Sunday, December 31, 2006
As we approach the start of the new year, I would like to discuss bravery.
You see, I have never considered myself a brave person. Everything scares me (especially horror movies. Like really. I seriously cannot watch anything remotely horror like, not even horror parodies). And as the new year looms over me with more potential than probably any new year I have had looming before now. I'm frightened.
You see I am comfortable with feeling frustrated that things aren't going as well as I would like. And I am used to the fear of never living up to what I think I could be. But this whole new fear, the fear of losing something really great, dude so not comfortable with that one. I'm frightened of it all somehow vanishing. Of unforeseen bad things happening. Of failure after the promise of success.
And I think we all have some sort of similar feelings when facing a whole new year. We look at it and sigh. It all just seems so daunting, the whole year stretched out like that as a blank canvas. And then. Well then we do something really, I think, extraordinary with the thought of "What's going to happen this year", or all those nagging concerns of what we didn't accomplished this year and have yet to do.
We face them head on.
Instead of dwelling on them, we turn it around and make resolutions. It may be a cheesy tradition for some, but think about it for a second.
Personally, I think it is a mighty impressive thing, New Year's Eve. It makes us in our very cynical existence extremely brave. We choose, if only for this one night, to soldier on. For a brief moment we just face the void with our chins held high, we acknowledge the void's existence instead of ignoring it as we tend to the rest of the time. We examine our lives, and resolve to do better. For one night only. "Yes ladies and gents, for one night only! See the typically skeptical masses believe in something - hope."
And this is a pretty darn special thing.
To everyone I wish you a very happy New Year's celebration, however relaxed or extravagant (my preference has always been to rent movies and hang out with my friends).
Then I will wish you a very happy year.
And if not a happy year, well then, keep up the standard you have set for yourself tonight, and make it, at least, a brave one.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
So I have been waiting to announce my American book deal until my agent told me it was safe to do so. La la la, waiting waiting. Hmm . . . maybe I'll google my name, as one does, to pass the time.
It seems, my friends, I've missed my chance to give you guys the scoop as, well, I'm everywhere. Okay so I'm not going to be replacing news on Brangelina any time soon, but it is rather shocking I don't mind saying, when suddenly you find your name circulating all over the internet.
So let me be the last to let you know that I, Adrienne Kress, have indeed signed a deal with The Weinstein Company to publish my book (and sequel). If the name sounds slightly familiar, it's because they are the same Weinsteins who used to run Miramax. They left, and have since just started this new company, which of course involves films as well (that Dixie Chicks documentary - Shut up and Sing, is one of theirs, it's really good). I will be published in their first list with around a dozen other titles. And it's all rather exciting.
I am thoroughly enjoying my fifteen minutes of fame, I don't mind telling you. Even better is that I am written about in websites that I visit with some frequency, being a film buff. My favourite is Empire Online. I am a huge fan of their magazine, when I was living in England I would buy it monthly, and they update their site daily with film news. So check out what they have to say about ME (the link function for some reason, and only for this one, isn't working so cut and paste it into your broswer): www.empireonline.com/news/story.asp?NID=20124
Yes it is slightly cynical, but I really don't mind. One of my favourite things about Empire is how much personality they put into their articles, so it makes me feel super special that they have an opinion about me at all. Besides, they have given me an excellent idea for one of my novels, something really gory involving puppies and tea. That was intended to be a joke just now, but suddenly I am thinking I might actually do it!
However my favourite article online, the one that is the most accurate about me and the book is this one: http://news.awn.com/index.php?ltype=top&newsitem_no=18661
That brings me to another topic. How weird is it that already there is misinformation floating about there about me! I think it is so cool. It's like I'm a real celebrity. I mean not that there is anything really untrue about me, just tiny little things that only I would care about and as such I don't feel like I need to point them out here.
So there you go. That's the news. Google my name "Adrienne Kress" if you care to see some of the articles. You'll basically find yourself reading the same three paragraphs over and over, and I guess if you aren't me, you won't find it that exciting. But if you are at work for example, and really bored, why not!
Insane. This is all so insane!!
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Now I wait.
What do I wait for? I'm . . . not . . . sure.
That's the thing about 'baby's first book'. I have no idea what comes next. Okay, I have certain expectations. I know that eventually a copy editor will get involved. I'll be sent galley proofs, and a cover should come up, and sometime I'm guessing I'll write my thanks yous. But I don't know when. I don't know how. I don't know if I will be editing my book all over again like I just did because it isn't up to scratch. I have been given little to no timeline except to expect my book to be released in the fall of 2007.
It's kind of exciting really, a bit of a mystery. And even though there has been a lot of stress and everything, I am trying to relish this feeling as much as possible. Because you can't do 'baby's first book' twice. And right now, the anticipation, the question "how is that bit done", all of it, makes the journey itself just as much fun as I expect seeing the finished product will be.
So, now I wait for the next step.
I wonder what it will be?
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I now have Part 2 of my plan.
I am going to become a very famous children's book author and for some reason, Mr. Stewart will find this impressive and invite me on his show.
Now this is not going to be easy. For one thing it depends a lot on luck. And for another I am slowly learning that in order to be famous, the best and easiest way to become so is to already be famous.
Case in point.
I was sent a questionnaire by the publicity department of my publishers. This was a lot of fun to fill out and served as an excellent procrastination tool from doing my edits. And because I am Canadian I think I offered quite a few excellent suggestions by way of media outlets and contests they might not have otherwise have thought of. But the one section that I just could not fill in was the one where they asked if I had any personal connections with anyone of any standing in the industry, you know, cause it would be really useful if like Oprah was my cousin or something. But she isn't. And I don't think meeting Guy Gavriel Kay once really counts as a connection either. And then I thought about how wonderful it would be to have such connections. And in my head I saw all these doors flying open and it was beautiful. And then I was sad.
(However on the plus side as I am also an actor I have some wonderful headshots that many authors do not normally have at their disposal.)
So that's my point. Fame is a vast mountain I must climb alone (yes that's my point, and don't tell me it isn't because it is! All this time I have been thinking to myself that fame is a vast mountain which I must climb alone okay?!) I will pursue the glory that is the Daily Show, but it will be a struggle. An uphill battle filled with many pitfalls and setbacks, scars and wounds, cold winds and billy goats. But it will be all worth it I know.
Because Jon Stewart's cute.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I am not a good decision maker. I have to make them, and do make them, but it takes me forever and I always worry I've made the wrong choice. This, I suppose, is pretty standard.
