference where Mr. Hot-Shot Editor from Major Publishing Company was the featured speaker.

For two long, dreary hours, I listened to that man drone on about what makes a good story, what his company is looking for and the way he expects a manuscript to look when he receives it. He said something about queries and synopses and I’m not sure what all, because I finally just tuned him out. Well, I ask you. When you have a masterpiece of fiction and you absolutely know it will be the biggest thing since Harry Potter, why must you listen to all those rules?

I waited on pins and needles for that scrawny five-minute pitch session I was scheduled for in the afternoon. Why, what do they think I am, a Reader’s Digest Condensed writer? It takes at least thirty minute to tell what my book is about. And he had the nerve to tell me that I should be able to describe it in one or two sentences. I’m telling you, that man is out of his mind.

When I told him I hadn’t actually written the book yet, he said he wasn’t interested. Even when I told him, in a very firm loud voice, that my novel was special, unique and groundbreaking, he insisted he couldn’t offer me a contract.

I’m so mad I could bite a nail in two. Someday I’ll write that masterpiece, then he’ll be sorry he tried to impose his rules on me.

Mae B Gets Down to Work. Or Does She?

It’s time to work on my book. I’m so excited.

First, though, I can’t stand to have my cereal bowl sitting in the sink, so I’ll clean the kitchen and take out the trash. I need to return my library books, and while I’m there, I’ll pick up another about writing. I eat those things up!

But before I do any of that, I’ll grab a few minutes of the Today Show, and maybe watch The People’s Court.

While I’m here in my recliner, I may as well watch The Price is Right and The Young and the Restless. (I love that soap, don’t you?) And of course, I can’t miss the hour of back-to-back I Love Lucy reruns. She’s my all-time favorite. I bet I’ve seen every episode twenty times or more.

It’s nearly noon, so I’ll catch the news as I eat lunch. After all, a writer should be up on current events.

Jeopardy! comes on right after the news, so I’ll take just another thirty minutes out of my busy day and watch it. One thing is sure: I’m smarter than most of those contestants. If I lived in New York City, they’d put me on that show in a heartbeat. Once my book is published, I know I’ll be on Celebrity Jeopardy!. Why, the producers will  pay me for being there and even pay for my plane ticket.

I should get down to writing, but I need to catch up on my email first. Can’t have my friends think I’m too busy for them. And I’ll check Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates, then play some Solitaire to relax.

Gee, now I’m so relaxed I need a nap. Just a short one.

Well, it takes me a while to wake up from a nap. I ought to work on my story, but my brain doesn’t work very well when it’s fuzzy from sleep. Besides, in an hour it’ll be time for dinner.

Right now Judge Judy is on, and after that, reruns of Law and Order. I get some really good story ideas from those shows. Afterward, I probably should catch the news again – see if anything new has happened that will impact my life and my writing.

I can’t believe it’s evening already. My shows come on at seven, so I could probably get in thirty minutes of writing. But I’ll check my email and Facebook once more, hang around Twitter and tweet a little. Have to keep building that platform, you know!

Goodness, it’s bedtime. Guess I’ll wait and get a fresh start tomorrow.

I don’t always sleep well, and I’ll tell you why: I worry that I seem unable to succeed as an author. I am sure I can write as good – better, in fact – than most of those hacks who spin out that trash on the bookstore shelves.

I don’t get it. I want to write. I want to succeed. I’m willing to do whatever it takes.

So…why isn’t it happening!?

The Discovery of Mae B

Years ago, on one of my walks through the ruins, I discovered a tattered attaché case with a broken lock. Inside were many scraps of paper and handwritten pages that were ripped from a notebook. Folded neatly on top lay a wrinkled, stained newspaper article about a woman called Mae B. Apparently she planned to become a world-famous author. I took the attaché case home with me and read every page.

In the coming days I will share with you what might have once been destined for a book of memoirs, or perhaps a blog. Today, they are the scribblings of a mad woman. “Mad” as in angry AND insane. I think you will find them enlightening.

