Friday, December 4, 2009

Leftovers

December blew in with 60 degree temperatures and 40 mile-an-hour wind gusts. Gotta love New England weather. So, much like the weather, this blog is full of unexpected, changeable tidbits....totally transition free.


World Recorder Holder

I have a colleague now claiming he's the fastest 5-second Button Pusher in the world (at least in the greater Hartford area).

I say claiming only because I have not yet received verification from Guinness Book of World Records, but I have no doubt that his hold on the record is indeed true.

Apparently, if one visits the new science museum in Hartford, one may compete to top the button pushing record (currently a staggering 169 "presses" in 5 seconds). I witnessed my colleague's manual dexterity the other morning as he demonstrated his two-finger "pressing" speed by tapping the top of a student desk. His fingers moved in a blur.

Another colleague has nicknamed him The Hummingbird.


Book Fair

Bacon Academy is holding a book fair fundraiser at Barnes & Noble in Glastonbury from 9AM to 10PM tomorrow (December 5). Just mention Bacon Academy at the regoster and a portion of the purchase goes toward buying books for the school library.

Several staff and students will participate by doing readings, storytelling, etc., and it should prove to be a festive day in honor of promoting literacy.

My good friend, John Stanizzi, will read his poetry at 2PM. He has two published books, Ecstacy Among Ghosts and Sleepwalking (available through antrimhousebooks.com).

I'm slated to read from The Mist at 3PM, then take questions about the whole writing process, landing an agent, trying to get published, etc....

If you're in the area, swing by. Should be a fun time.


Positive Rejection?


I've made it a habit of being rather forthcoming in sharing my experiences in my attempt to get The Mist published and in the hands of readers.

Last Monday, we (meaning my agent and me) received word from an editor from one of the "big" houses. The personal note was mostly positive, but with just enough negative that the editor decided to pass on the book. There are still 9 other houses to hear from, so we're still hopeful that we'll find a home.

In the meantime, I continue to work on the sequel. Hit the 160 page mark earlier this week, and I'm pleased with the progress over the past month. I just wish I could carve out more time to write.


Speaking of World Records


One of my students recently announced to the class that her parents were upset at the number of text messages she had sent from her phone last month.

"Well, how many did you send?" I asked.

"13,000," she responded, matter-of-factly.

"13,000? How is that humanly possibly?" I asked.

The room erupted with a chorus of affirmations and series of head nods. "Oh, it's possible, Mr. A," said one boy.

Lets break this down for a moment, shall we?

13,000 text messages in a month.

On average, that's 430 messages a day.

27 messages an hour for every waking day (assuming 8 hours of sleep).

Wow.

TTYL :)










Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November Plods Along

Welcome to Block

At school we're two days into a trial of A/B block scheduling and my head is swimming with schedule changes, lunch switches, and an overwhelming case of educational vertigo.

This morning I brought my 5th period class to the computer lab to work on their NaNoWriMo pieces and five minutes into class suddenly realized I had signed up for the second half of the 88 minute block, not the first half. I quickly scanned the hallway for what I expected to be an approaching herd of World Language students, a frowning colleague leading the charge waving a French flag as the stampede stormed our pseudo-Bastille. But the coast was clear, and not wanting to disrupt another teacher's careful plans, I reluctantly asked the students to log off and return to the classroom, clearing the way for the rightful group of students.

Back in the classroom, fifteen minutes into shifting to a new but semi-related activity, it suddenly dawned on me that I had looked at the sign-up sheet incorrectly (period 1 instead of period 5) and we were indeed supposed to be using the computer lab at that time. Soooo... I admitted my faux pas and drawing upon my seventeen years of teaching experience skillfully transitioned a way back into using the computer lab.

In other words, we ran like hell down the hallway before the French kids invaded.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)


I'm writing alongside my students for the entire month of November. Unfortunately, I'm a bit behind. Er, um, okay, you got me, I'm very behind.

My goal is to write 50,000 words by midnight November 30.

My current total at (mark) November 10, 8:22PM-- 122 words.

Pitiful.

Wait, can that go toward my word count? Please?