So this brings me to editing, which is what I have been doing for several weeks now, and why I've been remiss in posting. I've always edited things. I was in university for 4 years, had my parents go over every essay I ever wrote, and had to edit non-stop. I am quite familiar with the process. Or at least I thought I was. But man, I forgot that the one major difference (and this applies specifically to me, I know it is not across the board), is that I never cared what changes were suggested for my essays. I just wanted to get them over with. But my book, my lovely little book, well I care. I care deeply. And so every time I come across a note or edit in my manuscript from my darling editor, my chest contracts and I have to sit there and make a very difficult decision. Am I being precious? Is she right, should this just go? Or am I going to put my foot down, and not do what she is suggesting? The latter decision of course results in guilt and fear that, I, being extremely new to this business, am making a terrible mistake. So every couple of minutes I am faced with this dilemma. It's draining. Very very draining.
Most of the edits I've done, though painful at the time, have been easily forgotten about since. But I do have some regrets as well. And now as I approach the finish line of my editing, I am worried I should go back and change certain things again. So yet another decision to make.
And the conclusion of all this is. . .
Being a writer is stressful. This may seem like an obvious discovery, but it is a new one for me. I want to just relax, but I know even after this edit is done, that probably won't be the end of it. Not only that, but when I think of the finish line (Fall 2007 sometime), I also realize that by the time it rolls around I will have written another book (due in June to my editor), and probably be in the thick of editing that one at the time.
I know, I know, there are worse jobs, and worse problems. And worse decisions. I'm really okay with it, really. Just wanted to point out that even though it seems like a pretty sweet deal, sitting at home, creating your own work schedule, it's still kinda tough. Perhaps you already knew this, but man, major surprise here for me!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Man. I'm really sad.
Monday, November 20, 2006
So on Sunday the lovely Lesley who played the equally lovely Lady Macbeth in the show I just did (so lovely was she that even dressed head to toe in brown velour she got wolf whistles from an excited teenager in the audience) invited me along to I guess a get together/reading thing by Guy Gavriel Kay, the quite prolific writer of historical fantasy, and a fellow canuck.
He read from his new book Ysabel, which comes out I believe in January, which was super cool. Yes I am sure he'll use the quote "super cool" as one of his blurbs. So you all must go buy the book when it comes out. Again, not like he needs my endorsement.
I also got the opportunity to meet many interesting people involved in the writing industry, and I have discovered something. Networking? It isn't all that difficult. Especially when the people you are talking with are very nice, funny and interesting. And really it just feels like talking until you are handed a business card (note to self, make more business cards). I always assumed it was something I would never be able to handle, but I totally forgot how much I love meeting new people, and that's all it really is. The trickiest thing is I guess knowing where to go, and getting the invite. But once you're in, not so bad. Also it helps to have someone giving you the best introductions ever over and over again. So yes, many a hearty thanks to Lesley for the invite and the support. And thanks also to everyone I met and chatted with. I had a truly lovely time.
(PS: Very very very sad that Macbeth is finished. I hate it when a show comes down. Sigh)
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Ladies and gents, I think I must have been Napoleon in another life.
Not because I am short (which I'm not really, quite average, 5'6 - my grandmother tells me this is the perfect height because I can wear heels with a man and not be taller than him), nor is it because I am male. And I am also not French (though I can speak it okay).
No it's because I am slowly conquering Europe.
Yes my friends my book is now going to be published in Germany! Ha ha!
Watch out world! I'm coming for you!
Sunday, November 12, 2006
I thought that while things behind the scenes got themselves figured out in the book end of my life, that we should visit ever so briefly the other extremely important . . . book end of my life. That whole acting thing.
As I announced a few weeks back I was cast as "Third Witch" in a production of Macbeth. Well we opened last week (a two week run, two shows a day), and I just wanted to let everyone know just how lovely it has been. Acting is a really great job, and it is understandable why it takes so much effort to be a professional, because the doing of the job itself is so unbelievably fun!
First there's the acting itself. Getting to say some wonderful words that just roll off the tongue (I'm the witch that gets to say, "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes"), getting to wear fun and funky costumes, and getting to simply play. But then there are all the other things. The backstage antics, the onstage inside jokes, the unexpected audience responses. The amazingness of seeing MacDuff's kilt fall off just before having to announce "Let all our trumpets speak!" (It happened folks, it happened. In front of high school students). Then there is the post theatre-ness, ie the Pub.
Yes acting is wonderful. I don't mean to minimalise the work put into it. I mean rehearsals go long, and running two shows back to back with only an hour break is exhausting. And of course there is the physical act of performing the stage combat. Let's also not forget the mental pain of not being able to understand a directorial note no matter how hard you try, or feeling like the world's worst actor. But I think it is important to point out how swell acting is most of the time. Because it really is.
I love it so much. And I am going to be so sad when this show is over on Friday. Sigh. Ah well, there will be others. Onwards, and upwards!
Friday, October 27, 2006
"Highlights included a substantial pre-empt from the Italians for new children's author Adrienne Kress's Alex and the Ironic Gentleman and a heated Greek auction which started at the fair and concluded the following week with a record breaking advance for three books - the largest the agency has ever had in this territory."
Check it out at the website itself: www.darleyanderson.com (click on the news section, I'm after Martina Cole in the Frankfurt article)
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
All right. The secret to getting published . . . Okay so I lied a bit. Just a bit. I don't have any magic formula to getting published, aside from write a good book. But I do have some advice in the process of getting either an agent or a publisher.
Something that I find that isn't addressed all that often about this process is the sheer mental will power it takes to send out those queries once you are absolutely ready to take that step. It seems a daunting task. Who do I send things to and how many people do I send things to and what kind of stamps do I use and do I need a label and and and . . . and then you can sit there, paralyzed, and all this before you even consider the possibility of rejection. So I say, take your time. Don't assign one day to get all this organized. Make a schedule.
Start by perfecting your query. This may sound obvious, still I'm just pointing it out anyway. But here's the thing, don't take forever on this. Yes it takes some time, but I find many authors use the perfecting of a query as an excuse not to face sending it out to agents/publishers. Take your time, but also give yourself a time line. Work bloody hard in the time you've been allotted, but view it as an assignment for school.
Okay, once the query is all set, start your research. Now depending on your history, you may already know which agents you want to send things to, you may have met some at writing conferences, or you could be like I was: have no idea at all about who the agents are, and who even are considered the top ones. If the latter is the case (but really it's a worthwhile investment in any circumstance) buy the requisite book, there is one in every country. In England, the Writer's and Artist's Yearbook is very good, offering not only a listing of agencies and publishers, but articles and advice from industry professionals (probably much more reliable advice than from yours truly). Find which agents represent your work. Find what their requirements are. And find out to whom you should address your query.
The latter can be done by either researching online (most every agency these days has a website), or even a phone call. AH! Not a phone call, you should never call an agent!! Dude, relax. A quick phone call to ask the receptionist to whom you should address the query is not offensive. You don't have to say why or who you are, and quite frankly they won't care anyway.
Try something like: "Hi, yes. I was calling to inquire to whom I should address my query for my (fantasy/children's/mystery) novel."
They may say they aren't accepting any new submissions.
"Oh okay, thank you very much for your time."
