Monday, August 14, 2006

Life Throws Weird Shit At Me

As I wait for the library to inform me that the book I've requested has come in, I write reviews and have delved into the world of Anne Rice (no Sandra, Sarah, not the A. N. Roquelaure version of her). Ashley bought a huge chunk of a book a while back - it contains Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and Queen of the Damned all in one shot. I'd been thinking at dinner a few nights ago, "I need a good vampire story," and like an idiot started thinking I should ask the book leaders of Epinions when it dawned on me that Ashley had Anne Rice sitting in her closet. So that should keep me in line for a while.

Aside from that, I've been thinking, "Crap, if we move soon..." I'm still waiting on responses from 10 different places about work I've sent. I suppose I'd have to send another letter to them just to be sure all rejections (oh all right, I'll say it just to be positive, acceptances) get to the right place. That would suck. But I suppse it's something I'll have to face (possibly - the longest I'll have to wait is around 4 months...hopefully. Might be up to 6).

Then there's the review thing. Been cranking those out pretty steadily, from anime to the books I've been reading (still haven't reviewed Wicked yet - not sure if I want to review it before or after I read Wizard of Oz), from V for Vendetta to Black Adder, just a medley of stuff really. But it's Epinions that brings me to my odd yet interesting news about writing.

About a week or so ago I got an email from a fellow Epinioner about a book he was working on about challenges people face and the various coping mechanisms they use to deal with them. Things of that nature. All giddy for a fellow writer, I obliged, of course, and wished him all sorts of luck. He'd mentioned working in publishing for quite some time, so the man knows his stuff. I made a joke and mentioned how I write too, though since I'm into the fantasy genre, I'll be the one most likely to starve. He wrote back and told me he worked for Houghton Mifflin and if I had anything they might publish, let him take a gander at it and he'd pass it on to the appropriate editor. Houghton Mifflin. Houghton Mifflin. Do you know how kick ass that is? They're the ones putting out copies of Lord of the Rings. I have their version sitting on my freaking shelf. They only take agented submissions. Let me reiterate - I don't have an agent. Now granted, he mentioned that since they are the ones cranking out Lord of the Rings, it's not exactly high priority for them to take on any other fantasy work. After all, Lord of the Rings is like the Bible for all fantasy, let's face it. And we all know the Bible is always the top selling book in America.


Opportunities like this don't come every day. Hell, they hardly ever come...ever. But I'm not fooling myself either. Oh, I can dissolve into dreams of glamour of just how awesome it would be for them to pick up little ole me. Good lord how I would owe that guy everything I freaking owned. But truthfully, I was hesitant to send him anything. I'm not trying to put myself down, but I don't think it will fly. I don't think Houghton Mifflin is interested in publishing any more fantasy - it certainly isn't listened on their website or in Writer's Market. So instead of wasting the man's time with the whole shebang, I just sent him the first three chapters and the prologue. I told him all of this. He did say that if I thought they'd be interested to send it along, but I'm leaning towards "Probably not" so I took the middle road and just sent him a piece. After all, as I said to him in the email, he knows more about the company than I do. So I'm letting him make the final call. I refuse to get my hopes too high (or high at all for that matter), but like I said, I can't help but think, "Oh, what if..."

Man that would so rule.

Naturally, I put him on my WOT.

On an additional note, I got a reply from Edwardsville this time. I got plenty of help from Carbondale, though never a specific reason why I didn't get chosen. However, the Edwardsville reply basically said what I knew all along. HAH! Now I have my proof; less genre writing, more literary fiction, less on novels, more on short stories. Fack, if I don't have my work cut out for me. I can never think of a good short story, much less a literary one. *rolls up sleeves* Well, if they want it, then they're gonna get it. I'm sure I've got a literary short story in me somewhere that I can crank out!

Currently: Haha!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Scylla and Charybdis

I sent off 3 more letters today, or a total of 13 the poem I sent off electronically yesterday. Thinking back, I should have sent two, but I'd settled on one poem in another document and thus forgot about it until digging around in all my stuff today.

I failed in my attempt at an all-nighter. In fact, there never really was any attempt. The dog ended up in my room and since she's getting older, I didn't want her to have to deal with the light on all night and I wasn't about to kick her out, so I just went to bed around 12am (and subsequently slept like crap all night).

So the writing is sketchy. I've been meaning to write to two newspapers and offer them services, but I don't know how that will turn out. I'm leaning towards not-so-great, which makes me want to not bother at all, hence saving me two (or four if SASEs [self addressed stamped envelope] are involved) stamps. Still, there's another part of me that says, "Well hell, why not?" so I'm still iffy on all that.