Novel update

I've been receiving Facebook messages and emails asking where things are with the submission of The Mist.

My awesome agent, Jan, submitted the manuscript and marketing plan to ten publishing houses about a month and a half ago and thus far the response has been--









(insert pin drop here)










--well, you get the point.


Is no news good news?


Got me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Teacher Man




I was cleaning what used to be my den when I came across my copy of Frank McCourt'sTeacher Man.

Funny story behind this copy. Years ago, I had a student named Ryan who claimed to know the late Mr. McCourt, said he was a friend of the family and they would all get together on St. Patrick's Day and drink green beer, eat corned beef, etc., 'til the wee hours of the morning. I dismissed it, of course, but Ryan remained adamant that he knew the man.

"Really?" I asked.

"Yeah, Mr. A., I swear to you."

"Okay, how about an autograph? I'm a fan of his writing," I said.

"You got it, A. No problem."

That was Ryan's freshman year, and as the semesters marched by, I would see Ryan in the hallway and shout after him, "So, when am I gonna get that signed copy of 'Tis?"

Ryan would answer with a broad smile. "It's coming, Mr. A., it's coming."

This hallway banter went on and on over the next couple of years, stretching right into Ryan's senior year. Sometime in February, out of the blue, Ryan arrived in my room asking to borrow the copy of Teacher Man resting on my desk. I'm always loaning books out to students, so I didn't think anything of it.

Months passed, and then two days before graduation, Ryan appeared at my doorway once again, hefting a large yellow envelope. His smile stretched even wider than normal, he paraded into the room, plopping the hefty package on my desk.

He folded his arms. "Open it."

I shot a glance at the return address. It was a name scrawled in black ink. An Irish one.

I tore open the edge of the envelope and retrieved my copy of Teacher Man.

Ryan, giddy with excitement, directed me to the title page, and there, written in that same tell-tale black ink as the envelope it read:



Mr. A-
Great Teacher.
You can now stop
bothering the Carlin lad.

Blessings,

Frank McCourt.

Needless to say, I was, and still am, touched by Ryan's gift.



I've pored through Teacher Man a number of times since it fell back into my possession, and though McCourt taught many years before me, I can still relate to much of what he writes.

One of my favorite parts is when he recounts the unwillingness of his students to write in class, and as yet another student approached his desk with a forged excuse note explaining why he didn't have his homework completed, McCourt experienced an epiphany. They won't write at all during or for his class, but they put forth great effort brainstorming new excuses for their forged notes.

McCourt spent class time confronting them with anonymous copies of their forged work. He then suggested that they write excuse notes from the perspective of other people.

He walked to the blackboard and wrote the directions: Write an excuse note from Adam or Eve to God.

The kids ate it up.

Soon, other ideas hit the blackboard. Draft dodgers. Judas. Attila the Hun. Lee Harvey Oswald.

The class buzzed with excitement. It was electric. Motivation seeped through every crack in the ceiling plaster. The students even convinced McCourt to allow them to write excuse notes on behalf of the mean teachers in school.

And then the principal and superintendent arrived at the door.

One would think McCourt got reamed out for his creative shenanigans, but instead the superintendent commended him on his creative lesson idea. He did balk a bit on the excuse note for Al Capone, but in the end, he recognized that McCourt had achieved the most important part of education-- connection with students.

I wonder if in this day and age whether administration would embrace such a lesson. We are, after all, politically correct and would never wish to offend, and our curriculum is aligned to district standards tied to state standards linked to national ones. Is there still a place for creativity and straying from the traditional path?

We have our mission statement guiding our school, the data teams meeting to extrapolate every point relating to our common assessments and benchmarks, reports written and presented and soon replaced by new data-streams of different kids taking more tests to measure and weigh, weigh and measure more data, more numbers, more information.

I'm forgetting something.
That's right.
The students.

Which brings to mind, just how would a school-wide rubric measure an excuse note from Hitler?










Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thank Ford

On the cusp of starting Brave New World.

I'm sitting with a class of 28 sophomores debating the merits of cloning.

One student is confused and thought I meant clowning. For the past five minutes his group had been discussing the ethics of Barnum & Bailey and keeping animals in cages.

