Routine Haiku

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April Showers 1921

I wrote about a new novel that came to me in a dream the other night (“Spinning Up”). One unmentioned aspect was the newly conceived novel’s cover. I saw it in the dream. The cover felt and looked so real and substantial to me that I was nonplussed. The title, April Showers 1921, was embossed gold letters on a silver cover. It seemed so real that I looked up the title to determine if that book already existed. Without surprise, I found songs, books, and short stories called April Showers, but none had the 1921 addition, and none featured silver and gold covers. I seem safe with it.

I’ve worked on April Showers 1921 some since dreaming about it, fleshing out characters, setting, and writing some scenes, but I didn’t throw myself into it. After two days of that, I wondered, why not? I realized that indecision caused by my greatest weakness, over-analysis, was paralyzing me once again.

It’s a familiar scenario. I overthink something. That drains my resources, and I stop making progress until I resolve what I’m overthinking.

Naturally, this paralysis is all founded on a writing issue, specifically — this time — finding an agent for the Incomplete States series. I think I’ve identified several potential agents. I narrowed my search to one lucky agent. I’ve written a synopsis and query letter. That’s where I stopped.

The Incomplete States series employs several styles. In terms of recent books, it reminds me of Cloud Atlas. My series science-fiction infused, but its mostly literary, except the first novel has a science-fiction military noir feel to it. Fantasy flares strong in another book, while yet another has the sensibility of historic fiction.

Yes, I enjoy genre B&B – bending and blending – whether I’m reading or writing it.

On a side note, the great and all-knowing Internet says, don’t mention any of the rest of the series when seeking representation and publication of the first book.

For grins, I hunted down the rejection records for successful writers. I’ve followed this path before, so it’s very familiar to me.

J.K. Rowling. Her Harry Potter series was rejected twelve times, you know. Dr. Suess was rejected twenty-seven times before he found a publisher willing to take a chance on his Cat in the Hat book. The author of  The Martian, Andy Weir, had given up on being published, but kept writing and self-published. When The Martian found success, publishers came running. Kathryn Stockett, The Help, was rejected over sixty times. Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time, had twenty-six rejections. Catch-22, Joseph Heller, twenty-two rejections. Twenty for William Goldberg, The Lord of the Flies. Carrie, by Stephen King, was rejected thirty times. Pretty amazing was that Still Alice, by Lisa Genova, experienced over one hundred rejections. After she self-published and had success, publishers came calling, and her novel was made into a movie starring Julianne Moore, who won an Oscar for her performance.

There was also Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita, over five times, and Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, rejected one hundred twenty-one times.

Reading about these rejections is invigorating and inspiring. You gotta have hope, optimism, belief, and determination. You gotta keep writing for the love of writing.

Writing about my paralysis cleared matters up and broke the log jam. (I now have a featured image of logs floating through my mind.) I’m ready to submit. (Ha, ha, I love how that can have multiple meanings.) All they can do is say no, right?

The day is full of promise. I got my coffee. Time to submit, and then write and edit like crazy, at least one more time.

The Speed of Time

I’m returning to a favorite topic, the speed of time, because I’ve discovered more about about it.

The speed of time is not universal. As everyone knows, according to the School/Work Principle, time’s speed isn’t constant. When you’re waiting for the school or work day to end, time not only slows, but sometimes goes backward, forcing you to repeat several minutes. Some movies, are like that, too.

Learning of this, the NFL manages to employ this in their football games. The last two minutes of an NFL game often takes as long as most of the rest of the game. My wife can attest to that. She’s endured it. “When are we leaving?” she asks.

“As soon as this game is over.”

“How much is left?”

“Not much.”

That waffling, of course, warns her. “How much time is left?” she asks.

“It’s the last two minutes of the fourth quarter.”

“Okay, I’m going to go bake some cookies.”

Using that as a basis for my research, I confirmed that traffic-jam time drags almost as slow as the final two minutes of an NFL game, or the last ten minutes of work or the school day.  Shopping time remains the slowest of all, though. Even the NFL has not been able to slow time like shopping will do. Figuratively speaking, shopping time can literally last an eternity. I’ve endured several election cycles while I’ve been shopping. I found that having a Fitbit helps deal with shopping time. It doesn’t change the rate of speed, but I can get a couple of million steps in while I’m walking around, waiting.