No one needs writers anymore it seems. Anytime I do a job search, it's always for engineers and sales people, always sales people. Customer service - crap that has to do with dealing with bitchy people for days and months and years on end. No offense to the human population (actually, scratch that, I don't care), but fuck that. People suck. You all know my position on that. It's similar to Dane Cook's position on shoes. There's got to be something out there that fits me better. Something I can slip into without too much worry, something that puts me in a position that even if I deal with people, my status puts them off to even thinking about being bitchy. A long shot, I know, and something I'll probably never, or at least not soon, find. I'll probably have to settle on something that simply brings in dough until...well, I'm not sure.

Actually, I want to say, "Until we move." There's more opportunity in Pennsylvania. At least, that's what I've been telling myself. There isn't much that Champaign/Rantoul has to offer, as we all know. I should just apply to Barnes & Noble for now because at least then I'd be in a quiet atmosphere where the likelihood of meeting up with bitchy people is greatly minimized. But then there's another problem. The car. I made the mistake of saying, "This is Nikki's summer of travel!" The reason behind my decision to work, that and the writing. But it turns out since we only have two cars and mom will be working, dad will be at school, and someone will have to take Ashley to Parkland, the ability to travel is slim to none. Summer of travel my ass. My plans with Stacey got cancelled, thus ruining the possibility of visiting my grandparents, and you all know how my Colorado trip went. I feel like I should do something, but at the same time, I feel like I'm simply stuck between a rock and a hard place. Sure, I should build up my credit and aim for a car, but even with a credit card, what do I do? You all know me - I never buy anything. Ok, that's not necessarily true, but when I do buy things, I never buy enough to merit the use of a credit card as it is. $100 a pop, max (and I think that's only happened twice and even then it was planned).

Another thing I need to do is email the graduate evaluators (or whatever you'd like to call them) and ask about my previous attempt to get into their school. As it was the writing samples that took me out, I need to find out (if at all possible) what it was that they didn't like. Was it the style? The content? Or is it simply that I'm a bad writer and have never realized it (which I doubt due to the fact that I've never had a teacher take me aside and inform me, and I've had some that I know they would have done if it were true, or at the very least, write plenty all over a story/poem I've turned in, and though I've had not-so-awesome comments before, never anything telling me I need to rethink everything). Perhaps I should do that now before I forget...

So that's me. I feel a bit like Megan, though I think I'm stressing less because she doesn't know what will happen if those morons don't contact her (which also makes no sense to me considering how this country appears to be hurting for teachers 365 days a year). In the end, once I get answers from the grad schools (if I do - they'll have to remember who I am or dig up my file, that is, if my file still exists...which also reminds me, I need to contact two professors about reference letters as well as the career center in order to ask about my file info blah blah blah) I'm going to make a second attempt. I'm not going to bother with U of I this time around. I've heard way too many negative things about them. I place most stock not in what my father and all his collegues say, but Mari, the younger (my age actually) sister of Nick (Stacey's boyfriend) as she went there as an art student. Apparently all the art teachers have their minds made up already as to what is art (which most of us would probably throw up on - you know, shit on canvas, 5-yr-old scribble, that sort of thing) and what is not (such as Mari's work, which is very impressive), and that sort of thing always worries me. People who reject things and have no open mind when it comes to writing/art/etc. that is different from what they write/create/etc. and thus they are biased against things. I keep telling Stacey that if Mari does open an art gallery, she can hire me. I always did love art and music and all things that pay $0 in this world. Go figure. Point is, Mari hated U of I (hear hear!) so this time I'll try Penn State. See what happens. That would be handy. Besides, my itch to go somewhere has not been scratched and I like to look at that sort of thing as a major adventure, and I'm always up for a new adventure.

So yeah, if that goes through, Nicole will be going to Pennsylvania.

Nicole also needs to get her butt to the library to read two books in order to get a feel for another publisher in order to submit in the case that they match what I write. I went through a lot of my poetry lists to try and find out who is good and who's information is basically dead. Hard to say though - I'd have to phone some people if I wanted to know really bad, but the easier way would to just find an updated Poet's Market (Barnes & Noble trip, sneak in the back and check without buying). Until then I'm waiting on about 5 email messages sent out yesterday (some coming back that same hour saying "Sorry, this ain't goin' thru."). One came back positive, though the editor said nothing about possible submissions. Who knows.

Whew! *sigh* There's a lot I need to do, to consider, all that jazz. But this blog entry has gotten long enough and I'm sure you all have things you need to do (or not, I don't know) so until next time!

Currently: Mm...I dunno...

Edit: Brownies - that's what he made. And he bought icing to boot.