Daily Archives: December 21, 2007

My Resident Fan Club

BLADE: I moved to play my DS into the room above you the other night when I realised you were playing your cello.

HRH: Yeah, it sounded pretty good, you know.

A: You heard me? Both on the floor above and below? I was playing with a heavy practice mute!

HRH: Your end pin is a sound conductor. I was sitting at the other end of the basement and I heard it just fine.

A: I can’t believe this. For some arcane reason I feel moved to play scales and then a nasty Dotzauer etude full of evil little shifts, and you guys think it sounds good and want to hear more?

BLADE: I wondered if it would be acceptable to bang on the floor and yell, “Play louder!”

Foiled!

We dropped the boy off at his grandma’s, picked up coffee, fueled up the car, and we were off.

Bank, to deposit cheques and other wondrous and unexpected amounts of money that showed up last night; post office, to mail off a parcel; a quick stop in to the pharmacy; and then we were off to the book store.

Piles of books, mostly for others, one or two tucked into the stack for ourselves. A train turntable for Liam. An unexpected and wonderful meeting with Jteethy, Pasley, and Tallis.

Home. HRH goes off to his work holiday party. I set out to wrap all the gifts.

Do we have paper? Check.

Do we have ribbon, and bows? Check.

Do we have tags?

Er, no.

We have blank white stickers, though. I could find a little stamp and stamp an image on them and write people’s names next to it. Or better still, I could find the linen paper I have somewhere and tear it artfully into rectangle-ish shapes and punch a hole in the corner and string then onto the gifts with ribbon!

I locate the little unused stamp set that’s been hiding in various stationary boxes for over ten years. I finally locate the linen paper… which has all of two sheets left. It’s enough.

No stamp pads.

That’s all right; I have a whole set of stamp ink felt pens, which are used to colour the stamps! I know exactly where they are; they are in my wooden art box!

… which is nowhere to be found.

I give up. After chasing various things around for an hour and a half, things are wrapped, and currently tagged with sticky notes. HRH is coming home around three, and we’re going back out to our second round of shopping before collecting the boy; I’ll pick tags up while we’re out.

Hope: ‘a desire with an expectation of accomplishment’

It may come as a surprise to learn that I have never submitted unsolicited writing before today. I’ve always sold partials for my non-fiction, the idea for a book based on a detailed outline, sell sheet, and writing samples.

I mailed off my first YA novel this morning. I wanted it out of my hands before Christmas, even though it will be stuck in the mail over next week and then will likely sit on an editor’s desk unopened until early January. I printed it out on Wednesday in twenty-page increments, watching it to make sure it didn’t go haywire somewhere along the way. The cover letter was finished and as good as I could get it. I checked and double-checked the submission guidelines and squared it all neatly, slipping an elastic band around the inch-high stack of paper.

This morning I bought a padded envelope, slipped it all in, addressed it, and mailed it off. Twelve dollars’ worth of postage. One customs form: just paper of no monetary value, only immense sentimental value. Also, lots of hope. It’s a good thing hope doesn’t weigh very much. Here is your tracking number, good only until the envelope itself is delivered, no further for the manuscript itself as it makes it way through various piles on various desks. The SASE must make do for the beginning of that journey, and beyond this, darkness and the unknown.

I’ve mailed proofs and manuscripts back and forth with my NF publisher before, so a lot of this was mechanical. Nonetheless, I was almost paralysed with anxiety as I wrote the sender’s and recipient’s addresses, despite knowing that the things I was worrying about — presentation, am I doing things the right way, can ‘send cover letter with plot synopsis’ be any more vague? — didn’t really matter as much as I felt they did. What matters is the writing. And still, as I was sealing the envelope I was thinking, It’s not too late to take it home and shred it because it is awkward and clumsy and dull in places and I think my message is too pedantic and did I mention clumsy?

But I didn’t. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I made a promise to myself this past January that I would get this novel out, come what may. And I did.

I like that the first day of its journey takes place on the day of the longest night. From here, it only gets brighter. A nice symbolism, I think, and completely unplanned. Consciously, at least.

And so it is gone. Have a safe journey, little YA novel. And a successful one.