dear.family.

I love you. You know I do. I’d give any of you the clothes off my back, my last square of dark chocolate. I’d stay up all night doing your laundry and prepping your meals all week.

Did you laugh on that last part? The cooking thing? Yeah, I snorted wine out my nose as I was writing it.

Okay but the point is, I love you.

However (you knew there was going to be a but didn’t you? And the show Friends has taught us that However is just a fancy But…), if any of you take my brand new headphones, made specially for those of us who need music while we’re torturing ourselves by running or skipping or walking and telling everyone we’re running, I’m going to have to cut you.

Why?

Oh you want to know why. Holy shit, they’re serious. They don’t know why. Okay, well I present to the court, Exhibit A:

 

 

You thought I had a picture, didn’t you? But I don’t. I don’t have a picture. All I have is the white noise of our stupid town as I run because one of you took my black Sony Sports ear buds and left them on the couch and the dog ate them.

Exhibit B: (still no picture) One of you people who supposedly loves me took my smaller, less awesome, regular ear buds and left them in your pocket so that I washed them. Then you laughed at me for trying them out anyway. Static. Just static, static, static.

Exhibit C: (I really am going to start taking pictures of everything that gets ruined in this house for the sole purpose of putting them on blog posts) Another Sports-type ear bud deal that has one ear-loopedy-loo thing snapped in half, that I try to muddle through with. If you see a crazy woman running (okay jogging)… (FINE WALKING) and cussing while she keeps trying to push her one ear bud into her left ear repeatedly because if she jiggles the slightest bit it pops out, yes folks, that’s me. Don’t laugh at me. My family apparently has a vendetta against ear buds that aren’t deformed.

And so, I give you, my loving family, Exhibit D:

earbuds

This is me, looking like a dork, wearing my brand new ear buds with the little adjustable loopy things that I went to Wal-Mart to buy.

That’s right, Wal-Mart. You all know how much I hate Wal-Mart. I endured countless bare bellies and toothless men to get these babies for the price of $19.98. So please. PLEASE. I beg of you, leave them alone.

You know, so I don’t have to cut you.

 

ring.ring.

Let me break it down for those of you who grew up in this age of wireless phones and texting and instant gratification.

This is how a normal, polite human-being makes a phone call:

Normal, Polite Human-Being (from here on out known as NPHB): *dialing number*

RING! RING!

NPHB: *waiting and not hanging up*

RING! RING!

NPHB: *waiting and thinking to yourself, Maybe she’s with another client/patient/customer/insert whatever here*

RING! RING!

VOICEMAIL: I’m away from my desk or with another client. Please leave your name, number, and a brief message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

NPHB: This is NPHB. I’m calling about blah blah blah and yadda blah. Please call me back when you get a chance. My number is xxx-xxxx. Thank you!

This is how you, apparently, make a call:

You: *dialing number*

RING! RING!

You: *waiting patiently (I can only assume because you haven’t hung up yet)*

RING! RING!

You: *apparently thinking, why the hell hasn’t this bitch picked up yet?*

RING! RING!

You: *hanging up without leaving any kind of message whatsoever*

You: *calling back immediately and doing the exact same thing*

You: *calling back immediately and doing the exact same thing*

You: *calling back immediately and doing the exact same thing*

You: *calling back immediately and doing the exact same thing*

ME (Once I get done with my appointment -that you interrupted six times- with another client who left me a fucking message when they called): Wow, I have six missed calls from the same number, but no messages! When I figure out who this person is, I’ll be sure to make them my number one priority! I’ll make sure to put them at the bottom of my ever-growing pile of obligations!

**And you will immediately go to the bottom of my sub-pile of obligations if all of these unmessaged phone calls come from your wife, mother, or grandmother on your behalf.

 

 

writing. stuff.

I’ve been debating for the last two days, whether or not to write about my weekend at the Writing Workshop of Chicago. I don’t want anyone thinking I’m some expert just because I forked out some cash and sat in five seminars all day this past Saturday. I mean, it would be nice if you all just went along with my delusion that I’m an expert all the time no matter what I do.

After great deliberation, and getting much needed sleep, I decided, eh what the hell. Hardly anyone reads this anyway. So without further ado, here are a few highlights from my weekend at the Writing Workshop of Chicago, 2016.

1). Even if it is May everywhere else in Illinois, you still probably need a freaking winter coat in Chicago. Because, when you leave St. Louis in your tank top and flip-flops, there’s a good chance that by the time your train stops in Chicago, it will be 34 degrees and raining and you’ll find yourself flagging down a cab sans coat, wearing a tank top and flip flops, outside Union Station.

2)   Despite what you may have heard about literary agents, none of them seem to have hinged jaws created specifically for the purpose of swallowing whole the authors of shitty query letters and first chapters told in first person present tense.

3)  Even though I did not see any agents unhinging their jaws to eat wayward authors, it is still a really terrible idea to pitch a story that you haven’t actually finished writing yet. I feel like that one shouldn’t even have to be pointed out, but there you go.

4)  Do not wear high heeled boots to walk around Navy Pier. Okay, you’re now thinking that’s probably something I shouldn’t have to be told. Whatever smartasses, okay. You get a point.

5) Be prepared to edit. Edit, edit, edit. And when you think you’re done editing, you should probably edit some more.

6)  Even if it’s only 40 degrees outside and raining, apparently the Congress Hotel is going to have it’s fucking air conditioning on, so go ahead and just buy a coat to wear to the conference.

7)  For the love of God, quit finding colorful ways to say the word said. Like, seriously. Stop it. This isn’t just advice I’ve loved forever, it is also advice given by literary agent Abby Saul at the conference. Characters can just say stuff. They don’t have to always be huffing or screaming or proclaiming or whatever. Just cut it out already.

8)  If you feel intellectually in-tune with a person, you may have weird feelings toward them. Like even if they are of a gender/sex that you aren’t traditionally attracted to and even if they supposedly have a hinged jaw made for eating people who unwittingly step into their space and spew one too many adjectives, at some point, they may say something like, “It’s okay for characters to just say things,” and then you feel weird and wonder if this is something you have to talk to your husband about.

9)  Now that I really think about it, there was a huge period of time where I didn’t see any agents at all. So I’m not entirely secure in my assertion that none of them offed any of the writers at the conference.

10)  If you’re not writing some kind of Young Adult Urban Fantasy Romantic Paranormal Something-or-Other, you’re pretty much screwed. Don’t worry, I am too. So at least you’re in good company.

11)  If you want to hear from and about a lot of people who have been exactly where you are, and have persevered, a writing conference is a great place to go.

12)  Taking a break from your own brain is a good idea.

13)  Keep a notebook with you everywhere you go, because the best inspirations might not come from the conference itself. It might come from the guy on the train who won’t quit talking/singing/hitting on girls, or the homeless guy who keeps asking your daughter where his baby is, or the grandmother giving out dating advice to strangers.

14)  You should really figure out how to work the Twitter because apparently that’s a big damn deal in the literary world. Don’t ask me. I still can’t figure shit out on there.

15)  There are a lot of us out there, and there’s room for all of us on the bookshelf. (You know, as long as you don’t use too many adverbs, start your story with the weather, or sound like a walking Thesaurus.)

Actually, I’m not at all comfortable with #2 right now. I just wasn’t following them sufficiently enough to make an absolute statement about who what any of them ate for lunch.