Archive | July 2004

Rut Anyone?

I’ve somehow let myself slip back into the habit of not writing, of making excuses not to write, of making excuses to wait until the week of a deadline to work on a story. I didn’t even see it coming. I was working steadily on the new book and I’m still doing good writing it in longhand and transcribing at night, but the short stories have fallen by the wayside. Maybe it was foolish of me to think I could do it all, that the mysterious burst of recent energy/inspiration would stick with me long enough to make these upcoming fall deadlines. I’m still hoping I can muster up the motivation to tackle them. I started a story early in the week for a British anthology with a deadline of the end of the month, meaning the end of this month, meaning tomorrow. It’s not gonna happen. What sucks is that I’ve come to like the story and have figured out ways to really flesh it out and now it will either have to go in very late or not go in at all and hope that another call for something similar will come up one day. I hate when that happens. But in my defense, the call didn’t get posted until like two weeks ago and while I could have started working on it then, there still would have been a chance of me not making the deadline or not coming up with the story that I eventually came up with.

And I’m stalking my email and mailbox again with not even a hope of anything arriving. Well, I do expect a rejection letter for Pearl any day now but that’s neither here nor there. I don’t want to be all negative, but if it was going ot be accepted I would know by now. I hate to rely on contracts and acceptances just to feel worthy, but sadly, I think it’s coming to that. I’m starting to feel that no one wants me anymore, that the string of acceptances I had a while back was just a fucking fluke and I’ve somehow drifted back into the world of the unknown, of the writing and waiting/hoping to be published. And I’m pissing myself off because I hate whining. I hate talking about it and not doing it. That’s the reason I stop reading other blogs because it’s always about “what I want to do and what I didn’t do and if only I could just…” over and over every day.

Another thing is that I’m starting to get bitter in spite of myself that I’m not bringing in any interest. Not that I think I’m so great that the world ought to be paying attention, but I think I’m okay. I think I could have an audience and I know damned well I’m professional. When I get a contract, it’s signed and out the very next day if not the same day. If an editor asks me for rewrites, they are out the same day. They email me with a question, it’s answered immediately. I know I’m good to work with, so why am I not working?

Damn. I’m going to step down from the soapbox and take my bitter writer hat off now.

Stifled

I was silent a few days before it was forced, but as it were, I got busted on the job for working in Word and being on the internet.  And it’s not like I goof off at work and don’t get any work done.  Even on my bad days, I’m the fastest producer up in here, but do they mention that, no!  Silly me for bragging about all the writing time I get at work and how leisurely I can get so much done.  Now I’ve been stifled by my 9-5 just as I feared I would.  It’s painful, so painful I can’t express it in words.  I was on such a roll with the new novel, up to 12,000 + words in notes and plot and dialogue and that was because I was able to open the file at my will and work on it when the work came to me.  Now that I’ve been “talked to” I have to write it down in my notepad and transfer the data at home later, and if I happen to forget to bring my notebook, which I did today, then oh, well, I have to hope that I won’t be bombarded with plot and dialogue or hope that it sticks around until I’m able to give it some attention, and that never happens.  This sucks.  And I want to quick.  I just want to fucking quit and stay at home and write.  If I could swing that while keeping the kids in daycare and working my part time job it would be lovely, but it will never happen.

But bitching aside, I’ve gotten wonderful work done on the new novel.  Nothing formatted yet, but great, great stuff.  The down side is I couldn’t give any attention to various other projects like short stories that I wanted to write and submit.  I think I’m going to have to step back from the novel a bit just to attempt to get in some pieces that I really wanted to write, others I just won’t make, plain and simple.

It’s not so bad at the part time job, they’re not working me to death yet, but I foresee it happening soon.  The kids are great.  Daughter is a tad spoiled right now and throwing tantrums all over the place.  Son has become a little Spiderman.

Don’t how I’ll be about blogging.  Don’t really know how I’ll be about writing.  It’s just bad.

Work Load

I know I keep loading myself up with short story assignments, but these past few days have really shown me that I need to get back in the mind frame of writing a novel.  I keep wondering how I did it before, when I was flying, writing a chapter a day sometimes.  Then, I remembered, I didn’t have any children then, now I have two kids and two jobs in addition to trying to write. 

