Saturday, December 26, 2009

Book almost done! ... Again ...

So my husband couldn't quite get as excited this time around when I'm jumping up and down telling me him I'm about done with the draft of the Persephone novel. Yep, because this is the FOURTH time, with a fresh new take on the old story, and my old versions. In this one, Perspehone lives in modern times and mythological drama ensues from there. But my husband won't be fooled again, because, yeah, the last ones went exactly... nowhere. I too have tempered my steam about finished product, locked and loaded and agent-hunt worthy. Because while with the last version I was all vim and vigor and misplaced surety, I look back now at it and think, hmm, yeah - it wasn't a bad story, but it wasn't like other things I read in the genre, and it definatly lacked voice, my catch-theme that I focused on with the latest version. Finally, it's first person, present time, teenage voice but not whiny. So I don't trust my own judgement, and don't quite know what to think of my novel, edging it's way towards completion.

But that never stopped me before! I think I should finish it in the next few days - it just has a few more scenes left, maybe 20 pages, and when I'm in go-mode, that gets pumped out. It will fall at a nice YA length, a little over 70,000 words. The rest is pretty polished, and I'll start querying agents again. I wouldn't call myself a glutton for punishment exactly - some of my bets have paid off like sending that random abstract for the conference and some of the short pieces I've published. Rejection doesn't drive me to despair, and, while you might want to punch me for my optimism, I feel like I've learned so much each time around and become such a better writer, I don't mind. And I do still have this vague indefatiguable confidence that I will get a book published eventually, if not this one, the next. Though I'm done with Persephone--if this version doesn't get picked up, I'll sow my seeds in a different story finally. Though who knows? Fourth time's a charm?

And here's a short story just published in Theaker's Quarterly Fiction. You can read it online, or order a print copy. My story, "Under the Blighted Tree" is kind of out there, but I wrote it after reading Goethe's Faust, and thinking about quest stories.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Year in Retrospect

The cold weather has blown in (and I mean literally blown - the crazy hefts of wind have knocked over playscapes and a neighbors fence, not to mention stripping all the last of the stubborn fall leaves from the trees), and it makes me feel retrospective. Well, the whole Christmas season and upcoming New Year do, but the cold was like the last thing to click in place to remind me, wow, another year is finishing, and a new one starting. But January is the time to think about the newness - December is for remembering the old. Watching news shows recap 2009, I realize what a rough year it's been for our nation. Personally, it went from being horrible to being wonderful (last Jan I was working an office job and having health problems, by the end of the year I'm rockin' it and loving school).

It was definately a year that did NOT fly by, which is usually when things are new and exciting and one's world is opening up. That happened my first semester of undergrad - my first time out of the house, moved to Chicago, fell in love--those four months felt like a year. Likewise, my mind was stretched so much by the ideas I encountered in my first four months of grad school, I felt similarly like it couldn't have been just four months! And I've got the conference coming up, and waiting to hear back from a book anthology that is considering my essay proposal (the same Twilight paper as the conference), and then working on my own novel these past couple weeks since school has done - my world is opening up more and more and continuing to blossom. All the possibilities are thrilling, and I want to jump on every one of them, and wish I could be doing twenty things at once.

So thinking about the year in reflection is really amazing, because I had no clue I'd be at this place on the cusp of so much potentiality last December. And five years ago, I couldn't envision any future at all for myself, I was so horribly sick and incapacitated for months on end. At the time, I thought I'd be like that forever, that I'd never be able to hold a job or have any kind of professional career. I feel an awe and wonder about all the things I'm able to participate in now. And I don't mean to be cheesy or sound insincere when I say, and mean it, that I LOVE MY LIFE! Merry Christmas everybody, and a happy New Year.