They may tell you.
"Thank you very much."
Whatever it is, say as little as possible, be as polite and as expedient as possible, and ta-da! Done and done.
The question of how many agents to send to is one that is answered differently by many. I say quite a few, but not every single one in the book. Choose wisely, but remember that while the big agencies are famous and have success on their side, the smaller ones may be able to focus on you and give you more attention. So choose from both lists, and send, I dunno, ten queries let's say. You want to save some agents so if you are rejected across the board you can re-visit your query, make some changes if you feel it necessary and send it off to ten more agents. There are a lot of websites available to double check that the agencies you are sending to are legitimate. Remember while there are a few legitimate agencies that charge a reading fee, this is typically to be considered to be a warning sign. And there are those 'agencies' out there who recommend an editing service for a fee before they'll look at your work. Don't do it. Use common sense people! Check out Predators and Editors, as well as AgentQuery.com, for way more info on the subject.
Now this is my advice for a schedule. And of course this all depends on your free time, which as an actor I have plenty of, but you as a real working person may not so much. You may also have a family to take care of. But my advice is to take a full day (maybe two) on research. Buy the book. Go on the net. Choose your agents. You may think this is a short time frame, but work fills the time allotted and, like the query, you could research forever.
You'll need to print off your letters. Now depending where you are you may also be sending off the first three chapters as well (this is more common in the UK). It depends of course on your setup at home, but because of all the pages that needed to be printed I went to a print place and spent the money for them to do it (when I say print place I mean something like Kinko’s or Kall Kwik in the UK) If you choose to do this, give yourself a day for it. Purchase stamps and envelopes today as well once you are done printing because now you can put a sample package together and get a sense of the weight. Remember that you may be sending more weight than usual, so factor in a bit of time to calculate such things at the post office. Have fun with this though, go print stuff, then go to Starbucks or something for a tall chai latte, then go to the post office. As Douglas Adams taught us: DON'T PANIC.
Then give yourself one final day. On this day make the phone calls to the few agents you don't have the names for. Address your snail mail. Write the emails. And stuff envelopes. And then you are done!
Well, don't forget to send the stuff off.
Remember this is just a template. But what I am trying to do is break down the act of querying into manageable bits for you. Once you are taking things one step at a time, the task seems far less daunting. Trust me, I am the sort of person who starts to cry when I see how overwhelming the task is ahead of me. Once I had perfected my query etc, it took me a full week to send all the stuff off (and I mean a full week of preparations - though I did have an amazing audition for the Edward Albee as well).
So there you go. I can't guarantee you will get published or an agent. But I can definitely guarantee you will NEVER get published or an agent if you don't send your stuff out.
And the fewer things standing in your way, I think, the better.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
I've had a lot of conversations with friends and random people about writing to be published these days. This time last year I was very much not the expert on any of this, and now, well now I find myself immersed in a strange wonderful brave new world. And I love every second of it.
Now of course I am no expert. Though I am quickly learning 'the ways', I have been at this game under a year, and there are far more experienced authors out there than yours truly. All I can speak of is personal experience and quote the plethora of blogs and articles available on the world wide web. But I thought I would share some of my thoughts on writing and on trying to get published. Read or don't read, and remember always regard anything you find on the internet with a degree of suspicion. Okay. Now . . .
There is a saying out there, somewhere, by someone probably really smart, that I can't find exactly, so I'm going to have to wing it here, that goes something like, "The difference between a published author and not is perseverance." I believe this goes with almost every art form, visual, performance, etc. And this is what makes all the difference.
Having become an author most unexpectedly, the thing that surprised me most was how many people were genuinely interested in writing a book. Now I'm not talking of that age old, "Oh you write, I was thinking of writing a book myself." But good friends, or people I respect, who genuinely are interested in pursuing the art form. Some of them want to be authors in much the same way I had (and still do - I have not given up on the dream yet my friends) always wanted to be an actor. Seeing new authors being published hurt, because they wanted to be one of those. And so of course they asked me how I did it.
Uh . . .
Aside from the mechanics (which you can read further down this blog) I said, I wrote. I had never before completed a novel (somewhere deep in the bowels of my computer is a 140 page single spaced un-spellchecked pirate opus I wrote as a teenager and still lacks an ending), but something this time spurred me on. Whether it was the story, the characters or the sudden silly thought, "Maybe I could be published", it's hard to tell. But I became intensely devoted to the writing of it. When people asked me what was new, I told them about a chapter I had just finished. When I knew I was going to busy with a play in the fall, I made a point of writing two pages single spaced a day during the summer.
And so I tell people write. But don't just write when the muse strikes you and you are inspired and excited and can't stop your fingers flying over the keyboard, write also when you can't bear the thought of looking at a computer screen. Write when all you want to do is cry. And write when you think you absolutely suck at it. Follow a schedule. I try to be as romantic as possible. I think about what a "real" writer would look like working and try to emulate that. So I have created this little nook with a corner desk and little doo-dads scattered about that inspire my story. I have also recommended writing an hour before work. That is to say waking up an hour earlier than you normally do, and writing. An hour, one little hour, does not make a massive difference in the scheme of things. Doing something before the day really begins means that at the end of the day, if something comes up, someone wants to go for drinks, you want to be spontaneous and see a movie or are just exhausted, you can do these things, because you have already taken care of the writing. It isn't hovering over you, a weight of yet one more thing to do.
If you want to write a book, start today. Like going on a diet, or starting to exercise, don't wait for the next week to start because if you miss Monday then you'll have to wait yet one more week. Start on a Thursday. Start now. And then continue. I was watching some daytime talk show where they had some expert on that said you had to do something 21 times before it became a habit. I don't know if that's accurate, but why not try? Write for 3 weeks straight. Just do. When you are happy, and when you are miserable, write. It's a job, it's not always going to be fun.
The message is a bit repetitive I confess. And it isn't all that relevatory. But it is the truth. And it works.
Next time: How to get published (yes I am going to reveal the secret! - okay, I mean not really, but I have a bit of advice that I think may be useful, I dunno . . .)
Friday, October 13, 2006
Monday, October 09, 2006
When I spoke of the process of acquiring an agent I neglected to point out that I was in the company quite often of another Adrian. How I could have forgotten to put him in boggles the mind. He was there the day I printed up the manuscript to be sent that first time to Julia. And he was there in the pub where I shared my fears of rejection. And he was one of the first ones informed of any and all updates. So . . .
Darling other Adrian, please accept my humblest apologies. It shall never happen again. Okay it may happen again. Probably will happen again. But I shall always put it right.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Yes, ladies and gents, the temping actress who also writes's wonderful agent Julia, and Julia's equally wonderful co-worker Emma, have sold my book to a publishing house in Italy. Who knew I had this special bond with the Italians? (though I suppose my old housemate Caterina, could have testified to that) Well at any rate, my book, my little book, which may I remind you I wrote on this little laptop in my little house to pass a little time, is going to be translated into a different language - a language I do not speak one bit, in a country I adore, but that is completely foreign to me.