I suggest that we could clone clowns for the circus, but that might be comically redundant.

My words are met with a smattering of chuckles and guffaws.

We move on to the caste system.

It suddenly dawns on me that I still don't know all of their names. This is unusual. I have periods 1, 3, 4 & 7 down. Why not period 5? I make a mental note to pick up some memory medicine... Ginkgo? Is that what it's called? Sounds like a tropical fighting fish. In this corner, weighing in at half-an-ounce... Ghengis Ginkgo!

The bell's going to ring. Not for round one of the fish fight, but for the class.

I need something to say for closure.

I need a vacation.

But first, I need to finish grading the summer homework.

I will never again assign journal entries with the directions "minimum of three pages" because some students interpret this to mean: Write 30 pages.

The bell's going to ring.

Wait, didn't I already write that?

I need to get some of that memory medicine...what's it called again?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

School Daze

Year seventeen of teaching.

Is it too early to be done?

I asked a colleague this question yesterday.

He laughed, and replied with a knowing shake of his head, "No, I don't think it's too early to be done."

Everyone looks so tired. Kids, adults, small dogs I encounter driving down lonely back roads on my way in...everyone.

"Just have to get back into the routine," another colleague said.

I suppose. I did it to myself. I'm already behind in grading. The sophomores arrived with six-page papers, summer homework on two books they were asked to read over the summer. I have sixty-three left to do, not that I'm counting or anything. I made the mistake of writing three-page minimum in the directions, and that must have sent the subliminal message that writing more is much better than writing less, hence the one cherub who decided to write THIRTY pages (I kid you not).

That's like adding five more students to my teaching load, I thought as I pored over page seventeen. How depressing.

But the kids are great.

Once the bleariness erodes and the Monster Energy drinks kick in, they come alive, laughing and joking, just being kids. And there's a desire to learn, to know more, to grow as individuals. They may mask this at times, but at those moments when you're able to connect and break through that teenage haze, there's intellect and curiosity behind those faces. I love those Kodak moments when the room grows quiet and everything you say seems to hit every pulsing synapse in their heads. Some of them nod, some smile, and some even take notes.

I love those moments.

Hmm, maybe I'm not quite done after all.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Riding the Jack Rabbit

Roller Coasters. I once rode them avidly, willingly, daringly.


Once.


I find that as I've grown older, activities I once enjoyed and blindly dove into don't hold the same attraction anymore. Take my recent experience with a roller coaster at an amusement park in Rochester, NY. The Jack Rabbit. Sounds innocent enough.


"C'mon Dad! Let's go." My ten-year-old son grabbed my hand and dragged me to the line.
My heart stuck in my throat.
"Ummm, well," I stammered.
"What's wrong, Dad?"
"Nothing, nothing, " I said, reaching for the small of my back. "Just a little sore."
I managed to temporarily weasel my way out of the line, my son riding with a newly made friend.
Watching my son whip through the turns and ride the wooden swells shamed me into taking a turn.
Below is the Blackberry video of my adventure:



video
Editor's note:
1) I was not really scared, the unidentified boy trying to allay my fears was play acting.
2) That is not me screaming like a little girl.
3) The abrubt ending of the video is not related to my blackout spell. The attending EMT assured me of this.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stump Grinding


Brain & Brawn Stump Grinding paid a visit and took care of our huge white pine stump...pulverizing it into a large pile of shavings and mulch. Tomorrow's task involves redistributing the mulch and then spreading a delivery of topsoil to enhance the house's curb appeal.


I find that manual labor offers a much needed break from editing and revising a manuscript. There are parts of the second book I felt tempted to slip into the cracks of the stump. In hindsight I'm glad I didn't do it.

On Friday, I'll meet with my agent and we'll discuss the finishing touches on the submission of book number one. It's been a two-year ride with the manuscript but it finally feels ready. We'll see if any publishing houses agree. We have a web site, blog, book trailer, interview, marketing plan, candid pics of the author, etc. We'll see.

I also need to increase the number of members following this blog.

Difficult to do, I suppose, when you are writing about stumps.

Kind of a catch-22, eh?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sea Glass: Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?

