Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Page two, page two, oh I love you so

Earlier this month I wrote about trying to get one of my unpublished manuscripts out in the world. One agent gave me a nibble, but I must have jerked on the line too hard: she swam away. I am still hopeful because clearly, I'm still on page one of my novel writing career. Despite years of scribbling, page one is difficult to move past. Page two weighs about ten thousand pounds and I keep losing my grip, my hands are sweaty and weak. . . (and I am mixing my metaphors, whatever, sue me).

I want to move on to page two. I'm nearly desperate to move on to that golden, shining page, but really, what does it matter? I'm not going to stop writing. I could make it to age 99 and still have my sci-fi novels unpublished and I'll be tapping away at my keyboard. Or maybe I'll just be thinking the words directly into my computer, courtesy of the neuro-implant we're all going to have eventually that connects us to the digital world forever, at all times.


Okay, that's one of my ideas for yet another novel. I seem to be overflowing with ideas these days, which is a welcome change from my twenties where I had nothing, NOTHING in my head except a vain hope for a full night's sleep.

And with that, I'll leave you with page two of my unpublished, in dire need of an agent, sci-fi novel, The Quantum Archives. (Psst, Brigita? I posted this for you.)


Quantum imager on display through December
By Thomas Miles, Associated Planet Press Writer
September 8, 2099 4:35 PM EDT
NEW YORK (APP) — Scientist Sarah Metis invented the quantum neuro-imager with the help of her sister, Eve Metis, a neuro-linguist. Though the imager only worked for a short time, the experiments and data from the recorded vocal fragments, catalogued by Eve, changed the face of human society, both religious and scientific. Advances in the fields of neuroscience, quantum physics, psychology, and many others were made possible, though the rise of the Post-Charasmatic religious group, Daestar, was also spurred by the invention of the imager. Nonetheless, most people agree that the benefits to humanity outweigh the negatives. Advances made in the medical field were especially welcome as research into the brain and genetics became more accurate. Most people alive today enjoy an extended life expectancy that would not have been possible without the new imaging technology invented by scientists studying Sarah Metis’s quantum imager.
The device, catalogued archives, and media of the Metis sisters and their work are on display through December 2099 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Sarah Metis’ death. Because security is heightened for the duration of the exhibit, all visitors must submit to a search before entering. All visitors are accompanied by a guide and no one will be allowed to stay longer than the one-hour limit. No unauthorized representatives of Daestar will be admitted. For further information, please visit the Newton Society Museum’s website.

Friday, May 13, 2011

How to write through extreme physical discomfort

Namely: a really bad itch.

Yeah, sure, I guess a lack of sleep (two hours total last night, suck on that you wimpy full-night's sleep people, I am awesome) could also qualify as extreme discomfort, but it's really more of a drunken buzzy edge-of-hallucination feeling than discomfort. I suppose the weird muscle spasms at 3 am could qualify, but still, no. Or the hot flashes (it's not menopause, trust me), but also no. It's really the itch that is the hardest thing to ignore.

Why are you so itchy, you ask? TMI ahead: Monday I had a dermatologist cut off a funny-looking mole (not cancer, the biopsy was benign). The mole was on my cleavage. So, yeah, I was a bit sad to see it disappear. No more Marilyn Monroe flash of sexiness to make me feel cool anymore, but really, it wasn't a big deal. Until I realized I was allergic to EVERYTHING the doctor put on the wound.

Allergic to Doctor's bandaid? Check. Allergic to four other types of bandage/surgical tape/adhesive/ointment/water/air/just-looking-at-the-damn-thing? Check. Red marks on my skin where all the various adhesives have raised patterns of itchy hellishness? Check. Why don't I just leave it exposed, you wonder? Well, the skin is missing. It'll take at least ten days, I think, for it to be safe from infection.

So the question remains, how does one write through such extreme physical discomfort? What will help?

---> Vodka.

Or so I thought.

I tried pouring it on the wound, but that SURE DIDN'T HELP AT ALL. No siree. Then I drank a little with my Benadryl. That was a fun couple hours right there but it didn't really help with the writing.

So I bought myself a ginormous, chocolate chip, chocolate frosted, chocolate muffin and perched it on my desk. That will be dinner. I'm not allowed to eat it until I write my word count quota for the day.

The fumes of sweet yummy goodness are extremely discomfiting.

I have named my muffin Incentive.

(Yeah, yeah, I can hear you laughing at the obscene pun all the way in PA. Whatevs)

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Rejection, rejection, wherefore art thou?

Oh yeah. You're in my inbox, therefore my words exist.

I've been sending out queries for one of my novels, a literary sci-fi titled The Quantum Archives. I've revised it four times, but it could probably stand some more attention. Even so, the other day I received a nibble from an agent (she wanted more pages), then she rejected the manuscript.

The weirdest thing about being a writer? You are totally convinced people want to read your words. I mean, sure, there's the niggling doubt, the worry that your writing sucks coupled with a lot of frantic revision, but ultimately, to be a writer you have to be completely certain that what you're writing is something other people will want to read. It's a weird contradiction—all that insecurity mixed up with confidence. And it seems like it would be easy to freak out and give up; I'm a serious pessimist, after all, but when it really comes down to it, I can't give up. I love writing too much. The work itself is a joy and that's enough to keep me writing, convinced that somehow, someday, someone else will read the words I type and enjoy them.

The Quantum Archives made it to the semi-finals in the Black Lawrence Press Black River Chapbook Competition. I've since rewritten it as a novel and am still hopeful it will find its way to readers someday. Here's a peek at the first page:

Sarah, my sister, I know everything. You created that silver machine to illuminate the impenetrable, and as usual, you are gone ahead of me. I kept it, your diadem, its stiff wires and electrodes, the strange toggle you claimed was the key to omniscience. I hated it. One flick and the thing hummed, your eyes closing as bliss walked into your face, as you spoke in tongues, fragments of the past skinned open for you like the plums mother used to peel so carefully. And now you are gone to dust.
When the diadem was announced, everyone was delighted, not knowing how it bound you as if you were a slave, not a queen. Not a scientist. We should not have fooled with time. I should not have helped you build it but I never thought it would work. I knew better. You could do anything, stroll inside the brains of the dead, fold space until even Einstein grew confused. You claimed it would tell you how to fix the world, not realizing that the Earth already had become another place entirely and it was too late for repair. By then, I was too late to save you. That damn thing burned into your skull so badly I had to peel your skin away to get it off.
My dear Sarah, I am no longer angry, but I miss you. I grieve your passing. I am altogether bereaved and I wonder if you saw this future. I hope not. I have disabled the diadem, hidden its crystal. No one will know. Never again will a woman peer into her own past. We are safe, though I wish you had explained the euphoria you felt when you recorded. I could have fixed it, perhaps. I could have done more if I knew that was the problem.
I wish you had told me you were so sad.
—from the private diary of Eve Metis, sister of Sarah Metis, entry dated December 12, 2049.

Like what you see? If so, let me know and maybe I'll post the second page too. . .


Sunday, May 01, 2011

My winner for The Big Poetry Giveaway is . . .

Gale! I used a random number generator to pick the winner and counted down the comments on my blog. Thanks to everyone who participated in The Big Poetry Giveaway 2011!