And like, I mean, dude. What could be crazier than that?
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Okay okay okay, perhaps I am jumping on this bandwagon slightly late (though I have been well aware of its existence ages before it was making headline news, so there, ha!). But I was talking with a friend, she had just seen the film, and we were joking about it. We thought it would be really funny if in the credits it had said something like:
"Snakes on a Plane, based on the novel by Arthur H. Hipple" or something to that effect, like the film was based on a classic novel of yore. Yes, yore.
Then I said: "I should totally write the first chapter of that!"
And she said: "You totally should!"
So I totally did.
So here, with apologies to fans who have actually seen the film (I am scared of snakes, deal with it), as well as to New Line and Alliance Atlantis and anyone who may own the rights - if I offend or am infringing on any copyrights, please let me know, I'm pretty easy going, I present to you:
Snakes on a Plane
Chapter the First
That his life was in danger was of little doubt. T'would have been foolish not to have thought so. Though his life had never been one of the most blessed, Sean Jones had his suspicions he had never been in quite so a precarious position as he was presently. It was perhaps the two men who stalked him, minded him, guided him, all in his best interest he was told, that exacerbated the situation. He was still alive, he told himself. Nay, he could not convince himself of such a trick. His heart was beating, fast to be sure, but he was not 'alive'. Merely not dead.
Honolulu was a searing place on the best of days. That morning had come on fiercely and with a determined heat, evaporating the sweat of his brow. To this he was grateful, he did not wish to betray the deep hollow fear that had settled firmly in his lower half. Especially not to the man who had introduced himself as, "Neville Flynn". A man who's sweat poured out ice cold, a man who's quiet confidence only seemed to aggravate the people around him, a man who could make a lei look good.
Sean Jones boarded the craft and a wave of relief washed over him. He was not content, but he was safer than he had been since he'd first witnessed that crime. The villain himself, Eddie Kim, was nowhere to be seen, and should any of his men be aboard, well, Sean felt a strong confidence in his keepers. For the first time in a very long time, Sean Jones closed his eyes.
He was correct in his assumption. Neither Kim, nor any of his men were on this flight, this Pacific Air Flight 121. The usual contingent of stewards and stewardesses, more commonly in this day and age referred to as flight attendants, were of course on the plane however; as were a variety of passengers ranging from a mother with her two sons, a well to do young woman with the name of a popular motor car, a newly married couple and, as was so often the case, a kickboxer. Yes together with Sean and his two protectors, this motley crew eased themselves into their seats in preparation for take off. And none of them guessed, nor remotely suspected, that deep below them, in the bowels of this flying god of the sky, was a crate that Kim had carefully orchestrated be placed on the plane. Why should they have? Who thinks of doing such a thing? Only a man like Kim, a man with a heart of pure dripping evil would have thought of doing such a thing, of releasing, at a careful moment of timed precision such cruel beasts onto a craft soaring thousands of feet above the spinning earth.
Oh, my friends, how I fear for our dear defenseless passengers! How I fear for our witness, darling Sean and his protector, the icy Neville Flynn. Oh, my friends, what on earth will they do, our dear motley crew, in an hour or two, with these Snakes on a Plane?
Thank you, thank you.
PS: I'll get back to the title talk tomorrow, thanks Northern Creative for the help so far!
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
While I wait on my edits from my editor and as such more fodder for this blog, I am going to ask my limited readership for some advice:
What are some of your favourite titles?
If you are a writer, how do you come up with your titles?
This may or may not have to do with the fact that I don't actually have a name for my brilliant opus, and I am going a bit insane trying to think of one. So I thought I would steal from ya'll.
Friday, August 25, 2006
How does one hunt a publisher?
Cue jungle music. I envision myself as some clueless north american tourist asking a local guide for help hunting through treacherous jungle. The guide is suspicious, but once I prove my worth to her, she agrees to take me, so long as I provide the proper equipment. And so now I will picture Julia, in a pith helmet and khaki shorts, leading me through the brush.
And I could continue with this analogy for this entire post because I have no concrete facts to share. The fact of the matter is, when it comes to hunting publishers, well I don't have a clue how it's done. I just stayed in the lodge and drank hot chocolate.
You see the joy of a literary agent is that she knows what she's doing. She knows what to do, who to submit to and what needs to be submitted. She's a smart lady. And so Julia submitted my MS to half a dozen or so publishers. And yes there was some rejection, but I have to say I wasn't too concerned with it. Partly it had to do with my faith in my wonderful agent, and partly because as an actor I had faced so much rejection that I've just stopped taking it personally. Possibly every author should try acting for a year to get accustomed to it. The great thing to me about writing is that, right away, you are being judged on your talent and not something superficial like your appearance (trust me, it is so infuriating being judged simply on one photograph. Have you ever tried to choose the perfect headshot (actually many of you probably have)? It's one of the most stressful decisions. You can't show all the complexities that is you in one single shot. Smile, not smile. Black and white, colour. Hair up, down. Sexy, pretty, cute? All this in one picture that casting directors glance at for less than a second. For only an audition! But I digress.) At any rate, even something as simple as a query letter is akin to that first audition. In fact it's better. In an audition, you can have prepared and prepared, but something within the moment can happen. The director/casting director can yawn during your speech, you could forget your lines. You might be having a bad hair day. But you can devote as much focus and preparation on a query letter, and it will always be the same query letter - the one you wrote at home is the same one the agent/editor receives. Anyway. My point is, I'm used to rejection.
But then suddenly there was interest. And I was in a taxi driving to meet Publisher XYZ. And suddenly I was in a board room sitting around with some lovely individuals talking about . . . my book. My book. The one that I wrote on my laptop in front of the television, or at work, my little book. Talking about plans, about how it might look, about all those things you fantasize about having conversations over. Ooh, and eating brownies.
It was amazing. It was fun!
And then came the offer. And then came the contract. Later on when I feel like I'm allowed to give more details I will tell the story of Publisher XYZ's offer. It's a nice story. And there is a picture to accompany it.
And 4 weeks after signing with my agency I had a book deal. A two book deal!
And it was glorious.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Let us all revel in the glory that is now:
THE TEMP, THE ACTRESS and . . . THE WRITER!!
Sunday, August 20, 2006
When we last left our temping actress she was waiting to hear from the lovely Julia from the Darley Anderson agency after having sent her the full MS of her novel.
How long was the wait . . ?
Well I let it go 8 weeks. I counted every one, like a prisoner scratching marks on a wall. Hmm . . . that's a bit melodramatic. Then on the advice of a friend of a friend, a published children's book author, I called to give a gentle nudge, or really just to find out what was going on.
