November 24, 2004

Happy Everything

I am about to leap in the car and gogogo—we are spending Thanksgiving with my folks. I am in charge of making salad (like anyone is going to EAT LETTUCES on Thursday) and a special casserole. I call it Fat Potato FatFat. And it is the MOST DELICIOUS THING ON THE PLANET. It features SO! MANY! KINDS! OF! CHEESE! Also butter. Also heavy cream. Also potatoes are in there somewhere. But mostly? Cheese. I plan to eat four bites at LEAST before my arteries all shut down and I die, grinning maniacally with my cheesy, greasy lips.

BUT FIRST – the GOOD news – I am SO scrutiating HAPPY because MY EDITOR FINISHED THE NEW MS and called me to say all manner of EXACTLY WHAT I HOPED SHE’D SAY. SO I can stop casting about in the murky depths of my shady-internet identity past and relax and do fun things like die of casserole and start writing this book I have had burbling on a back burner in my head. I’ll noodle with it until I get her editorial letter and can wade hip-deep into revising BETWEEN, GEORGIA. (That’s the name of the NEW BOOK! You remember my friend THE NEW BOOK, right? It's that one MY AGENT AND MY EDITOR BOTH LOVE! You know! THAT one! *pant pant dance scream faint*)

I’ve been so freaked out I haven’t been able to concentrate on work – NOT! LIKE! ME! I’m obsessive and I always have a project going. But not while I have waited to hear feedback on this book. You know, in a lot of ways, wanting to be a novelist is like wanting a WEDDING instead of a marriage. You don’t think about anything past the dress and the big day---that bell-filled glorious someday when your MS will find its one true editorial lovah who will gaze sincerely into its papery eyes and say "I DO! I WILL!" in a breathy and romantical voice. And okay, yeah – that’s a big one. That’s right up there on the scale of Life’s Sweetest Moments. BUT.

It doesn’t STOP there even though every NARRATIVE INSTINCT IN ME tells me it’s the PERFECT END! And I am a PLOT girl. I write character driven fiction, and, true, it leans toward the literary, but I LIKE A BIG HEAPING SCOOP OF PLOT. I like twists and entanglements, and I have a GOOD EYE for the right ending. And I have to tell you - that was IT!

You know the story, right? MS meets Editor, MS Loses Editor, MS gets in a terrible car accident and never shows up to meet editor on top of the Empire State Building, editor finds MS again, True Love Ensues. And trust me -- that’s the MOMENT! That’s the picture perfect shot, editor and MS engaging in black and white 1940’s kissing (with no tongue because, you know, yikes! Ever had paper cuts on the tongue? NOTHING worse.) and there Author stands weeping happily on the side like the mother of the bride, and the music swells and hearts burst and DAMMIT… NO ONE ROLLS THE CREDITS! And you actually have to get the elevator and march back down to your office and WORK. Wrong wrong wrong.

Whatever hurdle you jump – getting an agent, first sale, meeting a deadline -- there’s the NEXT one already LOOMING and you haven’t managed a breath yet. It’s crazy-making. And the ONLY thing that keeps you from pulling your eyes out and dandling from their stalks is that….well. Even in the bad parts? The years of rejection and woe and mental illness and blah blah misery-pain and whatnot and LEARNING TO TAKE CRITICISM and actually use it to make a better book instead of using it as a good reason to throw cutlery at people? EVEN THEN?

Writing, when you’re in the zone and discovering things and these pretend people you can’t stop playing with suddenly open up and you KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? It is the most fun you can have in the whole, whole, whole, whole wide world without ending up pregnant.

That kinda makes up for the no credits rolling thing.

PS Brooks, I will remember Gerrymanders when we return on SUNDAY. Oh! and I still have to tell you about THE MIGHTY PRONG. I will! I SWEAR very as soon as I get home. It will be dark here at Faster than Kudzu til then, unless I can SOMEHOW learn to update from my dad’s comp. Hmm---Magic 8 Ball says, OUTLOOK NOT GOOD.

Posted by joshilyn at November 24, 2004 8:07 AM

I'd really like to find a way to shoe horn some bacon into the Fat Potato Fat Fat casserole. Unfortunately every time I start to work out the logistics I get a shooting pain down my left arm and my chest goes all tight.

I think my body is trying to tell me there are some lines that simply shouldn't be crossed.

Happiest of Turkey Day's all.

Posted by: Mr. Husband at November 24, 2004 8:18 AM

As the ad says, There's Always Room for Bacon!

Or is it Jello... either which way there is room for more stuff! Bacon, some fried twinkees, maybe some freeze dried lard globules.... whatever floats your boat!

Anyway, I hope y'all have a Happy 4.5 Lb. Day!

Posted by: Matt at November 24, 2004 8:50 AM

I'm so thrilled for's hoping that the marriage is as happy as the wedding day! Enjoy your Thanksgiving in the warmer climes...I've got 6 inches of snow and NO TURKEY YET!
P.S. MMMM...Bacon...

Posted by: Amy at November 24, 2004 9:25 AM

Yum. I want Fat Casserole.

CONGRATS on the MS!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Heather at November 24, 2004 11:02 AM

Can I just express my AMAZEMENT (along with, I'm certain, the rest of the Internet) that you wrote a GOOD book? Yeah, 'cause WE were worried.
As if.
You rock, dear. I may have mentioned that. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Posted by: Kira at November 24, 2004 12:06 PM

Girl, you slay me. ;)

Funnily enough, I actually HAVE had a paper cut on my tongue. It was... erm... well actually nevermind.

Look over there!! It's an extra cheesy Fat Potato FatFat casserole! *runs away*

(heard as ViVi heads for the hills: "Have a happy Turkey Day!")

Posted by: ViVi at November 24, 2004 1:03 PM

What Kira said. And please send Potato Fat.

Posted by: Mir at November 24, 2004 2:18 PM

Hey, I'll swap you one of my home-made cherry pies for a FPFF casserole. Deal?
Congrats on another successful jump. I did sorta fancy that early title though; it was catchy in a read-me-or-you'll-never-be-whole sorta way.
Happy Holiday. Drive safely. Eat well.

Posted by: David at November 24, 2004 6:08 PM

P.S. The joy of writing? Of which you spake? Oh, yes! Yes! And again I say, yes!

Posted by: David at November 24, 2004 6:25 PM

Happy Thanksgiving day! :)

Posted by: Klint at November 25, 2004 1:05 PM

Must have recipe for FPFF casserole!!! Please share with us... I'll whine with my cheese if you don't! ;-)

And congrats on the MS. As many others have pointed out, none of US is surprised. You're your own worst critic.

Posted by: Beth at November 26, 2004 5:45 PM