While waiting for the thermal fuse to arrive at the local appliance store, the family prepared to jump in the car and go to the beach. Harkness in Waterford is our favorite haunt. My wife, Beth, made delicious tuna fish sandwiches and my son, Adam, grabbed a box of frozen Capri Sun lemonades.

Upon arrival, we grabbed our chairs, books, towels and trusty beach umbrella and trekked down to the sand. The wind clipped past my ears at a good rate. The usual calm waters of the Sound were peaked with white caps.

One thing I've noticed whenever we go the beach is that we, as a family, generally follow the same routine. I set up the chairs and attempt to drill the umbrella into the sand (which is nearly impossible because the little plastic pointy thing at the end is long gone). Beth and Adam head for the edge of the beach to hunt for sea glass. Beth is really good at finding it. Sometimes I join her and trail along and I may find a few pieces here and there (mostly brown from discarded beer bottles) but she consistently hands me piece after piece to fill my pocket. Yes, it's safe to say that Beth is the Indiana Jones of sea glass hunters.

Sea glass hunting is very popular. There's even an organization with a code of ethics for sea glass hunters. Some glass is even considered valuable. Since littering is now discouraged, it's a bit more difficult to come by. Certain colors come from different sources, some dating back as early as the 1800's. Brown, kelly green, and white are the most common. Some rare ones include purple, gray, teal, black, yellow, red, and orange. Interesting, no?

So, off they went to treasure hunt and I plopped down to read some Douglas Adams.

That's when I noticed the twenty-something couple to my right.

The man stood ankle deep in the water scooping sand and pebbles with a plastic sifter. He then marched over to his female companion and she leaned in to pick through the contents.

I didn't think too much of it at the time. I returned to my book, following Zaphod Beeblebrox into the Total Perspective Vortex. Occasionally the couple would get excited and I would hear little gasps of "oh, that's a nice one" and "go scoop some more."

Beth and Adam continued their quest up and down the beach. On their return trip, they paused a few moments to speak to the sand-sifting couple. The man, checking left, then right, continued stuffing pieces of something into the pocket of his shorts.

As Beth briefly listened to the woman, I could see her face change. Something was wrong. She seemed a bit upset. Beth grabbed Adam's hand and walked crisply to my side.

"You know what they're doing?" she whispered.

"No, what?"

"Sifting for beach glass! The woman said they found over fifty pieces! Look at that guy, he's stuffing his pockets like he's hording gold or something."

"Sifting?" I asked incredulously. "That's cheating. Like steroids in baseball. Or strip mining. Like reading Spark Notes for Gatsby. It's a syndicate. It's the assembly line mentality reaching down and stripping away the last bastion for honest sea glass hunters!"

"Huntresses," Beth corrected.

"Yeah, huntresses."

"I know."

I held my wife close. The wind carrying my words of invective away from the couple.

"Should I say something to them. Do something about it. Break his sifter?"

"No, let's go."

We packed everything and left the beach, defeated, with our meager twelve pieces of sea glass.

But at least it was honest glass.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thermal Fuse or Bust

The morning started out rather well. I made a to-do list with the intention of tackling as many items as humanly possible given my lack of sleep the night before. First on the list: Fold the wash.

As I bounded downstairs I immediately noticed that the dryer was still running from the night before.

How odd, I thought, as I opened the dryer door and reached for an armful of laundry.

How wet.

How cold.

A dryer without heat is like a car without wheels, a martini minus the vodka, or Kurt Vonnegut without a cigarette dangling from his weathered lips.

Not sure those similes work, but I was tired and our dryer is broken.

The last time the dryer broke I called the repairman and it cost me $79 for him to tell me I had a bad circuit breaker (one of the legs in the outlet was not getting power). I remember avoiding his gaze and choking on the knot of embarrassment rising in my throat. I wrote the check mumbling something like oh, yeah, I should've checked that I suppose. I swear I heard him laughing on his way out the door.

This time would be different. No patronizing repairman. No chance of embarrassment. I'll fix it all by myself. My wife will think I'm a hero. My ten-year-old son will see me as a fix-it god.

Where to start?