Waiting in line time is almost as bad as shopping time. I’ve had clothes wear out while I’ve been standing in line to pay for my purchases, especially at Costco. Costco cashier lines exist in a weird time zone of their own where time gets very sluggish. I’ve spent hour-minutes in line, gazing at what others have bought and comparing them to our purchases.

On the other end of it, I’ve discovered some periods of time that pass quickly. Sleep time is very fast. I don’t know how many times I thought, I’ll just sleep for a few more minutes, and then close my eyes, and, snap, forty minutes have elapsed.

Writing time is frequently often as fast. I have three hours to write, I think, and a cuppa coffee. Then I begin, and the next thing I know, writing time is ended, and I still have coffee.

Which is sort of weird. Coffee time by itself seems to flow at an ideal pace. That’s not true for all beverages. I can tell you, beer time goes fast. Sit down to have a beer, and next thing you know, it’s hours later.

The Manual

A new hitch in his giddy-up manifested in his hip when he rose for the morning and stumbled from his bed to his bathroom. Muttering to himself, to which his cat and dog paid no attention, he went about the business of feeding the cat and dog, opening the blinds and checking the weather (looked cold, looked like snow), and made coffee. With the coffee done, he went into the other room with it, turned on his computer, and then pulled his Owner’s Manual from his desk drawer.

“Trouble-shooting,” he said. The book automatically opened to that curled and worn, wine and coffee-stained page that marked the section’s beginning. He expertly flipped the pages, perusing them until he found, “Hip,” “Pain,” and “Stiffness”. Following the instructions, he turned to page one seventy-nine, “Routine Repair for Stiff Hips”. After reading the three paragraphs, he sipped his coffee and smiled.

It was easy enough to fix. He’d do it after he finished his coffee.

Fondly he regarded his Owner’s Manual. Best thing that he’d ever found on the ‘net.

Best twenty dollars ever spent.

The Day

He put his dirty clothes in the recycle and tossed his used tissue in the laundry.

Returning to his study, he reached for his coffee, and remembered, he’d gotten up to get his coffee.

Leaving his study, he realized he put his dirty clothes in the recycle. Getting them out, he found the used tissue in the laundry, blew his nose into it, and threw it in the trash.

Then he fed the cats a few treats and went into his study to read, where he reached for his coffee.

Remembering, he’d gotten up to get his coffee, he laughed at himself. At least he was getting a lot of steps in today. He checked his wrist to look at his Fitbit —

Where did he leave his Fitbit?

Getting up to go find it, he left his study, went to the kitchen, and made a cup of coffee with his Keurig. Satisfied, he returned to his study with his coffee to read, and then checked his wrist to look at his Fitbit —

Where did he leave his Fitbit?

Then, he remembered, he’d put it in his shoe.

Leaving his study, he went into the other room, fed the cats a few treats, and made a cup of coffee.

This was going to take some time. Coffee would definitely help.

Friday’s Theme Music

I was streaming Robert Palmer’s cover of “Give Me the News (Doctor Doctor)” from 1979 this morning as I attended household busy work. Various reasons prompted me to stream it, and it to do with cats and coffee. Go figure. I always enjoy the energy of Palmer’s version, which was much more lovely than the original.

Dipping

I love dipping. Not snuff. No. Tried it once, didn’t like it. I like dipping cookies, doughnuts, and toast into tea, hot chocolate, or chocolate milk, and coffee. I also dip buffalo wings into sauces, and chips and crackers into dips. I’ve dipped things in beer, like pretzels, but I’ve not been impressed with the results. That’s life. And of course, I’ve skinny-dipped. I really liked doing that, especially the time I did it in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sicily.

Some materials are better for dipping into coffee or tea than others. Doughnuts make for damn fine dipping, IMO. Today’s cookie, a gluten-free, vegan, GMO-free, locally baked chocolate ship affair, is a little dry. Not ideal, because that dryness contributes to the dipping drawback. Dipping a cookie into my coffee, I’m aware that some is crumbling into the coffee. This produces a bottom situation called dipping dredge. That’s the soaked stuff that remains when the beverage is almost gone.

I’m not a fan of the dipping dredge. However, I’m not one to leave coffee behind. Thus, all I can do is suck it up.

Literally.

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