There are some really helpful posts on the blogsphere on how to revise, Darcy Pattison’s being my favorite. Well, I’m about to give you a peak into MY process. See, my daughter and I always make silly videos on the webcam. I mean, isn’t that why they invented the web cam? When I used to watch the Jetson’s and think how cool it was that they could SEE each other while talking on the phone, I always thought that piece of technology was essential because of the silly possibilities.
So daughter and I made a video, except I forgot to turn the camera off. And I have a few hours of footage now of the comings and goings of our family on a typical night. As fascinating as THAT is, this clip is of me in “revising mode”. You’ll see the structured complication of how my creativity flows. I only wish you could see into my mind.
Warning: It will bore you, but stay with me. This is the first video I’ve ever edited.
In high school, whenever the whispers of Homecoming began, everything relationship-wise, both with girlfriends and members of the opposite sex, shifted. A few weeks, even months before the dance, everyone would start scoping the scene and asked the following questions: Who did I like? Who did I have the potential to like? Who liked me? Who were the old faithfuls, the guy friends who would come through in a pinch. The list would be mentally prioritized by a complex system that involved the guys interest in me and other girl’s interest in him. Oh, and his heighth. Although this equation somehow didn’t work with my shorter-than-me Prom date.
Then, the first girl would get asked in some crazy way, and the game was on. In my school, guys didn’t just ASK, they flew a banner on the back of an airplane or decorated their date’s room or sent a singing telegram. And I’d go on hyper-alert, never sure when I’d find flowers on my desk or a sign in my bedroom.
My junior year, it felt like everyone was getting asked but me. Some of my friends had the security of boyfriends, some the security of being incredible flirts. I remember one friend got a massive boquet from the boy I thought might ask me in the middle of English. And I cried and pretended it was for another lame reason. I was so jealous of all the girls who didn’t even have to work at it! Who always had a date, and sometimes has multiple suitors. I started crossing names off my list, wondering how much I’d have to pay my brother to take me. I thought my turn would never come.
Well, it did. I went to Homecoming with a great guy, a guy who had a good combination of friendom and flirtocity. Then the next dance came up, and the agony began again. Sometimes, it got in the way of friendships. Sometimes, it broke up potential love matches. All this for a couple awkward photographs with a cheap cityscape background, a few slow dances and fancy dinner.
I wish I could have cared less then. I wish I would have been more confident to go after who I wanted. I wish could have been happier for all my girlfriends, even the disgustingly popular and cute ones.
I wish I didn’t make other people’s happiness about me.
The good news is, though, I’m mostly over it now. A friend recently asked me how I feel when “it” happens for someone else, someone who used to be in the same camp as me. (and this can be applied to any of life’s changes–marriage, pregnancy, job promotions, whatever) And my answer is—I can now recognize other people’s success and not worry about my own. Lately, tons of authors are matching up with their perfect publisher or agent or getting great deals and reviews and I’m finally at the point where my reaction isn’t a twinge of jealousy, but happiness.
Happiness that someone else is beginning to realize their dream. It’s their reward, their conquest. It doesn’t make me any less special or cute or talented or whatever. It isn’t about me.
If we can’t let go of those comparisons, it’s not going to end with the deal. Someone else will sell more books. Someone else will get better reviews. Someone else will make more money. As the great LIndsay Lohan said in Mean Girls, “All we can do is try to solve the problem in front of you.”
My date will come, hopefully in a Patrick Dempsey-esque package. But for everyone else, I’m happy for you. Get out their and dance, dance DANCE!
You deserve it.
While many of you were analyzing JK’s latest character revelation, I went to my first conference down here in the south today. If you can’t tell, I never tire of saying things like “down south” or “down here”. It’s part of my southern acclamation, soon to be followed by me adorning white gloves and a pretty hat for a late afternoon tea or a tent revival or… a writers conference.
