Collected Wisps of Thought

{January 30, 2007}   Holding My Breath

I just sent my next book off to copyediting.

That sounds so simple right? You finish editing and it’s nearly time to go to press, so off your book goes to the copyeditor who can put that last polish on your grammar. It should be a time for celebration, but today I feel as if I took a deep gulp of air before I hit the “send” key, and I’m still holding it.

Why can’t I let it out?

Maybe it’s because I’ve been working on this book for a long time. So long that when I got up to wipe the words “Eden Revision” off my dry erase To-Do board, they were pretty much permanently stuck there. In fact, this book hasn’t been called Eden for about six months. It’s now called The Garden of Eve, and I almost sent it to copyediting once before, but got a last minute reprieve — an extension on my deadline granted from above. Yet still, time always seemed to be running out on me with this book. Even with the extension I worked six days in a row last week – fifteen hour days during which I never left my house — in order to get everything finished.

At the end of those six days my editor read the revision and said, “I hate to say this, but I honestly can’t see that much that you’ve changed” Contrary to what you might be expecting, I leapt for joy and relief. At this stage of the game, I didn’t want to be making glaring changes. I wanted to be adding the fine touches that a craftsman might use to polish a work of art. The more she noticed them, the less I’d done my job. Totally the opposite from how things work in the beginning of the process. But trust me… I notice them. I know every little word that’s different and why I changed it, and it’s honestly this last round of changes that’s made me happiest with the book.

So now, after all this, the manuscript has finally been sent to copyediting. Part of me wants to pull it back even as I’m relieved that it’s gone. I keep staring at the big glaring space on my To-Do board. It’s not as if there aren’t other things on that list, but I can’t let go of this one yet.

I’m still sitting here holding my breath. 


{January 11, 2007}   2007 – Year of the Routine

I’m making an official declaration.

I hereby declare 2007 the year of the routine.

Don’t worry, this applies only to me. I’ve decided that some normalcy and a healthy dose of boring would not be such a bad thing this year. I’ve always been the type who wanted to go everywhere and do everything — exist in the middle of a swirling cloud of excitement — but truly I think I’ve done ‘boring’ a disservice. I’ve underrated it. These days I find myself asking, “What’s so bad about boring?”

Maybe it’s because last year was really crazy. Moving, getting married, getting married, moving… well, isn’t that enough? This year, I’d like to settle into some of those routines people talk about — not a rut, but comfortable patterns. I’d like to say that every Thursday my husband and I have lunch together and every Friday is date night and every Sunday is the day we relax and do no work whatsoever. Then, when people say, “Well, can’t you do such and such on Thursday or Friday or Sunday?” I could look at them and sigh wistfully and say, “No, I’m sorry but my calendar is full.”

And it would be. 

I’d like my calendar to be packed with the little things. Trips to the gym made without debate, afternoon tea on cold days, starting the woodstove every weekend in the winter. Then I’d like to honor those dates the same way I honor the dates marked “Conference” or “Author visit” or “Trip to visit relatives”. Because really, daydreaming must be accomplished on schedule. I’d hate to fall behind. And there’s no catching up once my stack of unread books gets too high.

So, here’s to 2007… may it be dull, boring, predictable, and routine.

{January 7, 2007}   My Cat Is Stalking My Toaster

Okay, really the title says it all.

Here’s what happened: My cat, Pippin, is a vigilant mouser. Since I live out in the country, his territory tends to include my kitchen. I don’t know how the mice manage to get in, but they do. Anyway, tonight as Pippin chased a mouse across the kitchen he knocked over our toaster. (For all you animal lovers, don’t worry, the mouse got away!)

When the toaster fell, Pippin became convinced that the mouse must be IN the toaster. He then proceeded to stick his nose and paw as far into the toast slots as he possibly could. We unplugged it and cleaned out all the crumbs, but the Battle of the Toaster had officially begun.

The toaster struck next, somehow entrapping Pippin’s paw so that he had to drag the appliance across the kitchen floor in order to free himself. Finally, my husband and I turned the toaster upside down and left it on the floor where it could cause no more havoc.

Still, just moments ago I walked into the kitchen to find Pip crouched low, tail swishing, sneaking up inch by inch on the unsuspecting toatser.


Such is life at my house.

{January 3, 2007}   Random Blog

This is a totally random blog, but I find myself thinking about celebrity quite often these days. Not celebrities, as in individual famous people, but celebrity, as in the state of being famous. More specifically, I find myself feeling sorry for famous people.

Now, a very wise question might be: Why feel sorry for people who have immense wealth, are generally beautiful (or at least have the money to become outwardly so) and are adored by millions of fans? Don’t most of us, despite how vehemently we might deny it, harbor hidden fantasies of becoming famous?

I’ll admit, there have been times in my life when a certain degree of fame has been tempting. For example, I would love the degree of fame where everyone knew my name and the name of my books so that they could say to each other in passing, “Did you read that new bestseller by KL Going? I heard it made the NY Times list before it was even released!”

But I would NOT like the degree of fame where people would recognize me on the streets and take my photo when I’m having a bad hair day and wearing my old sweats. I wouldn’t like the degree of fame where people make montages of me and other celebrities talking with our mouths full or tripping or scratching our noses so that it appeared as if… well, you know.

This is part of the reason I feel sorry for celebrities, but it’s not the whole thing. I keep trying to put my finger on the feeling of melancholy I get when watching E! What makes me want to defend Tom Cruise and Britney Spears when I’m not even fans of their work? Why cringe instead of rejoice at so-and-so’s next big flop?

Aside from the issue of general human kindness, I think I genuinely worry about famous people. It’s enormously difficult for any of us to make it through life with our priorities intact. Our culture is a great big vat of sticky gum that we wade through on a daily basis. You lean into it, shoulders down, head back, knees propelling you forward, reminding yourself as you go: life is not all about me, there is goodness in the world, how I act is important, it’s not what’s on the outside that counts, money doesn’t define success…

The list goes on, but I imagine the gum surrounding celebrities to be that much thicker.

On any given day, I encounter a hundred examples of other people living out each of the statements I murmur to myself as I push through the morass. I only have to look around to see that life does not revolve around me or to be reminded about what it means to live well. Just today I went to the gym and the woman who owns it knows everyone by name. She had a personal kind word for every single person there. Think how many people she effects every day. What a wonderful vocation! She isn’t as rich as Donald Trump or as beautiful as 99% of the women on television, but I have to believe she’s chosen a wonderful path through life. The world is better because she is here.

Entertaining can be a wonderful path as well, but it’s all about how you live it out. I imagine the average celebrity has many more obstacles on their road and far fewer role models. I guess, in the end this is why I feel sorry for them — because I know how hard I find it to get by in my daily average life and I can’t imagine how I’d measure up if things were any more difficult than they already are.

People choose to persue fame for any number of reasons (sometimes it is thrust upon them) but I wonder if it brings them what they expect. I wonder if all the time and effort and money spent is worth it when all is said and done. How many celebrities are truly happy with their lives and how many are always in search of that brass ring which remains forever out of reach?

How many of us would maintain our values if roles were reversed?

God willing, we might never have to find out. Right?

Well… okay, maybe we could all be tested just a teeny tiny bit. ;-}

et cetera