Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Get It (So Why Don't You?)

Sometimes I wonder about people. At present, I wonder about their imaginations.

People everywhere watch movies. They read books. They do it to escape. They do it to dream. When something comes out that appears to stretch the limits of said imagination, people wig out a little bit. Not a lot. Just a little. And that's when I wonder.

I wonder if perhaps my imagination is a bit bigger than theirs. If I can handle a wider scope of the bizarre and mind-twisting pieces. That's not to say I'm better in any way, but it's because of this that sometimes I'm not sure I get what people are talking about.

Here's what I mean.

When The Matrix came out in theatres, people were flipping out. Why? Because, dude, it was such a mind trip. People clamored about how great it was (and with good reason), but then I remember people saying things like, "You'll have to see it twice to get it" and other statements along similar lines. I thought, "Really? It's that messed up?" So I went. I saw it. And I had no clue why so many people were having trouble understanding it and the concepts within it. I saw it once, and I understood it completely. Their reality was fake, caused by machines, who were using humans as batteries. Not a difficult concept to grasp. True, I understand how some people came away with the "Whoa, what if our reality is fake??" idea, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about how people needed to see the movie more than once in order to understand the whole deal.

I think of this because of the movie Inception. People were (and still are) saying some of the same things. How it should be seen more than once so you can "get it." I saw it once. I got it. Again, not hard. From nested dreams to that cheating little end (oh Nolan, you sly dog, you). And no, I don't count the end as a mind f*ck because, let's face it, Nolan did that on purpose just to get people to talk about it and argue over whether or not...well, I won't say in case you haven't seen it.

If I saw any of these movies twice, it's because they were good. Not because I only understood part of it the first time. And I'm not saying everyone does this. I just wonder why it's easier for some to get. Are our imaginations wider? Can we imagine triple dreams and subconcious limbo easier? For example, I'm ridiculous about The Mist - not because the monsters creep me out (though they do), but because of where the monsters came from. Because of that freakish "What if" that floats around out there. Because I can imagine it and it freaks me out. That's what's always scared me long after the scary movie is over. What my imagination conjures up, and it can conjue up some scary crap.

As writers, are we more susceptible to such things? Because we dream and we often dream big, are our imaginations like sponges? Able to absorb so much more and then be wrung out later, full of ideas and fear and fake realities and are-we-real-or-aren't-we stuff? Or are we just like everyone else, our imaginations no more spacious than the people we hope read our work? After all, how can one measure the imagination?

What are you dreaming of now?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Be careful what you watch. Be careful what you read. Be careful what you listen to.

Because you never know when inspiration is going to sneak up behind you and hit you over the head with a bat.

Friday, January 07, 2011

The Numbers

I had a thought on what to blog about a while back, but never got around to it. I will, sooner or later. It'll just be something fun and goofy. But for now, I'm going to blog on something else that just popped in there (...anyone else hear the stomping of a large marshmallow man?).

The numbers. Oh, the numbers.

By numbers, I'm referring to the sheer numbers of queries that agents read. The number of queries, the number of requests, and the number of clients signed.

It's enough to make you faint and for your butler (if you have one) to go running and fetch the smelling salts.

I was visiting Jennifer Jackson's blog where she frequently delivers her numbers to those of us who might be reading. Those numbers are kind of terrifying. In many cases, I don't like to look at them. Now, don't go running off to tell Ms. Jackson that I hate her blog or something equally ridiculous. That's not what I'm saying. In fact, quite the opposite. I like that she posts those numbers. It's very interesting to see just how many queries an agent can get in a week or a month or, in this post's case, a year.

For example, this year alone Ms. Jackson responded to 7,835 queries. Yeah. Almost eight thousand queries throughout the course of a year. That's a freaking lot. And how many authors did she sign? One.

Easily enough to give all us hopeful writers a heart attack. Your query might have been one of those. Mine wasn't simply because I've yet to flesh out a query letter that really kicks butt. But back to the point. We all know that there are a trunkload of other writers out there busting ass to try and get published. We just never really know how many. Agents like Ms. Jackson put it out there for us to see. It's a good thing. And it sucks. It really is cool to see the number of queries she's looking at, which is a testament to how hard she works (in my humble opinion), and I'm sure there are other agents out there as well with similar numbers. Some of them probably even have larger numbers.

And yet it's also freak-out-worthy. Because out of those thousands and thousands of letters, only one author made it through, signed, and with a deal (and by the sound of it, a three-book one). Eek! But should that dampen our spirits? No. That's why I still visit her blog and am willing to look at said numbers. Because the numbers don't matter, in a weird sort of way. Because next time that single author might be you. Or heck, me (if I'm lucky - wouldn't that rock?).

The numbers are why I don't get on airplanes. As everyone says, "What?" let me explain. People claim flying is the safest way to travel. That you're more likely to be in a car crash than in an airplane crash. While this may be true, I counter with a few things, based on the numbers. Yes, I am more likely to crash my car (and I've done it, by the way) but I'm also more likely to survive that crash (which I evidenced by this post). If the airplane I'm in is the one out of the thousands of planes that ends up going down, chances are I'm not going to make it. So I refuse to ride airplanes.

Ok, so that's a really roundabout and really morbid way of making my point, which I'm sure you understood well before all of that. But the fact remains - don't despair because that single digit might be you someday. And that's why you need to keep chugging. And that's why you need to ignore the downside of the numbers. Sure, you'll have your random dip into blubbering and depression (which, if you rewind a few posts, you'll see mine), but it'll pass and also indicates why you should avoid reading agent blogs late at night because that's when you'll have way too much time to think (oh...wait....).

So chug away, my writing friends and future published authors. Chug away! And maybe make one your favorite number. Mine is and always was.

"Never tell me the odds!"