If I were a better person/blogger/writer/friend, I’d give you very detailed top-secret notes about what each house wants, things like “Mermaids are smoking” or “Lay off the manuscripts on three-toed sloths” (That was just an example. All you three-toed sloth writers, you’re doing just fine.)
Actually, I didn’t go to any editor talks, and I notice a universal theme when I do. They want good writing. So my sage advice for the day is–Learn what that is and do it. Y’all.
While we’re on universality–yes, I did just use that word–I thought I’d share five universal truths I’ve noticed about writer’s conferences, at least from my limited experience. This list is a living beast, so feel free to add your own observations
1. No matter how many of these things I go to or how many people I know, I always have a teeny tiny panic attack before I walk into the first event. It’s like every first day of elementary school rolled into one stomach of butterflies. So I do what any professional, mature adult would do. I talk to myself. In different voices. Since it was a dessert schmooze last night, I opted for British aristocracy for self #1, and the chef from the muppets for self #2 (love you heidi!)
Self 1: Come on, Lindsey. Get out of the car.
Self 2: I can’t. What do I even say?
Self 1: You walk in. Grab a brownie. Grab someone next to you. Discuss the brownies. Shove it in your mouth if they don’t answer.
Self 2: What if the brownie is gross and I spit it out and it turns out the person I grabbed was the baker and I seriously offended them. What then?
This conversation usually lasts until the guys standing by their Winnebago in the parking lot start leering at me, and I decide I’d rather face my fears than their large nascar flag. Not that I’m trying to stereotype. It was actually a nice flag.
2. The best talks are usually the ones I take the least amount of notes on.
3. The only thing more connected than the VerlaKay blueboarders is the Luxemberg mafia. I started off with a bigger mafia, but then I don’t want to get offed.
4. Saying “just joking” after trying to pitch in the middle of a workshop does not erase your stupidity. Neither is saying, “I know we’re not supposed to do this, but…” (this was not my mistake. But it was still painful to watch)
5. I’ll have a conversation with someone, anyone, walk away and replay what I just said, and realize there is a reason I am a writer. Because I sound like such an idiot sometimes, an idiot who talks really really fast.
Anyway, I’m excited to be in this new region and to get back in it with SCBWI. Oh, I just thought of one more truth.
6. When I say SCBWI, it always always takes me two tries.
I WENT TO A HARRY POTTER PARTY WITH HERMIONE GRANGER!
Yep, I kept a three-year-old up until 11:30 last night. But it’s alright, I used a time-turner afterwards and got her down by 8:00. And, just because there isn’t ENOUGH Harry madness on the net, here are the pics from our HP Party at our uber fabulous local library.
gearing up for the par-tay! Official Hogwarts School Picture Getting some ink- (Mommy, who am I again?) we opted for matching “birdies” aka falcons
Gaining Admittance: When asked for password, Hermione replied: “I want candy”. Presto! We’re in. Quick Interview with Rita Skeeter. Hermione’s look expresses her keen skeptism for Rita’s journalistic style
What do you see in the ball, my dear? “Light. And candy.” Concocting some Felix Felicis with Moaning Myrtle. Hermione was a little put off when Myrtle asked her to come visit poor Myrtle in the bathroom sometime. Hermione answered, “We don’t use potty talk.”
Kicking it with “Santa Claus in blue” aka Dumbledore, who Hermione relaxing in the Gryffindor Common Room declined Hermione’s offer to sit on his lap. & devouring our loot from Hogsmeade
Now to sit by the door and wait for my copy to arrive in the mail. Happy reading everyone!
Kurt Vonnegut was the author I read in high school when I wanted everyone to know I was reading. But then I started reading him at the beach, and in the bathtub, and in the middle of a college football stadium. He introduced ideas my little adolescent mind had never explored–war and it’s meaning (or lack thereof), sex, depression,the absurdities of life and joy. I reread him now, and when I do he shakes and revamps my political, ethical and moral views. So much of my literary self, or the literary self I aspire to become, is Kurt Vonnegut.
And now he is gone.
As Vonnegut would say–So it goes.