Category Archives: queries

All Over the Place

This post is, as the title suggests, unfocused and without any real writing ties or any unifying theme. If you still feel compelled to read after that glowing bit of self-promotion, please, do so. I just thought I’d warn you beforehand.

I managed to get out another round of queries, mailing them off with not-so-high hopes on Saturday. The expectation of rejection is now the default emotion, and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. But, with this pessimism comes the toughened skin I’ve been trying to grow, as well as the general feeling that if I don’t get rejected, it’ll at least be a happy surprise.

The rest of my time has been devoted to dealing with the fallout from poor purchasing choices. Like Clark Griswold with the Family Truckster, I manage to do all the wrong things with big purchases. From another issue with the broke-assed car, whose engine we decided to replace instead of getting a new one, to spending hours of my days on the phone with a certain television manufacturer who promised us a nice plasma set and instead gave us a costly paperweight. It’s been problem after problem for the entire two years we’ve owned it, and has been essentially useless since May. Twelve weeks has passed since the glass-and-aluminum albatross stopped working altogether. They gave us the runaround when it came to repairing it, gave the repairman the runaround by sending him the same broken parts over and over to ‘fix’ it with, and then again gave us another turn on the merry-go-round of reaming with the fight to get it replaced. I’ve lost time, money and sleep over this, only to lose a good chunk of my original investment cost by being forced to settle for a ‘comparable’ set that is way less expensive because of ‘depreciation.’ I can hear the cash fluttering out the window as I write, or quite possibly turning to ash in my hand as I put a lighter to it. And turning on the Big Nasty that dwells inside me did absolutely nothing. As I mentally mourned the death of small companies that actually cared if they lost business, I swear I heard the so-called manager shrug when I said neither I nor anyone who would listen to me would ever buy one of their products again. He ended the call with a thinly veiled version of, “Are you going to get off the phone, or what?”

I think I’m going to stop making decisions for a while, at least where large chunks of machinery are concerned. There goes that new backhoe I’d been eying.

On the up side, this Christmas will bring a trip to sunny Florida to visit the in-laws, who are snow-birding it down there until spring. And, yes, there will be the short trip to the Cheesiest Place on Earth. What can I say? I need some synthetic cheer right about now, and the other kind just leads to poor hygiene and even poorer decision-making skills. Besides, it’ll be nice sitting there in the “Carousel of Progress,” watching those robots warble the virtues of The Future with optimistic exuberance (obviously, they’ve never had to deal with a company that’s name includes the letters L and G).

Still, the New Year brings promise, doesn’t it? Or, at least the soothing equivocation of a clean slate. And I’m all for one of those right about now.

The Pros and Cons of Invisibility

‘They’–the illustrious hearsay experts–liken a writer’s existence to a vacuum. I’m starting to realize ‘They’ aren’t wrong. Between the sucking vortex of silence on the receiving end of my agent queries to the ominous passing of contest deadlines, the vastness of my professional solitude has begun to wear on me a little.

In fact, there was a moment a few days ago when I thought I had died.

In those brief delusional moments, I surmised everyone around me was a manifestation of my subconscious, nothing more than elaborate scenery for my postmortem ghost-drama. I imagined my possessions were only echoes of what I used to own–my computer, my printer, my paper–all shades of what I’d had on my earthly desk. It made perfect sense; I wasn’t getting feedback because I wasn’t sending out anything physical.

On many levels, I find my plane of existence not being on a mail carrier’s route a more preferable explanation than the fact I might not have whatever it is the publishing world wants in an author. Then again, the poltergeist-in-residence scenario would be a little too Beetlejuice-ish even for me (and since I left my veiled beekeeper hat in nineteen eighty-seven, I’m not really dressed for that particular event, anyway).

The deadline for notification of winners in that one writing contest is supposedly the twenty-first of this month. I’d already figured I hadn’t won, but I felt the few weeks between now and the release of the December issue of the magazine (which makes public the list of winners) would let me down gently–ease me out of expectation into acceptance. But, I opened the mail today and there was that December issue, sitting in my mailbox, the winners of the contest tucked neatly inside. It was enough to make me want to crawl back into my imaginary grave.

The lack of communication in this business is disheartening, at best. At least at my old job people were lining up to tell me how much I sucked. I didn’t have to guess. But, then again, my old job was hell, too, just a different kind–an inescapable realm of monotonous torment packed to the brim with neurotic, nouveau-riche malcontents.

I guess when I look at it that way, this vacuum ain’t all bad.