I drove to the local hardware store and purchased a device to test the outlet. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice... my thoughts were interrupted by the salesman eyeing me over his glasses, "You know how to use that thing, right? Make sure you plug one prong into ground, the other into positive. Don't cross 'em." The only thing missing was the pat on my head on the way out.

Don't cross the streams. I felt like Ray in the Ghostbusters.

I stood in front of the outlet, device in hand. Am I nervous? No, hell, I know what I'm doing. I'm not an idiot. I slowly inserted one end into ground, the other into positive. No little light. I tested the other. Still no light. But the dryer runs, just no heat. Then it dawned on me. The metal probes on the end of the device were too short to reach inside the outlet. I took off the cover and carefully pulled the outlet from the box. I tested it again. Power to both legs.
The problem was in the dryer.

I needed more confidence. I needed moral support. So, I did the only thing a guy can do when he needs an answer. I Googled, of course.

I Googled: Amana dryer no heat. Behold! The answers poured forth from the Internet gods. It was information overload.

I rummaged for half-an-hour to find the necessaey tools (also noting that I needed to add clean garage and carriage shed on my to-do list).

I plugged in the droplight and clicked it alive. The filament blazed and immediately popped. Dead.

I needed to find a bulb.

Fifteen minutes later, new bulb screwed into the droplight, I crouched low and began disassembling the shell of the dryer. I checked the vent. Clear.

I tested the thermostat and dryer element. Then I tested the Thermal Fuse. No continuity. Could this be the culprit?

Back to Google.

Yep, that's it. I felt so confident that I made my solution public to both my wife and son.

"Great, Dad!" his eyes beaming adoringly skyward.

"Honey, I'm so proud of you." Was that a wink?

I left for the appliance store head held high.

Within an hour, I thought, problem solved.

But within ten minutes, I stood back outside the store defeated.

This particular thermal fuse was out of stock.

The rest of this tale is apparently on back order...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Comedy of Errors

Tomorrow afternoon I leave for four days of writing at the Wisdom House located in the Litchfield Hills. I intended on purchasing a new laptop for this occasion, but have thus far failed in my quest. My venture to different stores turned into the proverbial Comedy of Errors.

It seems every model I wanted is out of stock at the moment. I was shooting for something with the new wireless-N, so the HP dv7t with the 17" screen fit the bill, but everywhere I went: Out of stock. It looks like I'll be heading to the "place with the view" lugging my ancient Dell Inspiron 1100. I'm trying to clean it up right now, running the antivirus and deleting old programs. Hopefully, it still has a little horsepower left.

Book Update: I posted the book trailer on YouTube June 20, and have 35 hits so far. Not bad, or is it? I have nothing to gauge it against.

My agent is looking over the manuscript and may have suggestions for some changes, then off to the printer for 40-50 copies of galley paperbacks to send for blurbs/out to publishing houses.

We're getting close. It's a bit unnerving because I feel like it's do or die with the submissions.

I've tried to pump up the pre-marketing platform by soliciting people to join the mailing list on the website, taking out an ad on Google's adwords, begging friends and students to join, etc.

Hey, I'm a starving artist using an antique laptop. I'm not above begging, right?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Book Trailer Posted

How exciting! When I first approcahed Maria about laying down the musical score for The Mist book trailer, I was a bit apprehensive to add to her very busy schedule. But, since she has aspirations to do this sort of work down the road, she graciously accepted the challenge.

The result: Amazing!

The music fits the visual perfectly.

But don't take my word for it, you decide:

http://www.josephanastasio.com/

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

phew...

So, the manuscript of The Mist is now edited. It's polished and ready to submit to various houses (Thank you Jim Griffin, editor). When I look at the original and compare it to the final draft, I'm amazed at the transformation and change in the quality and flow of the prose.

Maria is putting the final touches on the book trailer and I'll be posting it shortly to my web site and on YouTube.

I think I have everything done on the pre-marketing plan checklist. I hand everything off to my fabulous agent on Thursday night, and then the waiting game begins.

