Monday, August 31, 2009

Post-Beach Letdown


We snuck away to the beach for one last hurrah before TD heads back to Not-Quite-Dutchmanlandia on Saturday. Needless to say, this has me very upset (the departure, not the beach). We've had a lovely 4 months of living like an average married couple...together! And I always get highly maudlin when it's time to give that up. But it's the same old tune coming from me...

Almost the second we got back, I was sitting on the couch and Furball #2 attempted to hoist her ancient girth up onto the back of the sofa and she slipped. The next thing I know, she's yelping and flopping around trying to walk - her back right leg wasn't working properly! So, I freaked and took her into the Emergency Vet Clinic. 5 long hours and $346 later, we find out that - thank god - the leg isn't broken and that she probably has some kind of soft tissue damage. It's likely just a bad sprain. So, we get *expensive* meds to give her to manage the pain and bundle her home. She's favoring it quite a bit - limping around the house...but she's okay. She probably has some early arthritis - the vet kept calling her an "Old Girl", which irritated me. She's only 11! That's advanced middle age!

Sitting in the Emergency clinic was no fun. Being in a mixed-species space reminds me that dogs are most often favored by vets. Not that I don't love me some dogs! But cats tend to be second class citizens in a mixed-practice in my opinion.

But, that odyssey completed I'm now back and ready to teach this week. Well, actually, I'm not ready to teach - and I haven't finished revisions on my last chapter yet. So, that's what I'll be doing today.

Monday, August 24, 2009

When do I shove it out of the nest??

Hey, folks. My timer on this Egg of a manuscript is almost up. I'm sending it out (supposedly come hell or high water) by Sept. 16. I've only got one more chapter to make small revisions on; then revise my Intro (again, not much to do); oh, and I need to write some semblance of a conclusion.

But *OH!* the wringing of hands! The gnashing of teeth! Just when I'm coming to the end, I'm balking!

So, I need to pose a question to the interwebs (and Notorious, Squadrato, Dr. Cleveland, Heu Mihi, Dr. Virago, and all others who have submitted book manuscripts and even had them published, this is a shout out to ya'll in particular!): at what point is it *ready* to send out?

Now, this might seem like a completely ridiculous question - how the hell do you guys know when my stuff's cooked enough? However, something tells me that at the heart of that subjective query is a seed of objectivity. This is because I think we all tinker with our work and resist sending it out "too early" - for some, that threshold is farther away, for some it's much closer. But it's there. I'm familiar with the "okay to send out" threshold with articles, but I'm a book manuscript virgin and I'm nervous. This means more to me, there's more at stake.

I could spend another 3-6 months polishing this sucker, making all the transitions as smooth as glass, clearing up every possible awkward phrase and point, having countless friends and colleagues read drafts. But I'm not sure it would be fundamentally a better manuscript. It would be spit-shined to the gills, but not substantively better, I think. I feel like, as it stands now, it's clear, well written (I'm sure that some sections are better written than others), and it's an interesting critical intervention. It's spellchecked and revised - there are no unconnected fragments of ideas or random "insert discussion of X here" left floating around. I feel like it's pretty solid, if a little squishy around the edges in places. But is this how all first submissions are? Or are they all as absolutely perfect as they can get?

Given my total intellectual stasis at the moment, I wanted to ask what you thought about when a manuscript is ready to be sent to a publisher. Any and all thoughts are appreciated. I'm sending this to a publisher who's already expressed a lot of interest and will, I think, send it to a sympathetic reader - i.e., someone interested in finding out how it can be an even better book rather than looking for reasons to dump it. And it's only going to one reader to start.

Help me, Obi Wan...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Random Bits of Late Summer Fluff

I'm finishing a draft of my Intro today, so I'm not up for a substantive post (do I even do that anymore?) - but I want to blog more, a Fluff List seems appropriate.

1) Within the last 2 weeks, TD and I and friends went to see a Def Leppard concert (I ain't sayin' where) - it was AWESOME! But I felt my age - not just because of those around me (although that was eye-opening as well) - but because of my knees. I can't stand for a 3-hour heavy metal concert anymore (including opening acts, which also rocked)! So, during some of my less favorite songs or power ballads, MW had to sit down. The shame....

2) Also, last weekend, we went to our best friends' blessing - it was amazing - we had so much fun the whole weekend! I cried a bunch (tears o' joy) and ate and drank a ton. I got to see Flavia and her gentleman friend and also got to see Dr. Cleveland and his significant other. So, many new friends!

3) I stopped taking my A*mbien 3 nights ago (damn detox) - this is the first time I've slept without chemical aids of some sort for about 4-5 years. I have bad insomnia and I'm a very light sleeper. It's been...okay. I've slept - not much - but I've slept. However, I've also discovered the full extent of TD's snoring. We're gonna have to do something about that.

4) I've been asked to submit an article to a journal I've always wanted to be published in! It would be part of my book project (from which I've only yet taken one article) - but I'm excited!

5) I've recently discovered Amy Butler fabrics - cool! I can't sew at all (I can re-attach a button...) BUT, there are people on Etsy (to which I'm now truly addicted) who can sew things for me - it's like having craft gnomes...

6) Speaking of gnomeage, I've sent the job market gnomes off to summer training camp. They were hoping for a more exotic locale, but all I could afford was Pensacola. They have a full schedule while they're there: 1) shuffleboard, 2) job letter workshops, 3) tai chi, 4) photocopier repair classes (ours is always breaking down), and finally, 5) intelligence gathering seminars. The gnomes need to have all the information before anyone else has it if they are going to deploy my band of ninja warriors at all effectively during this particularly tough job market season.

The ninjas are always prepared, therefore they need no training camp. So, they're in the kitchen making potato salad.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A giftie from between the writing cushions...

So, I'm typing away at my Intro (*type, type, chip, chip, type, type...*)

And I'm wondering why the word count is still so low ('cause I look at shit like that all the time)

Then, I decide to see if the word count thingy on Word is showing the count including footnotes,'s not!

Sproing! My document just gained 10 pounds! (not unlike the food-baby I seem to be carrying at the moment - thanks to the Doritos and PB&J...and the cookies, and the bowl of leftover beef stew)

I like my Intros curvy...