I've been staying with my parents for a week now. While I'm sure they are more ready than they can put into words to see me and the
rabid tornado Pea away, they have been highly gracious hosts. As a houseguest, I'm not the best. I'm sure I'm not the worst. But I'm not the best.
I am however a people-pleasing, helpful-seeking, middle child. So I've vacuumed twice since I've been here. Oh, the memories as I pulled out Ol' Trusty, my mom's 1987 Electrolux behemoth. Over the years, it's acquired new hoses, a new plug, possibly a new motor, but it still sucks up dirt. I can remember the day the vacuum cleaner salesman came to our house. He pulled out a little baggy of sand and threw it (threw it!) all over our living room floor. Then he sucked it up. Then he had mom run over the spot with our old vacuum which obviously wasn't working well or the Electrolux salesman wouldn't have been there, then after she finished, he went over the spot again and sucked up more sand. No clue how much my parents spent on that Electrolux in 1987, but I'm pretty sure it's paid a better return than any other investment they've made over the years. Certainly more than our 401K has lately.
Oh, and, yes, we were vacuuming up little sand granules for years.
Do you know what kind of vacuum I have? A trendy purple Dyson. Which has served me well, but I can almost guarantee you it won't be picking up anything other than landfill dust when the Pea is in his 30's.
As a houseguest, I hate to ask for anything that I've forgotten, so it killed me that first night to have to ask if I could borrow their rubbing alcohol. Mom pulled out the bottle, and I swerved a double take. The label said, "Wal-Mart Brand Rubbing Alcohol." Now, for those of you unlearned in Wal-Mart lore (which is probably every one of you who is not from Northwest Arkansas and married to an ex-WalMart-vendor and most of you who are), there is no such current thing as Wal-Mart brand anything. There is Equate. There is Great Value. There is Ol' Roy for you dog foodies. But as far as I know, there has not been a Wal-Mart brand since maybe 1991 give or take a few years. I looked on the bottle for an expiration date. 1997. This amused me for some reason, using the same rubbing alcohol I used during junior high, and I pointed it out to my dad. His response? It's rubbing alcohol. It doesn't expire.
I tell you this not just to show you that my parents are perhaps the least wasteful couple in America, but to make a writing point. yes, an actual writing point!
When I had one chapter of my rough draft finished on my WIP (which I'm rewriting right now), I read a Publisher's Weekly announcement for a super cool debut author. Part of the blurb said they were hopeful it would do for light Sci-Fi what Hunger Games did for dystopian. Gasp. My story was light Sci-Fi. And it hit me. Was this what it felt like to hit a trend? FYI, I have never been on trend in my entire life. I bought my first Guess? jean jacket four years ago. It was everything my 4th grade self imagined it would be.
Now, has Sci-Fi taken off at light speed according to their prediction? Well, no. The cast of Glee did show up at Comic Con, and this made me squee, but that influx of YA Sci-Fi? I like to think it's happening slowly but surely. And the debut novel has been a huge success.
It's over a year since I finished that first chapter. Over a year since I finished the entire first draft, in fact. A lot has happened in my life during that time. Some good. Some bad. Some gains. Some losses. I thought the manuscript was ready at the beginning of the year. Then I went to a fantabulous writers' workshop in March, received spot-on amazing critique and feedback from talented writers, agents, and editors. On the way home, I locked myself in a bathroom stall in the San Jose airport and cried my eyes out. People liked my writing. But I knew it wasn't enough. So close, yet so, so, so far away.
Hence the rewrite. I'm halfway through it. My story is so. much. better. But it's not there yet, and I know it. A mean little voice crops up every so often and says, "Tick tock. That trend window is closing. Probably already shut." But as my dad said, "Rubbing alcohol doesn't expire." If it's good writing and a good story, if it works, it will appeal to the right agent, the right editor, the right readers. Whenever I finish it. Lord, please, please let that be soon.