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.

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Good Things

He admired his pile of shiny copper pennies. All were minted this year, removed from circulation when they found his hand.

Counting his shiny pennies, he made neat little stacks of ten, and then admired the stacks.

Such pennies, so shiny and new, had to mean good luck. He had sixty-four of them. One for each year of his life.

He grinned. Good things were coming his way.

A Rising Dream

When I awoke from this dream, I held the last scenes in my mind’s hands and thought, wow, that was empowering.

Only snippets of dream fragments come to mind now. I remember struggling and coping through a morass of frustration and weariness. I don’t know the specifics of that dream’s chapter, but then I started rising. I grew taller, bigger, and stronger. I knew and felt that in the dream. As I did, I took control, because up where I was, I could see how everything connected, and how the mechanics and leverage worked. Up there, I could tell others where to find answers or how to see things. I kept growing until I was a giant. Then I used my fingers to move and show things, and help others. The last piece was that I, as a giant, was showing a young girl where something fit. By that point, the world appeared to be an enormous periodic table to me and I told her, “Forty across, and eight down.” It was then I woke.

The dream wasn’t a great surprise. Just as I fall into dark airless abysses or find myself in caves or tunnels about every twenty-five or -six days, I find myself rising, too, feeling invincible and empowered. When the dark side comes down on me, I hunker down and endure. I’m grateful when the light side lifts me up, re-igniting my hopes and optimism.

Undeterred

Went out to cut the grass. It started raining. I hustled my equipment into the garage and went into the house. Looking out, I saw the rain stop. The clouds parted and let blazing sunlight through. Went back out to cut the grass. The skies darkened. Drops began falling.

Refusing to be deterred by the weather, I went back into the house, opened a bottle of wine, and poured a glass. Then I went out onto the covered porch and watched the rain-shine show.

See, I wasn’t deterred. I adjusted. When life gives you lemons, open a bottle of wine.

Counting Waves

You know the words. You can write the cliches for me.

Talking about another, you note or say, “Oh, he/she is in one of those moods today.” Curl a little snark into your tone. We joke about women and their cycles, because that’s how many of us were socialized and conditioned. “Women’s cycles” are visible. They’re “emotional and irrational” when it’s “that time of month” or “they’re going through the change.”

Men’s cycles are more often ignored. But we talk about male bosses and spouses and how they seem angrier, more irritated, or conversely, they’re in a great mood. “Maybe now is the time to ask them for ____.” Fill in the blank of what’s been considered and rejected because of their mood, but now, it’s a possibility, because they’re cheerful today.

Or you notice it about yourself, but you don’t know why. You don’t know why you’re sad. You don’t know why you’re happy. You rationalize reasons, develop a logical explanation for why you must feel this way. We think we know ourselves best, but I know myself better. I have large, dark windows that I can’t see in. Monsters are back there….

Everything seems like it’s on a spectrum for me: energy, optimism, dreaming….

I dreamed many times and vividly last night.

I wrote with speed and intensity yesterday. And what I wrote? Honestly, I’m amazed that I’m so talented. What an imagination! I am fucking brilliant.

I’m optimistic, hopeful and cheerful. I look forward to visiting with friends. My body feels great.

I feel like I’m enjoying life more. Food and drinks taste better, and that sunlight, golden on those scattered soft gray and white clouds above the verdant tree filled mountains against an azure sky late yesterday afternoon, wasn’t that the most magnificent, inspiring sight? Did you see that soaring hawk?

But as I dreamed and awoke last night, considered the dreams and returned to sleep, I thought of how alike it was to being on beach at the ocean. Like waves, there’s a pattern to the dreams and the ocean’s movement, and there are high tides and low tides of dreaming. It’s not the first time I’ve thought this and written about it. Even now, it seems like deja vu. I dream; the dreams increase with strength, vividness, and impact as my cycle progresses through its spectrum. I wake up and write about it. Then the dreams peak and begin diminishing.

Ah, yes, you see that, how my mental acuity increases as well? I’m able to observe more clearly and understand myself better. I wonder, are Jeopardy contestants aware of this? Do their personal cycles affect their winning and losing? I really would like to study that, because, you see, I’m almost at the top.

During the rising mental, spiritual and physical energy cycles, I write, and the words come faster, clearer, more quickly and easily, and then I peak. I begin back down. Writing becomes a greater and greater challenge, until, down in the trough, it’s a slog to get to the coffee shop, sit in the chair and focus on the stories being told. My rituals and routines, and the tricks I’ve learned to encourage and engage my inner writer help them. But the stuff I write. Oh, God, help me, please. How could I ever believe I had any skills? I’m worthless, less than zero, with the creativity and talent of a gnat’s ass.

I know this week’s optimism and cheerfulness will crest. I will begin a slow descent into gloom. I will crave isolation. Small irritations are imagined to be major insults. I become a more aggressive driver, and a more bitter person. I’ll hunger for and reward myself with the junk foods, desserts and fried foods that I deny myself when I’m ‘up.’ Then I’ll bottom out, silent, weary, angry, self-loathing, and begin to arise back from the depths. I drink coffee but derive little energy from it. Even reading sucks. My needs and responses are wildest at the bottom. I’m more emotional, needier. I want to shop and buy new things, as a salve for how terribly I’m suffering, but I want to do it without others bothering me.

I know, too, how my cycles affect my world perceptions. When I’m rising, I’m more open. I post and comment more. More cheerful, I have greater self-confidence. When I’m in the pit, I disappear. I don’t check Facebook and don’t post, because it’s all the same jokes, I tell myself, the same crap, the same garbage from the same people, and the news? When I finally bottom out, I have a sense that the world is a terrible place of killing and brutality, our leaders are shits, and we, the common, the less than 1%, have no chance. I am resentful and hostile.

Being in the depths is miserable. I feel lifeless, a sawdust man, without purpose, direction or hope. Down in the trough, it’s hard to see my way through an hour. Food tastes terrible, and taxes are way too high. Everything costs too much then, and it’s all junk.

I wonder, how many people kill one another or themselves because they’ve descended into their pit. How many cops are more fearful and frightened, more ready to kill because of their state? How many others are more willing to take up a knife or gun and seek vengeance and make others pay because of where they are in their cycles and spectrums?

Now, climbing toward the peak, I’m on top of the world. The view is magnificent, and I believe that we can work together, change the world, and solve all the problems.

We just need to hurry, before I start down again.

 

 

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