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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No Problem

Showered, shaved, and coiffed, the finishing touch was required, the SPF 50 UV A/B blocker that would allow him to enjoy the sunny day while he rode his bike down to have coffee (and maybe a doughnut) with his friends.

But it wasn’t in its proper location among his essential toilet vials and tubes. Probably because he’d put it away in the wrong place yesterday, silly git. Each drawer was opened, searched, and closed, and then again because it must be in one of those drawers and he was just overlooking it.

Or it was on the tray where he keeps his stuff on the counter, knocked over, perhaps, or out of sight behind something else – hard to believe, because that tube is orange and yellow and the rest on there are green, black, or white — except the Trader Joe’s moisturizing shave cream that he uses (which is also an orange tube) — but the little bastard of suntan stuff wasn’t there, where it should be. So he must have carried it off somewhere, yes, probably while feeding the dog, or playing with the dog, or something with the dog, or maybe — did he get interrupted while he was applying it yesterday? There’d been one day when he’d had a phone call — which day? Who’d called? Someone had called. What day had that been?

Christ, he couldn’t remember anything. Maybe, maybe it’d had happened – yesterday? But — maybe he hadn’t used the suntan lotion yesterday. Had he used the suntan lotion yesterday? He didn’t remember, he couldn’t remember. Well, assume that he’d been using it and had gotten interrupted or had carried it off absent-mindedly — because that’s never happened — and put it down in another room, like the utility room – right, because that’s where the dog is fed — or the laundry room – no — or the other bathroom — no — or kitchen – NO.

Christ, had he thrown it away? Maybe he’d thrown it away by accident. Or maybe he’d put it into the freezer or recycled it or — or — whatever the hell people did when they were getting old and losing their mind. Maybe he was getting that thing, what? What’s it called? Alzheimer’s, Alzheimer’s. Was this his Still Alice moment? Maybe this was the onset of dementia — or maybe —

He saw his husband in the office. “You haven’t seen my suntan lotion, have you?”

“Yes, I used it yesterday. I was in a hurry and needed some, but I was out, so I grabbed yours and took it with me, and I left it in the car.” His husband smiled. “I’m sorry.”

He smiled back. “No problem.” Going out to the car, he chuckled at all the things he’d thought while he’d been searching – overreacting – 

Stopping at the car, he paused in thought.

Why the hell was out he out here?

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