Monday, July 25, 2011

I Forgot My Pants, and Other Musings on a Weekend Well Spent

(warning…long post)

Just back from a lovely writers conference underwritten by the Steamboat Springs Arts Council. I am, as usual after a conference, re-invigorated in my own writing efforts, and heartened that so many are as in love with words as I am.

Right – enough with the sweet. If you‘ve spent more than 5 minutes in my presence, you know I don’t really do much sweet, so let’s get to the kooky bits which, when added to all the writing awesomeness, made this a Weekend To Remember (In The Annals of Deb).

Travel Nicknames

On every roadtrip I take from now on it shall be mandatory for all people in the car to have a road trip nickname. For a variety of reasons, I was known for the duration of the trip as Naan Sequitir. This replaces my previous assassin alias of Black Ice. The Boy, who tagged along, was code name International Waters. Here’s the thing about road trip nicknames – they must grow organically from the absurd conversations one has while on a road trip. No arbitrary road trip nicknames, please. At least for the duration of the trip the name must have contextual significance. My game…my rules.

Where all your dreams are for sale….

Accommodations in Steamboat were lovely and comfortable. However, I have never stayed anywhere that has had so many dreamcatchers hanging on the walls. Just when we thought we’d found them all, we came across secret hidden dreamcatchers. With price tags on them. The fabulous Susan Mitchell remarked that she felt as if part of her subconscious might be trapped in the condo forever. I wondered if the entire property, when viewed from above, might actually be in the shape of a giant dreamcatcher, rendering the whole area a giant vortex of dream sucking. Without dreams, we die. You see why the entire thing then degenerated into….

Zombie Cannibals

Some road trips lend themselves to brainstorming movie plots. Horror movie plots, to be precise. Though we never quite settled on the finer points of plot, the roadtrip to a small mountain tourist town off-season lent itself nicely to either attack of zombie cannibals OR insane but unknowable serial killers who would slowly eliminate writers conference participants until just myself, The Boy and the fabulous Susan Mitchell were left, fighting for our lives and trying to escape in a convertible with only 17 dreamcatchers as weapons. Apparently our plan was to flail at the bad guy(s) with fluffy bits of string and wool until they gave in and bought one, or some nasty nightmare from a previous tenant came to life and whooped some zombie cannibal butt.

Yes I Really Forgot My Pants

Here’s a conversation you don’t want to have while attempting to dress professionally for the seminars you will be teaching in an hour:

Me: Uh, I have a weird question. Well really a statement.
Sue: (raises an eyebrown in question).
Me: So, it appears I forgot my pants….
Sue: uh….
Me: No really, I forgot my pants, so my wardrobe selections are the cocktail dress I wore to the opening party last night or the minidress I wore for the drive up.
Sue: (stares in disbelief)…Bahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa……
Me: Sigh.

Thankfully the fabulous Susan Mitchell had something I could borrow which was suitable. Adding insult to injury, after I shared this with the conference attendees as an ice-breaker (yes, getting everyone to laugh at me IS an icebreaker), I was informed that in British English, pants refer to underwear, and the nice British woman at the table over on the side had almost choked on her coffee thinking I’d just informed the entire room that I’d forgotten my panties…..yes. Sigh.

Life brings us many adventures and absurdities, if we only bother to be present and pay attention. I like to do both, so I guess I get more than my fair share of absurd. Isn’t it awesome?

The Final Snippet: When you don’t know what something is, I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t walk up and stick your face in it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ten Things That Come To Mind on the Occasion of Finishing A Book Proposal

(In which a writer shares her actual thoughts as experienced in the first few minutes after the actual completion of an actual book proposal).

1. Vodka. Need Vodka.

2. Writing is vile, wretched and hard. What was I thinking?

3. Holy crap, I am freaking brilliant.

4. Uh, this is terrible. Awful. What was I thinking?

5. 38 pages. This is perfect. The best book proposal ever written. Clearly I will land an amazing book deal in the next few moments.

6. What was I thinking?!?!?!?

7. It feels excellent to have finished such a long, involved and detailed task. Even if the idea doesn’t sell right away, I am pleased with the accomplishment of having gotten this far.

8. I am an idiot. The rejections will be epic and unparalleled, and I will forevermore sit on the double super-secret blacklist that all agents have, which they take out and laugh about over fabulous martinis in Manhattan, while sitting in bars from which I am also clearly banned for life.

9. I finished, I finished. Nyah, nyah, na-nyah nyah!

10. So. Schizophrenia. At least I have that going for me.

Actual thoughts. I kid you not. Still, it feels good to have finished the whole non-fiction book proposal. Now I wait. And hope the schizophrenia does not get the best of me in the meantime….