Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Let’s Get This Out of the Way - Here’s What My Novel is About

When I tell people I’m writing a novel in Paris, they usually look at me like I’m full of shit, but sometimes they ask, “About what?”  I’m still not sure how to respond, as the plot crafting process has taken an entire year, and there are lots of gaps that haunt me at night.  If I only have a minute to answer the question, I usually say something like:

“Oh it’s very, very dark.  My main character is in a dark, dark place.  I take frequent breaks from writing because it goes against my bubbly personality and drags me into that dark hole.  I’m on a break right now, in fact.  It was getting a little too dark for me.”

That usually gets a nod, a short follow up comment like, “It must be really hard to be a writer.”  I say, “You have no idea.”  And we move onto more laughable subject matter, such as French paperwork and French Wi-Fi.

But occasionally, someone asks, “About what?” and I can tell they’re sincere.  So for all yawls who really want to know, voila!  I present, The Reveal:

Er.  Nevermind.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Rejected in Paris: How to Procrastinate Writing a Best-Selling, Award-Winning, Mind-Blowing Novel while Living in France

So I’ve been living in Paris for one full year.  It’s been a lovely twelve months.  My Hometown Philly friends exhibit no shame when they ask me: Just what the hell have you been doing with yourself in Paris all year?  They have a right to this inquiry, of course.  After all, I don’t have a job.

I’m a writer.

I’m also a procrastinator.  I suffer from chronic Writer’s Block.  When I do write something, it’s tremendous.  I can’t prove this to you, of course, but you’ve got to believe me here.  I’m a really, really great writer.  No, like, I’m an awesome writer.  But like many talented (and beautiful - I’m beautiful too) writers, I require constant distraction stimulation.

I’m good at the stimulation part.  In the past twelve months, I’ve been everywhere from the top of the Eiffel Tower to the crypt of Notre Dame to the dome of Sacre Coeur to the bowels of the Louvre.  I mean, I had to see the Mona Lisa, right?  I’ve visited the Normandy Beaches, dipped my toes into the Mediterranean Sea, and flew home to the USA on four different occasions.  I enjoyed the fireworks on Bastille Day and cheered the bikers as the Tour de France rolled into town.  I flaneur-ed the streets of Paris, wandered around the Catacombs, and consumed tons of cheese good fiction while sitting on the Metro.  I traveled to seven different European countries, nearly killed myself skiing in the Alps, and took a couple hundred pictures of the Moulin Rouge.  I acquired a taste for steak tartar, ate one too many croissants, and wiped my hiney with purple toilet paper.  I joined a gym but I don’t go, and I started and stopped smoking cigarettes three different times.  I drank champagne in Champagne.  Oh, and I learned French.  Well, un petit peu.

I also went to poetry readings and attended critique sessions and acquired a writing partner.  And while I’ve spent far more time talking about the craft than actually typing on my keyboard, I’ve written some good shit a little bit of fiction, too.  

So here it is 2015.  It’s a New Year, and I suppose I’m creating this blog as yet another effective form of procrastination.  Perhaps I’ll pick up a few dedicated readers here and there, and maybe you’ll hold me accountable to churn out some fiction.  In the meantime, I’ll continue suffering from Writer’s Block, and you can follow me around Paris while I search for inspiration or really good eclairs.  For another few years, anyways.

And if you happen to be my Bestie, perhaps this blog will act as a gap-filler, because what I’ve learned over the past year is that I email you frequently with my gripes about the Frenchies, but I leave out the important stuff like, yanno, what color my toilet paper is this week.  But don’t you worry, Lady, this will not take the place of our private communications, because aint nobody out there who could possibly understand the things you understand about me.  Also, I don’t think I can speak publicly about you-know-who.

Somehow, I managed to write a short story last night.  And then I fired it off to a literary magazine before I could delete it (or at least edit the hell out of it - another of my favorite procrastination tools).  The story is called Lake Placid Rustic Cafe.  It’s the first piece of fiction I’ve submitted to any publication since 1999, which is about the time I received a scathing rejection letter and then promised myself to decorate my office walls with rejection letters and then never submitted anything ever again.  So I don’t have a wall of rejection letters, which technically makes me better than the writers who do.  (What, there’s logic in that).

I love the idea of rejection, though.  I was rejected by the boy of my dreams in high school, over and over again, and I found it strangely exhilarating.  Rejection is probably just what I need to put my writing gears back into motion.

But it’s going to be a while before I get my first second rejection letter.  If you’re inclined, feel free to send me your rejection letters.  That is, letters you’ve received, or hell, letters you’d like to write to me, even if you haven’t read me, as a means of working out your aggression.  I mean, if you need to.  I’m cool with that.  No, really.