Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Working on my Book Proposal

Midnight. Reading All the King’s Men. I live in New Orleans, so I’m glad I’m reading this classic, Pulitzer Prize winning novel. “Lots of nights I would go to bed early, too. Sometimes sleep gets to be a serious and complete thing. You stop going to sleep in order that you may be able to get up, but get up in order that you may be able to go to sleep…You don’t dream in that kind of sleep, but you are aware of it every minute you are asleep, as though you were having a long dream of sleep itself, and in that sleep you were dreaming of sleep, sleeping and dreaming of sleep infinitely inward into the center.”

12:15. Sleep.

3 am. Awake! My car insurance is going to be insane. Everyone says it’s double here in Louisiana, because you never know when you might find a flurry of crayfish nesting in your engine block. It’s raining right now. Really hard. My neighbors said their car flooded, but it was only an old Kia so they were excited to buy a new VW Golf. Maybe my car is flooded right now. Should I go out there? I need to deal with my car insurance. Should I try and pretend like I still live in Montana? Who should I ask to pretend to be my home address? I’m pretty sure my policy expired Friday.

4:23 I know exactly why David Foster Wallace killed himself. It's all in the Lobster. “Be apprised, though, that the Main Eating Tent’s suppers come in Styrofoam trays, and the soft drinks are iceless and flat, and the coffee is convenience-store coffee in yet more Styrofoam, and the utensils are plastic (there are none of the special long skinny forks for pushing out the tail meat, though a few savvy diners bring their own). Nor do they give you near enough napkins, considering how messy lobster is to eat, especially when you’re squeezed onto benches alongside children of various ages and vastly different levels of fine-motor development—not to mention the people who’ve somehow smuggled in their own beer in enormous aisle-blocking coolers, or who all of a sudden produce their own plastic tablecloths and try to spread them over large portions of tables to try to reserve them (the tables) for their little groups…Nothing against the aforementioned euphoric Senior Editor, but I’d be surprised if she’d spent much time here in Harbor Park, watching people slap canal-zone mosquitoes as they eat deep-fried Twinkies and watch Professor Paddywhack, on six-foot stilts in a raincoat with plastic lobsters protruding from all directions on springs, terrify their children.”

4:26 My car is flooded right now. A throng of nutria rats, shrimp and roaches are swimming in a black gumbo that used to be my transmission.

5:00: Attended a writer’s group yesterday. I should have known it wasn’t going to work out because it was held at a Barnes & Noble. It makes me sad, thinking of writer groups everywhere, everyone working on a novel. Like say, MFA programs. Everyone thinks the MFA is this huge step, but only when they don’t have an MFA. Not that it isn’t pleasant, this lull, this extended cocktail hour, this time where you gather with other people who all feel plucked from the teeming throngs of nerdy Barnes & Noble writing groups, but no matter what, I see that sitting around and talking about writing is not the same as writing, and really not the same as getting published, and then let’s not even talk about having someone actually read the damn thing. Have you ever walked around a Barnes & Noble? Have you ever really examined the stacks and stacks of books? How many of those have you read? Crap. I’m only on page 101 of All The King’s Men. I shouldn’t write at all, but dedicate my life to reading classics of literature.

5:30. I should just get up.

6:00. The coffee isn’t working.

9:30. I’m dreaming about a basement filled with nutria lab rats. A scientist with a pumpkinhead tends to them.

11:00. Eleven? Are you kidding?

11:30. My family has no idea how hard this is, trying to be a writer.

12:00. I can’t call State Farm. I have got to get to work on the book proposal.

12:35. Mail call. A rejection today from The Georgia Review. I didn’t catch that they don’t take simultaneous submissions, so my rejection was a form letter with a check by a sentence. The sad part is I thought I read the submission guidelines. I’m not just some asshole that spams lit mags. I read a few issues. Just like they say. Then, after debating which story of mine I thought would be a good fit, I printed it out in a very unique way and hand addressed my mailer with my best pen. I wrote what I thought was a pleasant cover letter. I didn’t suck up or try to explain my story or attempt to showcase my wit. The irony is my sub wasn’t a sim sub. That I forgot to delete that sentence from my cover letter was just a typo. I’m an asshole fuckup. I am never going to get published.

1:30 I should find a magazine that will take a sample chapter from my book. I’ve read that’s a great thing to do. Let’s see. American Scholar? No. Bitch? No. Midwestern Bisexual Traveler? No! No! No!

3:00. I don’t really worry about hurricanes. When I say I’ve moved to New Orleans people always ask me about hurricanes, but they don’t bother me.

3:15. Okay, I’m getting to work. Really. No Facebooking. No blogging. Here I go. Here I go. Here I go.