It was possibly one of the most terrifying phone calls I've ever had to make. It actually wound up being pretty civilized. Once I recited my prepared speech (courtesy of the friend of a friend), I was told that Julia would get back to me. That was good enough for me. It wasn't a no, and that's all that mattered. Later that day I got a very friendly email where it turned out that Julia had been quite busy and hadn't finished reading the MS yet, and she would let me know once she had. Thus the waiting began again.
I didn't know it then, but I had only to wait a few days before she called. I could be mistaken, but I believe one of my housemates answered the phone in a silly voice that time. Ah, well. Whatcha gonna do?
Anyway, she liked the book. But? No but. She liked the characters, and the story. But? No, seriously, no but. And wasn't such and such bit really funny. But? But? Oh okay but. But could you cut it by like 10 000 words. Sure, sure, no problem that's only like . . . 26 pages!!! She also asked to shorten the chapters and to create more momentum for the second section. And I in my, Adrienne is an actress and therefore never sounds worried about such requests, replied coolly that that would be more than easy to do.
Hang up phone. It's okay. It's okay. I can do this. I can.
So I decided to give myself a deadline of two weeks. I told mom and dad about the challenge, and we chatted about it. I was pretty determined not to cut any scenes, simply words within scenes. Enter: the focus group.
The Focus Group
A family of three, friends of my parents with a daughter aged 10, the perfect age for my book. They had been given my MS to read, so that I could have the opinion of a real-live kid. This was far more terrifying than even having it in the hands of an agent. I was worried that the book worked for adults, but would its target audience approve? However they proved far more helpful than I had any right to expect. Not only did the daughter enjoy the book (mom read it aloud to her before bed), but both mom and daughter had some absolutely brilliant suggestions, some just general editing comments and others specifically for cutting down the word count. With that help, plus mom and dad, plus me sitting at my computer in front of random reality shows on TV, we cut the piece down.
At first it was easy. A paragraph here, a paragraph there. Then it began to get tricky. I'm not sure if you've noticed, what with my penchant for brackets, but I like to digress in my narrative. At times it's pointless, but it is also a stylistic choice, something that makes the story what it is, and it got tricky determining which asides should go, and which should stay. I fought valiantly for many of them. And many of them stayed. And some were sacrificed to the gods of the delete key. By the end of the two weeks I was cutting single words within sentences. But I did it. I cut 10 000 words. And the funny thing was, upon re-reading the novel (and my parents whole-heartedly agreed with this), you couldn't actually tell what had been cut. Yes. I am just that long-winded.
So the week before the Easter holiday, in a downpour, I walked the new MS over to the agency again. What the girl who answered the door must have thought of this sad looking person presenting her MS protected from the rain by a plastic bag, is her story to tell. But she took it, and I turned around and returned to whence I'd come.
That Friday Julia called. Again a housemate answered, but this time a much more civilized one, and no silly voices were invoked. She wanted to meet with me.
Sure (begin silent screaming and flailing arms in the direction of housemates [and one housemate's friend]), when?
How about Saturday?
Hang up phone.
Begin real screaming.
So I met with Julia around 6pm on the Saturday. And wound up hanging out with the girl for 5 HOURS. We chatted about the book, about some more edits she wanted done. About our families. And about one topic I have been obsessing over lately, the job of an agent and all the wacky stuff that happens. I love talking about that stuff. After much chatting I finally had to ask: "After I do all these edits and stuff, I mean . . . um . . . well what happens next?" It was then that she finally told me she wanted to represent me. It was then that she also told me she liked to wait to see when the author would ask that question. Oh those wacky agents.
At 11pm we parted ways and I immediately called mom and dad. I was taking the tube but fortunately my route was above ground. I talked to them the whole journey home (my dad has recently become obsessed with google maps where you can see the satellite view of the world, so he followed my route online - in case you forgot, they were in Canada, I was in London). We were very excited. They, possibly, were slightly more excited. That isn't to diminish my excitement, but merely to try to express just how excited my parents get about these sorts of things.
I still had to complete some edits, but I did it and finally, FINALLY, I signed the contract. I visited the agency for a third time, and this time, this time, I was let through the door. And I have to say, I love Julia's office. It's this cozy room with poorly constructed shelving that sag under the weight of all the books of the authors they represent.
So I signed the paper and was given as a gift a book by one of their clients. Of course I needed to be difficult about it, one was too scary, one wasn't really my genre. . . finally I was given a Lee Child (Killing Floor - his first). It was very good by the way.
I had one or two more little edits to make that I said I'd do that night and send them to her then. And that's just what I did.
Then . . . oh then . . . as the wonderful team that we were . . . we started The Great Publisher Hunt!!
Saturday, August 19, 2006
As I've already pointed out, I did a fair bit of writing at my various temping jobs. However, when I was faced with writer's block, I would google questions about the publishing world. I stumbled onto the Bloomsbury website where they offer a lot of free information on the industry. This is the link: http://www.bloomsbury.com/WritersArea/Get_Published.asp. By checking out this link I learned about the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook - a large fat book that tells you everything you need to know about the publishing industry (in the UK), as well as providing lists of addresses of publishers and . . .agents!!!
So after much research I learned I needed to provide my prospective agent the following things:
- a query letter
- a synopsis
- the first three chapters
The Dreaded Query Letter
I was a lucky girl. I had no idea how difficult such a letter was supposed to be. I read the example provided in the yearbook, found an example online of a published writer's query, and took what I considered to be the best bits from both and combined them into what seemed to me to be a professional sounding, witty and intriguing letter. I was very familiar with the art of the cover letter, having sent out many many of them as an actor. So I knew to be professional and to the point. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't a terrible struggle. It was only after I had had success with it that I noticed on writing forums and agent blogs just how huge and important the query letter was - how so many writers worked themselves to the bone to get the perfect letter, and how there were even courses on writing the perfect one. Had I known any of that I would have second guessed myself throughout the process of creating the thing. You see the problem is, no two queries are the same. You can have your query letter edited to death, and be told to do such and such by one person only to be told that such and such is the absolutely wrong thing to do. So, ignorance was bliss. The most blissful of bliss.
This again I think I may have done wrong. Fortunately the one thing I did right was not end with a cliffhanger. I knew that the agent wanted to know the story and it wasn't my place to be cute. However the tone of the synopsis was quite dry, and the middle section was actually bulletpointed! From what I have since learned the key is to write the synopsis in the tone of the book, like a mini-story. That to me makes a heck of a lot of sense.
The First Three Chapters
I just made sure my first three chapters were amazing. It occurred to me early on that I had a big problem however. My middle grade adventure book opened with a chapter where there was absolutely no dialogue (this has since changed in subsequent editings). And this is where I did wrong thing number 372. I wrote a prologue. If there is one thing I have noticed in the blogs of the various agents and editors out there is how much they don't like prologues. Well again, I didn't know that at the time. I wrote a short prologue which was virtually entirely (what I considered to be) amusing dialogue, and that was relatively short. To be honest, I love this prologue, it adds a heck of a lot to the story and gets things started off on the right tone. Still, is there anything this temping actress did right?
