The real problem, honestly, is that we don’t have and can’t afford to get a maid. I have mentioned before that I am a bit of a slob, and I hesitate to tell outsiders about Mount Laundry. Making it my New Year’s resolution to bring down Mount Laundry– which is almost certainly both more useful and more doable than last year’s resolution to blog every day in 2012. So I bought eighty dollars worth of quarters and am committed to continuing to do a few loads at a time until such time as all of the closets and dressers and cabinets are filled with clothes and there are only a few empty baskets where Mount Laundry now towers threateningly in the corner of the bedroom. Or until I run out of quarters. (My late huzband Joel worked at times for both Eddie Bauer and London Fog and bought rather an awful lot of very nice clothes both for himself and for me. It is a sad fact that too many nice clothes can be a real burden when it comes to keeping up at the coin laundry.)
I have started editing the manuscript of last year’s blog posts and am considering calling the book Poking Straight Guys On Facebook. It is such a provocative title, and I do think that the title essay is a good centerpiece to build the volume around. I have a great deal more copy to edit and plenty more time to think carefully about what I want to do with the material as a book. In looking back at the essays I published in the early part of 2012, it was somewhat startling to me to notice in the comments so many faces that have dropped by the wayside and off my own personal radar. It almost seems as though the audience that I am attracting now is mostly a completely different audience than the one I was attracting last January. I’m reminded again of the old saying about ‘three steps forward, two steps back’. It does seem to me sometimes that those are the basic steps to life’s dance. It’s good to remember that if you stick with them, you always end up one more step ahead.
I tend to suspect that my friend Sharon, who writes about her life as a mom to several kids in a laugh out loud funny manner reminiscent of the late, great Erma Bombeck, probably does a much better job of keeping her house clean– the amazing accidents and incidents with her family not withstanding. I honestly don’t know why Sharon assigned me these words. I’m sure if she were assigned to blog on these three words she would come up with a long and hilarious piece, perhaps about how the maid did come and the house looked staged and ready to slip the chocolate chip cookies in the oven before the open house and her kids managed to un-do 300 dollars of professional cleaning within 30 seconds after the maid left. If you’re not already familiar with Sharon’s writing, do take a few minutes to visit Sharon’s Mom’s Madhouse. It really is a hoot.
This time it was the shoes that saved me. As once before when the pictures from my image search were quite unusable until I came across a bat flower plant on a Goth blog that gave me an image, this time the classic stylings of Cordwainer brand shoes provided an image that is dressy and distinctive. And certainly more appealing than a plaster replica of a shoulder blade or a variety of the charcuterie that the word pate would be if you put an accent on the ‘e’. I however chose to read the word as pate, like the top of a bald man’s head, rather than a very rich and filling cocktail food that I never make and have only rarely eaten. (When I worked at a bookstore, I hosted an autograph party for the ladies who wrote the Kosher Cajun Cookbook and the Kosher Creole Cookbook. They brought a platter with pate and crackers, and after the signing party was over, they left the remains of the food with me. I took it up to an office and had it for my lunch. It was really delicious. However by the time my shift ended at 5 or 6 in the evening my stomach positively ached from having eaten so much of that very rich food.
I put on my clerical hat and pasted most of last year’s 294 blog posts into a text document. I still am very much up in the air about a title, and definitely plan to edit out some of those 294 entries. Though I believe that when I’ve edited out what I want to be rid of and added an introduction and an afterword it will be right around 100,000 words, which I believe is a reasonable length for a book. I am thinking that I will not attempt to include any of the comments on any of those posts (I’ve had over 4,900 hundred comments since I first started this blog.) I am thinking that the point of the book is to get my writing before new readers. And the eBook will be well-linked to the blog and readers will be able to connect to the blog and see and participate in the discussions. To be perfectly honest, I decided that I really did not want to go through the process of attempting to contact each commentator and secure permission to use their comments in a book.
I am deeply and genuinely embarrassed over the fact that although I talked about writing a new missions guide for Empire Avenue or a new missions section for my existing book Walking Down The Avenue, literally all year long. And never did publish an updated edition nor a new stand alone guide. My knack for procrastination has been fully on display on this blog over the course of the past year. There were in fact a fairly large number of posts that I am not whole heartedly proud of. And yet, it seems to me that it has throughout this year been that it was the combination of so many different themes, from suffering bi-polar disorder to navigating the health care system to blogging, social networking and a number of other peculiar personal interests that has made this blog work. Pasting from WordPress to word processor leaves very messy copy that will have to be gone over with a fine tooth comb prior to publication. (Plenty of time to make a decision about title and what supplementary materials to add to the actual blog posts.)
And finally today, many thanks to my friend Laura Sykes for suggesting today’s words.
I remarked to a friend yesterday that my meeting and getting a publishing agreement with Biljana Petrova may very well prove to be as momentous as say, the meeting of Margaret Mitchell and her publisher for Gone With The Wind. And yes, I’m well aware that this sounds, almost certainly like some bit of boasting or way overstating the case. And yet.
I genuinely believe that like Ms. Mitchell, whose novel brought home the realities of the US Civil War to a huge global audience, Biljana may prove to be the literary voice of a generation of people from what used to be called the Socialist Federal Republic of Jugoslavija. I believe that Biljana has the voice and the vision to pull off an historical novel every bit as big as Gone With The Wind. I realize of course that there is no guarantee that she will write this magnum opus which I envision. And yet it seems palpably real to me, like the ghostly Miss Espresso whom I feel certain I would always just miss, if I were to try to track her down in real life, rather than in the magical pages of Black And White.
I am taking my time with this. I have forwarded the manuscript to two very trusted good friends, and will not proceed until I have heard back from both of them. I know from my own experience that Black And White, although a short book, is most certainly Not a quick and easy read. It is the sort of book one savors and re-reads bits of several times before meandering on. I have also consulted with a book designer and am going to see if we can not improve upon the book cover image. I believe that Black And White is the first of several books that are destined to be huge, enduring best sellers. I think I just grabbed a tiger by the tale. The trick now is to hang on.
The really bad thing about knowing too many quotes is that after a time you can continue to spout quote after quote, but you haven’t a clue where they have come from. If only that were the secret to original writing. “And sometimes there’s God….so quickly.”
I find myself thinking today that Biljana is actually a very wise woman. On the one hand, I am thrilled. I have been given license to publish and promote this incredibly wonderful book, written by a woman who seems smart enough to keep her clever publisher at arm’s length. Which means that she probably is Not going to want to have endless discussions about the promotions. I have her snail mail, we’ve agreed on terms. I’ll certainly be sending her checks as I sell her books. But I do not have to clear everything with a temperamental artiste who is also a friend. I seem to have pretty free reign to decide and do it My Way.
I find myself wishing I knew just a bit more about the stories of some other incredibly great writers making a life-changing agreement with her first publisher. Cause I’m pretty sure that the work I am about to introduce to you is as significant as any that global literary society has seen in a long time. So the fact that I have landed this book is actually HUGE. Although of course it will take 10 years of hard work to turn it into “an overnight success”. But if you have any appreciation for the art and craft of fiction, I know you will want to read this book. And if you read my blog regularly, you’ll soon find out that I will even let you read Black And White for free.