When I reflect on the last two years, from winning the PEN Award to now preparing to submit for publication, I can't help but hold mixed emotions. The manuscript has only been submitted to two houses thus far, and both were fairly large ones: Delacorte and Little, Brown & Co., so no shame in rejections there. But the work and waiting, not to mention the money laid out for a professional edit, seriously puts me in a hole. But, I guess it's not about the money and time, is it? We write to write. But somehow, even with that said, it seems like we fail if the book never sees the shelves. As a friend once said to me, "most people talk about one day writing a book, but you've actually gone and done it." He's right, I suppose.

I'm hoping the book will find a home somewhere, and if not, so be it.

My attention now turns to a new novel I'm working on, Cemetery Girl. I recently read the first chapter to a group of parents and students at the William J. Johnston Middle School Literacy Luau.

I felt a bit awkward reading it at a public venue because most of the guest authors read from published works, but in the end, I'm glad I did. It proved to be a good opportunity to let the students know that writers write, revise, and re-write, etc., so as a work in progress, I solicited comments and advice when I finished. The first chapter seemed well-received by the gathered kids and adults. Everyone seemed to laugh at the right places, and say, "Oh, didn't expect that," at the close of the chapter.

We'll see where the characters take me.

Monday, May 4, 2009

On to the Editor

So, I received a call from my agent and she wants the draft of The Mist to go to a professional editor.

There's a mixture of excitement and anxiety with this next step in the process of trying to get published.

I'm excited that things are moving forward, but at the same time, a bit anxious about what the editor might say.

I really haven't touched the manuscript in months, and the thought of rushing it the operating room while Dr. House peers over my shoulder pointing out where to cut, remove, add, splice, etc., is a bit overwhelming.

But as I often tell my students, getting messy with your drafts is part of the business of making it better.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tie your shoes if you can

My son is almost ten and still struggles to tie his shoes.
I blame myself.
In his toddler years his mother and I would purchase Velcro sneakers.
We did this for ease and speed.
We wanted to avoid the messy hassle of knots and the potential danger of tripping on wayward laces, at least that's how we rationalized our decision.
Sort of like fast food clothing.

As he got older, he'd get help tying his shoes once, often triple-knots, then he would simply keep them tied, and slip them on and off.

This method took its toll on the back of the sneaker, often shortening its life.

But the result of taking shortcuts all these years is that my son doesn't really know how to tie his shoes.

The other day I knelt down to show him.
The rabbit goes around the tree and into the hole, etc.
He mimicked what I had done, but with limited success.
We tried again, and this time something clicked inside him.
His third try, better than the second.
He wanted to continue to try, but we were running behind getting to baseball practice.
Seems we're always running behind.

But which came first?
The demands of our fast-paced culture, or buying those Velcro sneakers in order to keep up?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Rejection Arrived

I should be used to it by now. But it still stings. With slightly less than two weeks until they announce the winner of the Delacorte contest my dreaded SASE arrived minutes ago.

Form letter.

Usual spiel.

I suppose I should take solace in the fact that there were more than 600 manuscripts and mine lasted until near the end. I'd love to know why it didn't make the final cut, but they don't tell you.

Back to writing....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Treasure Chest







Patrick and Wayne, two seniors in my English class, have been placing trinkets and baubles in a treasure chest located in my classroom.


At first I simply viewed their covert operation as a means to attract attention or strike up conversations with girls.


But I'm wrong. Dead wrong.



They're on a mission. But their exact purpose still eludes me.



The other day I took a peek inside the treasure chest. Items ranged from a cupcake hermetically sealed in Tupperware to a mummified clementine. There are old graded quizzes, scavenged scraps of student notes, a brown paper bag, and some sort of linear measuring device. There appears to be no pattern or theme to what has been collected.



I closed the chest, sealing the pungent citrus aroma inside.



I carefully placed the treasure chest back atop the bookshelf.



Days from now I'll probably arrive at Bacon and my room will be sealed in strips of tape labeled "Do not cross." Through the window, I will see a workman in a Haz-Mat suit gingerly approaching the treasure chest with large metal tongs. Another worker will clutch a large red plastic bag with the word Bio-Hazard emblazoned on the side.

Trucks from CNN will encircle the building, etc.