Well . . . I did follow the instructions of each specific agent. I also phoned all the agencies to get the name of the person to whom I should submit. I made sure I didn't submit to any agent who didn't take children's lit. And I didn't use any fancy fonts (Times New Roman 12 all the way), or scented paper, or anything else that is ridiculous. On the other hand. . . .
I hadn't finished the novel.
Okay, in my self-defense all the agent sites and blurbs said that it takes 4 - 6 weeks to get back to you. And I knew I would be able to write my ending in that amount of time. Besides I work better in a panic with a deadline looming in the not so distant future.
So on a cold Monday morning in January I took half a dozen manila envelopes filled with queries and synopses and first three chapterees, and sent them off on their merry way, wooshing through fair London town with the help of those noble knights from the Royal Mail.
And I went about my business.
La di da di da di da, la di da, la di da.
The next day (Tuesday - the same day I had an audition for Robert Altman which was awesome, and even though I didn't get it, I actually thought I did pretty darn well):
Ring, ring. Ring, ring.
And then followed a stream of words I didn't quite understand until the title of my book was mentioned. And then everything clicked. It turned out that a marvelous young woman by the name of Julia Churchill from the marvelous agency Darley Anderson wanted me to send her the whole MS. Could I do such a thing?
"Of course, yes! Thank you . . . yes . .. yes. . .all right. Goodbye!"
I hung up the phone. And then started running in tiny little circles waving my hands around. WhatdoIdowhatdoIdo???????????
I tell you what I do. Mom and dad (wonderful English teachers and the king and queen of grammar) get the novel, up to the point I had written it at the time, to edit. Woosh, there it goes over the inter network. Meanwhile I sit in front of the computer and finish the thing. In three very long days.
I sat at my kitchen table and wrote all day, and late into the night. Pausing occasionally to watch the favourite TV shows and to eat. And I finished it. Meanwhile I received the edits from the folks, and after a long chat on the telephone, made the various corrections. Then on the Friday I printed it up at one of those print shop places.
It sat quietly on my mantle for two days and three nights.
Monday morning I walked it over to the agency (it was in my neighbourhood you see, and it saved me money and the worry of whether or not it had made it).
Then all there was left to do was wait. And wait.
Next Time: The Conclusion of The Agent Acquisition.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Ladies and gentlemen of the imaginary audience, I have signed a contract. I have. Now this isn't a contract I made up in my room to play "Let's sign a contract" that wonderful game of make believe. No this is a real live contract with . . . a real live publisher.
Ooh! What's this, you gasp. Since when is our lovely temp and/or actress also an authoress? Kinda snuck up on you didn't it? Well to be honest I have been writing ever since I was very little (you must somewhat sense I like to write silly poems). And heck, this is a blog people! And a blog is a form of writing. So really the question should be, "How come it took so long?" To which I stick out my tongue at you!
Right now I am being very tentative as to the sort of information to release, as I don't know if it is my place. So I am not going to go into specifics yet (though when I need you all in all your invisible glory to buy my book, then I will give you all the information you could possibly handle. Maybe even the colour of my socks on Wednesdays - ah Wednesday socks. You know I just imagined this second a whole slew of invisible people going into book stores and taking my book off the shelves and people gasping in horror as dozens of books seemingly of their own volition fly towards the cash register. And this is an extremely long aside. Which I will finish . . .now).
However I did want to start writing down the process from submission to publication, just because I am utterly fascinated by it myself.
First I should share the story of the story. Which fits nicely in with The Temp and The Actress.
I have always had something on the go writing wise. Usually it is some manifestation of my comedy detective novel which is always such fun to write until I remember I have to include a plot. Occasionally it is a play (the most recent a modern Jacobean tragedy, the act of writing it became a bit of a Jacobean tragedy in and of itself). But never, not ever, a children's novel.
So what made me do it? Well first off I LOVE children's lit. I do. I am a Harry Potterphile (omg! How amazing was the reading in New York! And she was introduced by . . . Jon Stewart!! Who, if you read earlier along in my blog - http://ididntchoosethis.blogspot.com/2006/02/revelation.html, is the sole reason I write this blog at all. Anyway, so great and if you care and want to check out the whole reading - that included Stephen King and an absolutely sensational reading by John Irving check out www.the-leaky-cauldron.org) Second I was in Bath. Not the bath. Bath. In England. Where Jane Austen wrote and was miserable.
I went to Bath February of 2005 for a weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of London town. I brought my laptop so I could watch the extended Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. And also a couple of 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' to read in the plethora of tea shops around the town (shout out to Sally Lunn's and her buns). Well after the first day I had exhausted all tourist sights as well as seen 'The Life Aquatic' at a cute little movie theatre. It was cold and wet and as I wandered around the lovely town aimlessly I started thinking about writing a book (as one does). Since I was reading children's lit at the time, and felt quite well versed in the area, I thought, what if I wrote a children's book? I bet I could do that.
Well what would it be about? I asked myself. I answered. What else would it be about? I answered that too. And as I asked myself questions, I passed sights and shops that found their way into my story and finally when my stomach was fluttering about with butterflies of inspiration (not the deadly butterflies of inspiration!! Run, run for your life!) so much that I couldn't sit still (also it was really cold out and not much fun sitting still for that long), I went back to my B & B and started to write. I wrote around 20 pages that weekend, nothing too significant, but enough to convince me that I wasn't going to give up any time soon.
For the rest of the year I wrote. I wrote at home in front of the tv and various reality tv shows (which are excellent for white noise). I wrote at work (but only after I had of course done my work - I am a very good girl). And once August rolled around suddenly the thought struck me that maybe I should try to get published. The idea seemed absurd and impossible, but I am an actor and used to impossible dreams. And if there is one thing actors are familiar with it's rejection. So it didn't seem a big risk.
But, and this was the big problem, how to do it?
Dum dum dum!!!!!!
(Always end on a cliff hanger - author advice #264)
NEXT TIME: The Agent Acquisition
Friday, July 21, 2006
Hey all, sorry sorry again for my poor posting techniques. I have an excuse! A pretty good one! I've left London, England. Sigh. Yes the Home Office realised what a threat I was to civilisation as we know it, so they sent me back to the great white (though it is bloody hot here at the moment). So I have moved back to Toronto Canada. I have also been in the process of arranging new head shots (new country, new style), getting an agent, and meeting with my trainer (the man-with-killer-quads). And I haven't even begun to look for a job or a place to live (back with the parents, though they are at the cottage most of the summer so I get a three story house to myself.)
So there you go, my imaginary readers. I promise I will start blogging with much more frequency once August rolls round. Until then, big kisses!
