It's not a secret amongst my friend that I hate shopping. That whirl of excitement that some women get when they buy a new pair of shoes? I get that at the library when I find a freshly returned new release.
But I love Rhea Lana. It's a consignment sale in my area (actually, in a bunch of areas, but the one in my area is the best. **waves, Hi Ashley!**) Again, most women stampede to the clothes or the shoes or the ______(insert expensive name brand that you can get at a fraction of the cost) section. I run to the books. There are some gems in there. (If you're local, the sale is going on all week at the Frisco Station Mall. They had 97,000 items to be sold!)
And, of course, I also love the Halloween costumes. Although, I find myself wishing that kids demanded literary hero outfits the way they demand Spider-man. I had an idea this year to dress the Pea as Lowly Worm from Richard Scarry's Busytown. But my idea involved a body stocking, and I can't do that to a 3 year-old. Ahh, if only he were still tiny. And less opinionated. He is going to be a lion. A cookie to anyone who tells me their favorite literary lion.
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.
Now if only Mom's Electrolux could suck the stupid virus off my computer.
It is possible probable that I have consumed my own body weight in key lime pie over the last few days. My A/C has been on the fritz in, oh, the worst heat wave in our area's history, so I fled to my parents' house. Note to self: before fleeing to parents' house, check their weather forecast as well. It was 114 degrees the day I got here. The key lime pie has nothing to do with the heat. I just love key lime pie, and my mom spoils me rotten.
As to the other joys, I've gotten more writing done in the last 3 days than I've accomplished in the last 3 months at home. The whole no cooking/cleaning/Pea-bathing/worrying thing helps. That and the fact that my mom and dad spend the majority of their time either reading or reading.
Also. I'm reading Bossypants by Tina Fey right now and almost wet the bed laughing. Major frowny-face missing Hubbykins, but he's devoured the first season of Mad Men on Netflix while I've been gone, so I haven't received any singing telegrams demanding my return yet.