Here’s the newspaper article:

Mae B lives in a gorgeous airy castle on Someday Isle. She raises Wannabes and fusses over them frequently, pinching back their buds so they never produce those pesky blooms that might take on a life of their own. Mae B says her Wannabes will break through their tough shell unless she sighs over them several times a day.

Mae B’s hobby is “all things creative.” She loves to daydream about the novels, stories and poems she plans to write someday. Her favorite reading material is articles and books about writing.

Her office is an ongoing project.

“I won’t sit at my desk to write until my little study is perfect,” she says proudly. She recently repainted it for the fourth time, and is now on her third computer.

“It’s amazing how quickly times passes when you play Spider Solitaire or visit on Facebook and Twitter and look at photos on Pinterest and Instagram. Plus, I need to network and build a platform for readers! The computer gets old before I know it! But, I believe there is a wonderful word processing program on it. I’ll use it for my novel, one of these days.”

Someday Isle is a hypnotic little place, and although millions of people inhabit it, there is always room for more. Mae B loves it, and she tells everyone, “If you come, be prepared to stay. It’s hard to get away once you’ve put down roots!”

December 22, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Let me take you back to the olden days, back in the early 1980s. Personal computers were around back then, but they were quite expensive and few people had one. The internet? Barely even thought of, let alone used.

The following occurred more times than I care to count:

I carefully typed my manuscript (as error-free as possible) on my trusty Sears electric typewriter. I then placed my book in a stationery box along with a cover letter, title page, synopsis, and an SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope).  With a rubber band around the box to be sure it held together for the transit to NYC, it went into the toughest padded envelope available . Included with the box was another large, padded envelope, addressed to me, with enough postage attached for return if the book was rejected.  Then I hauled my precious burden to the post office, had it weighed, paid what felt like a year’s salary in postage, blessed the package with good vibes, prayers, and hopes, then sent it on its way. After about six weeks, I would literally stand at the front window about 10 a.m. every day, waiting and watching for the mailman.

Step into the 21st century. I am basically doing the same thing, sans the packaging, the expensive postage, and trip to the post office. I’m anticipating affirmation (or rejection–but we won’t think about that) so I check my email a hundred times a day. What I’d really love is a phone call, but happened to me only once, when I sold my first book. The editor actually called me at 9 o’clock one night to tell me she loved my book, wanted to publish it, and asked if I had anything else to send her. Boy howdy, that was a sleepless night, I tell ya!

At any rate, the jumpy feeling in my gut, the shivers of anticipation, the uneasy dread … those feelings haven’t changed. It’s been a long time since my work has been rejected. If this new series I’ve created is turned down, I have a feeling I will suffer disappointment just as keenly as I did years ago, watching as the mailman brought that battered returned manuscript to my door.

Send some good vibes my way, will you?

December 12, 2015

Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015

That darker, deeper, more serious book I’ve mentioned a time or two has been giving me fits. Many authors don’t bother to title their books. They’d rather let their editors do it for them. Not me. I need a real title in order to feel as if I’m working on a real book.

I have spent hours seeking a title. I poured over the Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Shakespeare. I looked in my trusty, beat-up old book of quotes. I scoured the internet. I meditated. I sent the story outline to some friends and begged their help. I developed a short list of possibilities, but none of it resonated.  I was ready to give up and call it “Untitled Book”.

At my desk a few days later, I found a small slip of paper clinging wetly to the bottom of my glass of sweet tea. I peeled it off, but just as I pitched the damp scrap into the trash basket, I noticed something written on it.  At some point in my frenzied search for a title, I had scrawled a snippet from Wordsworth’s Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.  Five words.  “The glory and the dream”.

There it was. I had my title. Apparently I’d had it for days and didn’t realize it.

Funny how we don’t recognize what we need until we’ve exhausted our resources and decide to give up. At that point, we discover our answer in the strangest places. It’s been there all along.