Nonetheless, I’ve been really going at this new full-length project (isn’t there always a new full-length project).  The good thing about it is that it’s somewhat of a prelude to the Urban novel idea I was fleshing out a few weeks ago. For the novel, I’m going to pull out one of the smaller characters for this one.  I know I say this often, but I really want to buckle down and dedicate myself to completing this project.  I think if I can finish this novel in a decent time, I can submit it to some agents and if all goes well, the next book would be good to show them and possibly get myself a two-book deal.  I’m sure that the plots for both books are marketable ideas, it’s all about getting it done and getting it out there.

I started my part time job over the weekend.  It wasn’t so bad.  It looks as though I’ll have control over how much I work so I’m going to try to do just enough to slowly but surely get us in a good place financially.  I go in today as well.

I’ve been ignoring the pressing deadline for the Dirt anthology.  I think I’m solid on my idea and luckily the word count is very flexible and can be short so I think I can still make time.   However, I just added a few more anthologies to my list of things I want to try and submit to and one of the deadlines is the end of this month.  Man, oh, man.

I’ve been scribbling away in the new book proposal in my little purple notebook and on my PC at work.  I transferred a lot of stuff from the notebook at home last night.  I think I’m up to around 5,000 words in just chapter outlines and dialogue right now. I t would be nice if the novel flows this easily once I actually sit down to write it.

We think the kids may have had gas last night because they would wake up crying every so often then fall back asleep.  My son wound up in bed with us though and he’s such a space hog. He had to have his head on daddy’s pillow and his arm thrown across mommy.  It was an uncomfortable rest, but man is my little guy adorable when he’s asleep!

 

So, for today, more work on the new proposal and mulling over ideas for the new list of anthologies I plan to submit to.

Porn Again

I’ve begun to feel overwhelmed, and I really didn’t want to get to that place, but I should have known with all the projects and ideas for new projects pulling me every which way.  Sometimes I get into such a creative whirlwind that I need to step back and do something totally fun and freeing to get myself out of the grind.  I had some alone time last night and figured I needed to be writing something, really working toward one of the goals instead of scribbling down note after note.  So, I pulled up one of my Hustler files and found a story in progress that’s already at almost 1,000 words.  It’s one of my few hardcore stories intended for Hustler Fantasies.  It’s a revenge story as I’m noticing is the trend when I write these types of stories. After I finish this one I need to work on mixing up my themes a bit.

And also, I got it in my head that I needed more links to current events, other people’s websites and blogs to jazz up my own blog.  But that only added to my stress and I think I really want to take it back to basics, stick with what I intended it for in the first place, to talk about my life as an artist and mother no matter who may or may not be listening.

I didn’t sleep well last night.  My mind was in overdrive about things that aren’t getting done, that I want to do, that I don’t have time to do.  I crashed around ten and woke up at twelve and didn’t drift back off until two after watching my recorded episode of Primetime (with Eric Benet on it ), drinking a glass of milk and taking a muscle relaxer.

I did hear back from the editor rather quickly yesterday, but only a quick note to tell me that I need to submit through an agent. It’s just as well.  I’ll probably continue to drag my feet on my numerous book length projects anyway.

I also got a part-time job, received word on that yesterday as well.  I almost cried from joy and despair.  While I’m thankful for the opportunity to make more money to get my family in a better place, I really don’t want to feel like I’m abandoning my children.  They’re still so young and they don’t understand that mommy is trying to be a better provider, they just know that she’s not there.  Hopefully I can keep it down to three days a week and do it no more than a year tops and take care of some things that need to be taken care of and save up a little nest-egg.

As for the writing, I just pecked a little on the Hustler story and jotted down notes for a book length project, something hip and sexy targeted toward ethnic women.  I’m going to guzzle down a Pepsi now.

Rejection

I just received a rejection from Moist. It’s funny how these things don’t hit me in the gut like they used to. Then again, maybe I haven’t received the right rejection. Either that or I’m developing a stomach of steel. Ha, they should name a comic book character after me.

When I discovered that email, I was in the process of contacting and editor about submitting a potential book proposal. I sent her a short email. I’m going to need somethng good to happen to balance out the rejections soon.

Signs

I snatched this article from Marilyn Jaye Lewis’s blog about the boom in women’s erotica. It’s further proof that I really need to get on one of those novel ideas. I think I have one in mind, but don’t I always? If I could just find the time to devote to actually fleshing one of the novels out, at least a solid book proposal, I think I could finally go somewhere with my writing – I mean, my personal mainstream and literary tug of war aside.

Also, in my email this morning was a review of Erica Kennedy’s Bling:

‘Bling’: Phat Lady Sings

By SIA MICHEL

BLING

By Erica Kennedy.