[Ooh ooh! I'm going to NY next weekend to see John Irving, Stephen King and JK Rowling read for charity August 1st! Gold star to anyone who can point out which one I'm most excited about.]
Saturday, June 24, 2006
People google you (yes you specifically)!
People find you. Not the randoms out there who you are expecting to find you and read your blog, surf your site, and make you famous, but the other people. Prospective employers. Prospective lovers. And even worse, current employers and current lovers.
So just use common sense. And if not common sense, then for god's sake a pseudonym!
And spell check.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
To be honest a heck of a lot actually.
About which I will not update you, at least not yet.
What I will share with you is a secret that you may or may not have realised about me. I am addicted to the internet. But more than simply that, I am addicted to finding new addictions on the internet. As with the people I will never know (see last post with very charming poem), I am obsessed with discovering new exciting websites that I never before knew existed. Especially ones that change with some regularity - obviously the most common is the blog. However, just recently I stumbled onto the artist Tony DiTerlizzi's website (http://www.diterlizzi.com). And well, I LURVE IT!!!
First of all let me just say I lurve his work. There is an old-fashioned, yet not, feel about them (this is my expert opinion of course). I especially love when you click on a picture that you get to sometimes see the sketch behind it, sketches at times being in my opinion often beautifuller than the finished product (on this tangent let me say that the cartoon in the National Gallery in London by Leonardo Da Vinci is one of my absolute favourite pieces). Next I lurve the inspirations that Tony (we are on a first name basis, in my imagination) was . . . inspired. . .by, namely Jim Henson and Edward Gorey. But lastly, dude, I just love the website, and I don't know who his website guy is but this website guy is like a total genius.
So check it out. Because, you see, Tony DiTerlizzi? He's really good. And he seems like a nice guy (he has little video footage of himself on each page doing something silly). Okay so he's pretty famous, but don't hold that against him. Good is good is good.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Now I didn't work there very often, so I only really knew the people who came on Saturdays, unlike my fellow receptionists who knew everyone. But I also thought I knew the people who came on Mondays. Because I would see their names each shift. I knew their handwriting from where they'd filled in the forms and occasionally I would talk to them on the phone.
And I was thinking just how weird that is. I really felt like I knew these people, that I'd met them. I had made firm judgments about them. When my colleagues would mention one of them I would nod sagely, "Ah yes of course John Doe. What a crazy individual he is!" But when I sat in the quiet of the reception and really thought about it. . . well of course I didn't know them at all. I had no idea what they looked like, only knew what a few of them sounded like. . . and quite likely would never know them.
How weird is that?
Oh hey look, a poem!
TO THE PEOPLE I WILL NEVER KNOW
To the people I will never know:
Who live along down on my street
or in homes passed on my walk,
or at plays where we didn't meet.
Or sat on the tube in my seat
With a paper left in their spot
or the one who's manicured feet
tried the same shoes that I bought.
To you all, I wish you the best
that all of your dreams will come true
that you live your life full everyday,
and take pride in whatever you do.
That you're happy most of the time,
and not frightened to sometimes feel sad,
and when wrong admit that you were,
and say sorry whenever you're bad.
I hope that you take the odd risk
and sometimes forget to think twice.
I hope too that you do think ahead
and above all try to be 'nice'.
Yes, you people I'll never know,
and who'll never in turn know me
I hope that at times you too think
of those who you'll never see.
Cause then we'll each of us know,
that we're never quite that alone,
we're deep in the thoughts of another
wondering too who they've never known.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
morning (yes as a receptionist in a pilates studio), let's have a little 17th century sing-a-long:
Follow your Saint, follow with accents sweet ;
Haste you, sad noates, fall at her flying feete :
There, wrapt in cloud of sorrowe pitie moue,
And tell the rauisher of my soule I perish for her loue.
But if she scorns my neuer-ceasing paine,
Then burst with sighing in her sight, and nere returne againe.
All that I soong still to her praise did tend,
Still she was first ; still she my songs did end.
Yet she my loue and Musicke both doeth flie,-
The Musicke that her Eccho is and beauties simpathie ;
Then let my Noates pursue her scornfull flight:
It shall suffice that they were breath'd and dyed for her delight.
- Thomas Campion
(For a real Thomas Campion karaoke experience visit: http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/follow.htm, where the music is played for you on a harpsichord!)
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Yesterday I was in well known coffee chain. This well known coffee chain tends to have washrooms at the back of their establishment. A little door. A little room. And, well, you get the picture. Well yesterday I needed to visit said room and I went to the sign and lo and behold there were stairs. This unnerved me.
But I went down the stairs. They turned and twisted deeper deeper down into the bowels of the coffee establishment. Deeper past unknown rooms, past unknown sounds and smells. Deeper still, the yellow walls fading to a murky brown. To a door. A door marked with a sinister silhouette of a woman. Tentatively I pushed on it. I entered.
Sitting there on the toilet bowl, looking at me plaintively, was a roll of toilet paper.
With no hole.
No hole in the middle.
What madness is this?
We spent a short time together, and then as quickly as I could, I left and ran as fast as was possible back up the stairs. Back past the strange sounds and smells. Back into the light. Never to return again.
I have seen it my friends,
where the long stairway ends,
and yellow hall wends,
it awaits on the bowl.
It awaits on the bowl
like the stories you've heard
and they're true, every word
what you've learned of the roll.
What you've learned of the roll?
Yes it does have no hole.
And it's here for your soul.
And you'll know that it's true,
when it calls out to you,
to come visit the loo.
For I've seen it my friends,
where the long stairway ends,
and yellow hall wends,
it awaits on the bowl.
Monday, April 03, 2006
We've made contact with Freddy.
There is a hole in ceiling of the storage units high above the sink and shower of our bathroom (kinda like the song: "there's a germ on the flea on the hair on the wart on the frog on the bump on the long in the hole in the bottom of the sea").
He has found his way into said units and rustles away in there.
One day my housemate opened one of the doors to check it out and I watched in the reflection of the mirror. There he was.
"Freddy you little f*****!"
A little grey head, eye contact and then a scurry back into the roof.
I have seen the monster, and he's awfully cute.
But still annoying as hell.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
"Go, litel bok . . .
And red whereso thow be, or elles songe,
That thow be understood, God I biseche!"
(which he roughly translates as: Go, little book, and wherever you are read, I ask God only that you be understood.)
Though I don't know the original context of this quote, I think the way Mr. Connolly has interpreted it is very apt.
Because there is nothing quite so exciting as when someone understands what an author's written. When they are on the same page, and explain back to her her own reasoning. When someone else, someone she doesn't know well, who doesn't know her well, gets it. Just, you know, gets it.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Does anyone have such friends?
I cannot imagine that anyone has friends like I do. I can't think how it is possible, because if everyone had friends like mine then this world would be populated by none but the smartest, funniest, bravest, most talented, most giving, and most beautiful of people. And I can't sufficiently describe to you how wonderful they are because you would think I was generalizing, that I was trotting out all those general compliments one uses to make someone feel better.
