September 19, 2005

Meanwhile, Down in the Galley

Note: I wrote this at 7 am, but my blog has not let me post for 3 days now. Server issues? Spam bomb? No clue. It decided to let me, so I am rushing to slap this up while the slapping is good.

Hi! Remember Copy Editing? I sure do!

This is the working definition of NOT FUN. I call my copy editor Harold because she uses a purple pencil...and uses it...and uses it... I must just exhaust poor Harold. I need to send her a big bottle of Vodka and a coupon for some free therapy. I FEEL for her. I mean, if you read this blog at all, you have learned by now that I am NOT A GOOD PROOF READER. And I am also not a good TYPER---I type using one thumb and three fingers, and it's all about speediness---accuracy be damned. I am also not careful or consistent. I can spell a word right 9,000 times and then suddenly decide to switch out all its E's for A's and add a silent P, or sometimes my brain will cramp up and I will completely forget how to spell some average, work-a-day word. You know how you can be writing and then a regular word you use constantly (say, LITTLE, for a painfully personal example) will just LOOK wrong to you? Yeah. Me too. Only I never go to and check it, do I?

My CARELESS mistakes aside (and it would take a BULLDOZER to move all of them to the side), I have not given up my love affair with the word little. Many, many, many, many things in this book managed to be little --- hands, tables, smiles, gestures, bits, feet (and their correspondingly little shoes), caterpillars (like anyone has ever seen a nine inch caterpillar!), fingers, children, noses, lips, all just as little as little can be. I could have saved myself a world of trouble if I'd simply set the whole thing in Lilliput. Also? I have split SO many infinitives that infinitive marriage counsellors cite ME as the number three cause of infinitive divorce. (The first two are money and sex, um duh.)

AND! I got home on Friday and found my copy-edited pages waiting for me. They came shortly after I left, so they want them back FIVE DAYS after I returned. I have spent six solid hours Saturday and another six yesterday STET-ing a few especial pet grammatical errors that I feel are part of voice and OK-ing fixes to the THUNDEROUS AND HUGE PRE-PIONEER-BUFFALO-HERD sized ARMY of careless errors.

I got up at 5 am this morning and got my own colored pencil and went right back to it. And I am still only about halfway through the FIRST read through. I like to go through copy-edited proofs at LEAST twice because asking for changes in galleys feels like bad manners.
AND I HAVE STILL NOT ANSWERED THE 150 ANSWER NEEDING -MAILS that piled themselves up while I frittered away ten days on sybaritic pleasure cruising and the pernicious eating of buttered rolls.
And I have a crit to do for Liz (she won that auction and so I want to REALLY do a good job for her).
And I need to make worksheets up for a seminar I am going to teach on writing punchy openings.
And find an hour every day to get my sweat on so I can lose five pounds of buttered-roll-butt.
And I need to do my GCC interview with Natalie Collins because she is not only in the GCC with me but a FINE writer and a friend.
And then I need to mom-taxi my little dangling participles to karate and boy scouts and tap dance and choir and pre-school and etc etc.

AND I have this STORY pressing against the bones of my skull, wanting OUT. I am supposed to be on a break and begin this new novel in November, but this novel doesn't want to be begun in November. I am DREAMING about it, and almost driving off the road and into the gorse because I am thinking so hard about it, and RIGHT NOW this second, every time I BLINK, I see the long, snakey arms and stripey liquid eyeliner of Thalia, my narrator's sister. I can SEE her imprinted on the backs of my EYELIDS, and I so so so want to write about her NOW. Today.

The upshot is, I can never go on vacation again because I don't see how to dig my way out so I can get to the part where I get to write this burgeoning book. The book is like Pillsbury biscuit dough, confined and thwarted, wanting only to puff and hump and grow, and I am the cardboard cannister, longing to be cracked sharply against the counter.

Okay. That was too much. Did I just employ TURGID BISCUIT IMAGERY? Time to SHUT UP. Bah I really want to write today, BU|T NO. Instead I shall copy edit all the whole morning, virtuous as a carb-free nun, and THEN I shall go to tap class with Maisy and THEN answer AT LEAST 30 e-mails and THEN do some more copy editing and then get Natalie's interview ready for tomorrow before waving romantically at my husband in passing and dropping unconscious to the sheets. This is my solemn vow.

So Gentle Reader? The OTHER upshot is, I am not proofreading this blog at all. Embrace the typos, oh my best beloveds.
And Harold? Sadly? The OTHER other upshot is, I will FLIP you for the free therapy coupon, but I am DERN well keeping the Vodka.

Posted by joshilyn at September 19, 2005 2:28 PM

Oh glorious Tulip! How I've missed you and your ability to make even turgid biscuit imagery hilarious and interesting. I would call you but you CLEARLY don't have time to talk. Perhaps you should hire a wee assistant to take on some of this list for you? I would be happy to tackle the copy editing (I actually LIKE it, I know, too sick to be true) but I'm not working off anyone else's buttered buns. Still, if it would help you get to that new book...
SO glad you're back! ;)

Posted by: Amy-GO at September 19, 2005 2:49 PM

The working title of my book is now Turgid Biscuit Imagery. Don't worry; I'll cite you in the acknowledgements.

Posted by: Mir at September 19, 2005 4:06 PM

Your new novel sounds interesting already... perhaps it's the fact that I loved Gods?

But... What I really want to know is this: Is there ragweed in England? B/c as I sit here, tissue in hand, hot water with honey and Tylenol beside me... I can't help but think that putting the Atlantic Ocean between myself and my in-laws would SURELY release us from ANY possible responsibility to come home for the holidays, right? I mean... apparently 1000 miles isn't cutting it.

So, England is looking right spritely at the moment.

But do they have ragweed? B/c we have it here. A lot of it. And it knows my name. :-(


Posted by: Alicia at September 19, 2005 4:59 PM

Harold. Cute. My whole manuscript may need to be dipped in purple ink.

Posted by: Heather at September 19, 2005 5:34 PM

I agree with Amy; you need a little, wee assistant for some of this. For example, you could dictate answers to emails while working off your buttered butt, and he/she could go to therapy FOR you. You get to keep the mom-taxi job because that's the best one. Another advantage of all this is that there would be more time for shoe-shopping, and since the seasons are changing YOU NEED MORE SHOES.

Posted by: Jilly at September 19, 2005 7:51 PM

Skip the e-mails. Write the book -- enthusiasm is fuel, and it doesn't keep. The e-mails will keep, and most are from people who want to read the next-next book anyway. Let the Junior League and its rules go play in traffic.

Posted by: rams at September 19, 2005 8:00 PM

Turgid Biscuit Imagery....Bah HA!!!!

Puff, Hump and Grow....Maaaaaa hhhhhaaaaaa.....

This is actually the first time your blog has made me horny.

Please pass the Vodka.

Posted by: Angela at September 19, 2005 8:58 PM

I'm worried about Angela.

Joss, Joss, Joss, hon get the assistant. Then go tap your heart out with Maisy, do aggression releasing karate kicks with Sam, and at this point you won't need the buttered buns sweat-o-rama. Let the newbie do the emails and then shop for vodka and good massuer (sp) for both you and Harold. Or maybe the assistant can just bring the vodka and rub your back while you knead that dough into the next great novel BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW IT IS THE NEXT GREAT NOVEL AND WE'RE HUNGRY


Posted by: Cele at September 20, 2005 11:54 AM