509 pp. Miramax Books. $24.95.

IP-HOP gossip lit makes its inevitable arrival in Erica Kennedy’s gleefully trashy first novel — and apparently the devil wears $200 Sean John sweatsuits, too. Henry Higgins transformed a coarse flower girl into, well, Audrey Hepburn; here, Lamont Jackson, the C.E.O. of Triple Large Entertainment, turns a demure, small-town, biracial singer named Mimi Castiglione into a ghetto-fabulous, Louboutin-shod ”low-budget Beyonce.”

Thanks to an army of ”improvement specialists,” breast implants, blond hair extensions and shopping sprees with an Amex Centurion card, Mimi is finally glamorous enough to moan anonymously on generic rap and R & B songs. Fame comes quickly, but she’d rather be a bohemian neo-soul singer. Can’t a diva get a little fulfillment around here?

A woman struggling to find her voice in the male-dominated music industry has been a recurring theme in black pop expression since Berry Gordy enrolled Diana Ross in Motown’s charm school. A quarter-century after hip-hop’s birth, female stars don’t get far without a powerful male producer and label boss, plus a posse of male rappers lending them street cred. They must resemble a pinup fantasy yet be likable to women, and appeal to the

white kids who buy 70 percent of rap CD’s. Mimi thinks she’s treated like a puppet: ”It’s all, ‘Go here, say this, wear that, smile, sing this song we had written for you and . . . be quiet until we need you again.’ ”

”Bling” is less a female-empowerment tale than a comedy of manners. A large cast of thuggish rappers, bratty supermodels and rapacious executives flits through this book’s runway shows, graphic sex scenes, trips to the Caribbean and a bloody catfight at a nightclub. No one would be caught dead in shoes that cost less than $400; one rapper rotates his numerous prosthetic legs to match the exact shade of his suntan. Kennedy

paints a glitzy milieu so image-obsessed that Mimi, who is dating Lamont, is in danger of losing her good-girl soul.

The author, a 31-year-old music journalist and a friend of the rap mogul Russell Simmons (she is godmother to his elder daughter), overloads her narrative with fly-on-the-wall detail, from Mimi’s $75,000 sky blue Benz G500 truck to the diamond-studded laces on a rapper’s sneakers. Far from being an oppressed ex-assistant, Kennedy doesn’t have much of an ax to grind; this affectionate satire lacks the bite of other recent tell-alls.

Still, there are enough thinly veiled characters to fuel gossipmongering on summer beach blankets. Naomi Campbell is reportedly apoplectic over the character Vanessa de la Cruz, an aging, bitchy supermodel. Is P. Diddy going to be mad that Lamont’s flamboyant, bewigged mama bears a striking resemblance to his own flamboyant, bewigged mama, Janice Combs? And even madder that Lamont’s long-suffering ex-girlfriend, Kendra, sounds a lot like Diddy’s long-suffering girlfriend, Kim Porter? What weight-obsessed label chief inspired Lamont, and does he really secretly binge on candy bars?

Though it’s often funny, ”Bling” is wildly overlong at 509 pages. Mimi doesn’t hit enough lows to earn her happy ending. The implicit critique of mainstream hip-hop culture — that all anyone cares about is money, fame and looking hot — is old news, the complaint of rappers who don’t sell records. And it’s undermined by the lavish descriptions of parties and couture clothes.

But for any woman who could never get past a velvet rope, reading ”Bling” is like stepping into a rap video with an armed bodyguard and a $5,000 Louis Vuitton Theda bag.

Sia Michel is the editor in chief of Spin.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

See, I need to get back to that book proposal I was so engrossed in a few weeks ago. Focus, focus!

Yesterday’s sporadic writing sessions didn’t yield much more than I mentioned yesterday. I’m still back and forth on the outcome of the homewrecker story, but oh damn, it’s the Dirt story I need to be working on!

Soundtracks

You know what’s a good thing to be listening to while you’re writing about a torrid love affair? Bitter by Meshell Ndegeocello. This is the first album I ever purchased by her and all the songs are so heart wrenching I can barely sit up straight. Right now Fool Of Me is playing. Wow…

The story is coming to me in dialogue right now and I’m flipping page after page of my little purple notebook jotting it all down, putting different passages on different pages to keep it as straight as I can. I know this is one of the stories I’m supposed to be putting on the backburner to make room for the Dirt story, but it’s really demanding my attention right now and I just have to go with it.