Monday, March 16, 2015

I'm writing! WRITING!


 Last week, my Friday morning started like any other. I woke up, drank three Red Bulls, then lounged around in bed, reading, until I decided to get up and look at the internet. Only, when I sat down and opened my laptop, instead of going right to Twitter like usual, I opened a Word document and started typing words.

     I don’t know what possessed me. And these were not status update words I was typing, or book talk words. These were fake words. And lots of them. About fake things. A whole fake story started to take place. I hadn’t made up a fake story this quickly since the time I tried to impress my neighbor by telling her that I, at seven years old, had indeed gone to the theater to see the R-rated movie 'Flashdance' on my own, and I could prove it by telling her the plot. (“No, she didn’t drive a Porsche.” “Are you sure you didn’t get up to go to the bathroom during the movie? Because I definitely saw her driving a Porsche.”)

     As a voracious reader, the question people ask me most often, after “What are you reading?” and “Whose blood is that?” is “Are you a writer?” And my answer is always “Nooooooooooo. No, not me. I just read the books.” And it’s true. I mean, yes, I write about books all the time. And, yes, I realize that writing about anything makes you a writer. But in my small brain, I've only ever thought of myself as a reader. Everyone else is doing the real writing. (I'm trying to work past this with Chuck Wendig's handy chart.)

     And I haven’t written made-up stuff in forever. When I was a little kid, I used to write stories all the time, but I haven’t written fiction since I was a freshman (not counting the weight on my license) and I’ve only ever considered myself a professional reader. I even get indignant sometimes when people insist I should write: “What’s wrong with just wanting to be a reader???” Spoiler: Nothing.

     So imagine my surprise when a story started pouring out of my brain. I swear it wasn’t there the day before. Was I happy as I typed? Honestly? No. I was terrified. What was happening to me??? My boyfriend entered the room as I was typing and said the look on my face was one of sheer panic. The word count went up: 300. 750. 1,200. I was afraid to stop. “I’m writing! I’M WRITING!” I said, doing my best imitation of Bill Murray on the boat in 'What About Bob?'

     This elation quickly turned back to panic, and at one point I stood up, sure I was about to be sick to my stomach. Something must have happened to me overnight. I searched for an explanation: The cats poured something strange in my ears. I was struck by lightning through the window. I had a stroke in my sleep. I couldn't figure it out. Where did this story come from? I’m a reader, not a writer! But on I typed. Maybe I was still having a stroke.

     Several hours later, at 3,500 words, I stopped, worried that it was too good to be true, and that I would ruin the magic if I pressed on. I showed my boyfriend what I had so far. “This is the beginning of a real book!” he said. Which made me want to throw up all over again.

     I finally understand what writers are always on about. I feel like I’ve been transported to a different land where I’m just starting to learn the language, and I have so many questions! I haven’t gone back to my story yet, for fear of not being able to write any more. But I want to! I have been googling writing advice, and I have learned that everyone has a different opinion on what to do next. “Let it sit until you’re ready.” “Write 750 words a day, no matter what.” “Ask for feedback.” “Don’t show it to anyone until you’re done.” My head is dizzy.

     What I do know is that I am happy to be in this new land, and I’m excited about the adventure, even if I only have one stamp on my passport. I think I can get the hang of it here. I’M WRITING!

     Now excuse me while I go throw up. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Eyes to the Frontlist

Here's the 2014 that I'm anticipating. I'm sure there's a ton more I'm forgetting!

Some of these I have already read - I am so excited to start handselling them!

The Weirdness by Jeremy Bushnell
Euphoria by Lily King
A Highly Unlikely Scenario by Rachel Cantor
The Painter by Peter Heller
Next Life Might Be Kinder by Howard Norman
Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro
The Fever by Megan Abbott
The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
Independent Study and Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau
Annihilation, Authority and Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer
The Secret of Raven Point by Jennifer Vanderbes
The Martian by Andrew Weir
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
Thunderstruck and Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken
The Vacationers by Emma Straub
California by Edan Lepucki
Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash
Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck
A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip by Kevin Brockmeier
The Quick by Lauren Owen
Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
The Last Days of California by Mary Miller
The Noble Hustle by Colson Whitehead
The Swan Gondola by Timothy Schaffert
Life Drawing by Robin Black
Made to Break by D. Foy
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
A Man Called Destruction by Holly George-Warren
In the Course of Human Events by Mike Harvkey
The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld
Redeployment by Phil Klay
Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead
The Visionist by Rachel Urquhart
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Save the Date by Jen Doll
The Accident by Chris Pavone
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
My Real Children by Jo Walton
How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Shirley by Susan Scarf Merrell
Cataract City by Craig Davidson
On Being Blue by William Gass
Funny Once by Antonya Nelson
A Life in Men by Gina Frangello
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
If Only You People Could Follow Directions by Jessic Hendry Nelson
Dark Duets ed. by Christopher Golden
The Last Illusion by Porochista Khakpour
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
Ripper by Isabel Allende
Remember Me Like This by Bret Antony Johnston
Unremarried Widow by Artis Henderson
The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
High as the Horses' Bridles by Scott Cheshire
The Unamericans by Molly Antopol
Blood Always Tells by Hilary Davidson
Wonderland by Stacy D'Erasmo
Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian
The Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Photo courtesy muffin9101985 - Creative Commons

Update: Thanks to Sarah Weinman for reminding me about David Mitchell. I think I am SO excited for that one, it melted my brain.