Patrick and Wayne assert that the treasure chest poses no health hazard. That in fact their endeavor is school-related and possesses purpose and plan.



For now, I'll take their word for it.



But part of me is afraid.



Very afraid.

Friday, April 3, 2009

update...

No SASE.

But there's always today.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Well, It's Suddenly April

I'm proud of myself for skipping the month of March. I secretly vowed not to post an entry once during the month. You don't know the resolve and fortitude it took to drive me away from the keyboard. I considered having my son hide the keyboard so I wouldn't be tempted to type. It's really my superstitious nature that's kept me away from the blog. You see, if I acknowledge my angst over not hearing about the submission of my manuscript, I'll have condemned it to failure.

Right?

Ignore it and everything will be fine?

Not buying it, eh?

Okay, okay.

Face the fear...

Still no rejection letter in the mailbox.

There. I wrote it. Published it. Now my faithful two followers of this blog will see it (insert shout out to Jake and Hillary here).

Of course, just acknowledging the fact that I haven't received a rejection letter has put the double-whammy on me, so it's just now being delivered.

Wait for it, wait for it. Yep. That's it. The mail lady is driving away now.

The letter is sitting in the black metal box, the one missing the latch on top, as I type this now. It's probably wrinkled. Yes, a wrinkled SASE. Hopefully it has dirt smudged on it too. I like envelopes that have aged or show wear and tear from travel. It's a hell of a trip from New York to Brooklyn, CT.

Yeah...

Can't wait to drive home and pull in the driveway. Take that nonchalant walk to the 'ol mailbox. Squint my eyes and edge the box open.

No worries...

Really...

Anyone wanna get the mail for me?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Been a while

Well, March is around the corner and with it comes that nerve-filled walk to the mailbox every afternoon.

The editors at Delacorte Publishing are weeding through 600 submitted manuscripts and rejection letters are filtering out to would-be published authors as I type. The contest ends in April, so I've got another month of angst and worry.

My attempt to find that groove in writing the sequel still eludes me. I'm considering meditation. I missed out on my chance to purchase a really cool sculpted Buddha at a shop in Mystic this past Tuesday. Yeah, couple that with some incense, prayer mat, maybe a lava lamp, too, I'd be back. I'm sure of it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Leaping Poodles


We have two Standard Poodles, Rocko (Rocco... that's how I spell it, but the vet has it as Rocko) and Rudy. Rocco is a sixteen-month-old white Standard with traces of apricot here and there and Rudy is an eight-month-old black Standard whom we lovingly refer to as "developmentally delayed." I say that because when he came to us a month ago he had been returned to the breeder by a couple who had no doubt left him in a cage all day in some small apartment in Boston.

Rudy doesn't know how to run.

Sounds odd for a dog, but it's true.

He's like a young Forrest Gump trussed in leg braces.

Rocco, son of a Eukanuba champion, majestically trots and breaks into a blurred gallop around the house and bullets into the woods. Rudy, well, he leaps like a white-tailed deer spooked by a passing car. It's rather amusing and sad at the same time. Kind of like a car crash on the freeway. You want to avert your eyes, but you can't.

This past weekend I filmed them outside(one running, the other leaping and twirling). I intended to upload the piece to the blog, but the file is far too large. I felt the need to share it, to let the world see the "leaping Poodle" who's afraid of his own shadow, but has a good heart and an old soul, at least until he starts chewing every stray sock in his path.

We're hoping that Rocco can be the Alpha dog, the pack leader as the Dog Whisperer would say, and teach Rudy to run like we know he can.

These things take time.

Like writing.

Like teaching.

These things take time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

And so it begins....

After two years on the roller coaster that is the world of trying to get a book published, I landed an agent. It's amazing to see the amount of work that has to go into submitting a manuscript to a publisher. An author needs a marketing platform, a web site, a blog (hence the blog), and a book trailer... yeah, a book trailer... all to convince the acquisition and marketing teams that you do indeed have some people that might want to buy your book.

It's exciting though. So on this snowy day I'll be story boarding, adding widgets, learning to input html code... and oh yeah, almost forgot... maybe actually doing some writing. Novel idea, eh?