* But by smart I mean studying PhD's smart (whether or not they are actually pursuing said degree).
* And by funny, I mean unique, roll on the floor laughing till your sides hurt, funny.
* By brave I mean not only smiling through great adversity, but singing and dancing and drumming.
* By talented I mean able to create and perform works of art to the most professional and inspirational of standards.
* By giving, I mean choosing to help others as your vocation.
* And by most beautiful - aside from souls, I mean superficially hot, sexy, ladies and gents who just seem to be blessed with all the correct proportions.
I do not exaggerate. Not one tiny bit. And what is the most shocking, the thing that would drive you running into the mountains babbling nonsensical rubbish with a drooble of spittle running out of the side of your mouth, is that my friends, all of my friends, possess each of these qualities in various measures.
A little poem in honour of their magnificence:
I would love to share with you all
how much my friends totally rock
but it just isn't possible as
I'm afraid you'd die of the shock.
Friday, March 10, 2006
You may have noticed a slight change in my posts. Yes I am talking about the sudden inclusion of pictures. The reason is a simple one. I have just discovered how to do it. And I like colourful things. I am a woman obsessed, and I vow never shall I post again without an illustration! Ha ha!
Monday, March 06, 2006
"The meeting of strangers is funny,
it's odd how it so often ends,
after less than an hour together,
the Nipkin and Zlog were good friends."
I don't know if this is a completely accurate quote from the fabulous picture book Norbert Nipkin (the last line doesn't scan quite right), however I've had it running through my head today like a song and I thought I'd share it with you.
There's just something really nice about it.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
I'm seeing people dance tonight. I don't quite know what sort of show it is really, a friend invited me along. I know it is something oh so contemporary, which can be quite interesting and awe inspiring at times. And I have surprisingly studied quite a bit of dance for someone who never was interested in studying dance. So I can appreciate what I am looking at.
Doesn't mean I'll like it.
Here's the thing. I find things like dance theatre, especially ballet, and its cousin, opera . . . silly. You may think, fair enough, that's your opinion, but let me add this: I love musical theatre and, what's more, don't find it remotely ridiculous to watch.
Now why is that? Musical theatre of the three is most definitely the most absurd:
"Okay so let's pretend this is just a normal play set in a normal time and place, and then, oh hey, let's then suddenly sing a bit. Maybe dance a little?"
"Hey how about instead of a fight we pirouette?"
"Dude I am so down with that."
"And then once we finish, let's pretend it never happened, k?"
"With you man."
Musical theatre is inately silly.
And I don't know why I therefore like it more than the other two. I was going to argue that musicals are very self aware, that they know they are silly and play up to that, as opposed to opera and ballet that tend to (not all the time, but tend to) take themselves incredibly seriously. But that only works for the big happy musicals like Guys and Dolls, Little Shop of Horrors and, more recently, The Producers. What about Sondheim, I ask you!? WHAT ABOUT SONHEIM!!!??
I have no answer. All I can conclude is that I am a hypocritical, arrogant, close minded, musical theatre fundamentalist.
You know what? I think I'm okay with that.
Friday, March 03, 2006
The reason I like it is not only are the people very nice (would you believe on my walk to work I lost the heel of my shoe and, upon telling my fellow receptionists of the tragedy, one offered to take it and have it fixed when she went to pick up her shoes at the cobblers?!), and the atmosphere is relaxed, and I know what I'm doing having worked here several times before, but best of all I get to pretend I am a secretary from the 1950's.
I sit with three other receptionists at a large curved desk in the lobby of a large curved business that employs several hundred large curved employees (actually I lie about the latter two as the business is a massive square building surrounded by other massive square buildings, and not a single person employed here looks anything other than a model - very frustrating to be sure). We answer phones and politely put them through to various extensions. And we sign in visitors and book board rooms.
And that's it.
Other than that we gossip and laugh, and wave to employees as they walk through the lobby, and it all feels just so retro.
And you wouldn't have thought it could get any better. But it did. You see, the best thing happened yesterday. As per my request, one of my colleagues leant me ... wait for it ... an emery board! Yes dear readers, believe it or not, your lovely blogger actually sat there, in true receptionist style, one leg crossed over the other, and filed her nails.
And what, my dear invisible readers, could be more fantabulous than that?
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
"Russell just asked Santos to join him on the ticket as VP,
and he turned him down!"
"Vinnick has just given the best speech ever,
Bartlett has to get his party in order!"
I like it cause it sounds like it's real. I find that funny. Because it isn't.
(But it should be)
Saturday, February 25, 2006
I don't exactly know why I would become famous. But I think when one writes a blog one is hoping other people will read it. And the more people the better. And if I become known internationally and get to guest star on The Daily Show, well I could put up with that. I mean it could be Oprah too I guess, but I just think Jon Stewart is really cute.
Actually maybe that's why I'm writing this blog. It isn't the boredom, or the fame, or the chance to write something that would really make a difference in someone's life.
It's because Jon Stewart is cute.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Even when going through puberty I enjoyed giving cards to my friends. And of course there was the chocolate involved. But then something happened. Something changed.
What happened was this: the dreaded flower/chocolate O' gram. The candy or flowers that you could send in the school anonymously to someone you fancied. I hate to confess it, but secretly every year I would hope that this time round someone would send me one. One year in fact my friends and I were so fed up with not getting flowers, that we each drew a name from a hat to buy one for that person in our little group. My person forgot.
Yes that is where Valentine's day suddenly went wrong. You see, despite my cynicism,I have always secretly wanted an admirer. In the long run I know it is not practical. Someone who lacks the courage to face me in person is probably not going to fair too well with me. But it always seemed like a very fun thing to get those flowers. And also, I mean, really, how darn predictable was it that the popular girls would walk down the halls with bushels of them in their arms? It seemed to lack creativity. "What's that you say? You've bought the prettiest girl in school a flower? My god, why has no one thought of doing that before?!"
Don't get me wrong, as the years progressed and I came into myself in high school, eventually my friends and I would send each other tokens (and remembered this time). And really any day that celebrates chocolate is just fine with me. Still the day remains bitter sweet for me.
And yes it's partly due to the fact that one is bombarded with articles saying how miserable I should be being single, and how to cope in my misery. And yes I longingly look at happy couples walking together, really any day of the week, but I do notice more today as one is wont to do. But I think this O'gram thing has scarred me above any of those.
I think, like Pavlov's dog, when Valentine's day rolls around, without even trying, I automatically hope to receive something from someone oh so anonymously. To feel that wonderful ego boost. To know that someone out there without you knowing it, is thinking about you. To, for the briefest second, have that surge of adrenaline, that can only be achieved by either a cheap carnation or a nicely wrapped trio of Hershey's Kisses.