Lost in New Jersey
I know where I am in New Jersey, but I’m lost in thought. I’m also drowning in work, but I’m having trouble getting to it, probably because I’m lost in Thought. They should get a road map for that sucker or at least put up signs. Reminds me of the day Bob and I had to drive to a hotel in Milwaukee and they were doing a Big Dig and they’d taken down all the road signs, and Bob, stifling his rage, said that Milwaukee was an old Indian word for “Land of No Road Signs.” Maybe you had to be there. But the hotel was fabulous except that Bob got the room with the fireplace and gloated. He gloated when he got the suite in Arizona, too. And people wonder why we’re not still writing together.
Where was I?
Right, lost in Thought. Actually if it was just one Thought, I could navigate. But there are many Thoughts, a plethora of Thoughts, and they keep stepping on each other. It’s Black Friday in my brain. I would never go out on Black Friday and yet there it is in my head. Why does anybody go out on Black Friday? They call it Black Friday, for Christ’s sake, who would rush toward that? “On sale now, the Black Death!” “Me, me, I want TWO RATS.” You can stay home and order online–does Amazon have Black Friday?–and then watch a movie online and I understand in some places you can even order food online. I wonder if you can do that here in New Jersey? Well, obviously in some places in New Jersey you can but this place is remote. But that’s okay because there’s nothing in New Jersey that’s really remote. I can get to a town in ten minutes here. Took me a lot longer than that in Ohio.
Where was I?
Right, Thoughts. So I’m thinking about rewriting You Again since I had the SBI, but my head keeps going to this probably un-sellable (unsalable?) idea that I really, really love. But I have this derelict cottage that I need to move into before the rent on this place puts me in the poor house, and that’ll take money, and You Again will definitely deliver money since it’s been under contract since 2003, plus there’s the SBI and one of the greatest Best Friends I’ve ever written. But still this other idea, plus there’s Liz and Vince, and now that I’m thinking about cutting most of the 40,000 word first act so we can get to the rock-throwing part earlier, that’s a lot crunchier, too. I have to stop over-thinking these things. And start writing. Pick a lane, Crusie, any lane, and start typing.
Except that I’m behind on my McDaniel stuff. Fortunately my students have the patience of saints. They also have the typing skills of a million deranged monkeys because keeping up with the discussion posts is insane. Also I hate Blackboard which is the interface McDaniel uses. I love everything else about McDaniel, but I would set fire to Blackboard if I could. So anyway, the discussion posts: they’re graded in an effort to make sure everybody participates. Snort. You’d have to mow these people down with a flamethrower to get them to stop posting. They’re all brilliant and I’m learning a lot from the stuff they come up with but sweet Jesus, they post a lot. And now I’m behind on the grading because @#$%^&* (that’s code for “fucking”) Blackboard will not let me at the Module One Discussion Questions. Plus I now have two major assignments to grade and eighteen critiques to do, plus the lecture on Writing Love and the third assignment to give out, so I’m behind. Which makes me cranky. I’m not pretty when I’m cranky. You wouldn’t like me cranky. Oh, wait, I’m cranky most of the time on here. Never mind.
Where was I?
Oh, Writing Love. I used to do this insanely great workshop on Writing Love. The copulatory gaze, the dinner date, the whole thing was fabulous. And I’m sure I have the notes somewhere. Unfortunately they do not appear to be anywhere on either of my two computers. I do have the notes from the Yex and Violence workshop we used to do, so I can tell the McD students how to kill with their thumbs, but that’s not much of a help in writing romance. Although I would suppose that would depend on the romance. I also have the chat Lani and I did on romantic comedy. And I have miscellaneous notes. And a leaky memory, something about a Love Map, thought up by a guy named John Money. And all of that has to go into a lecture so I can hold up my end of this McDaniel deal. Lani says it might be on my Time Capsule. So now, all I have to do it figure out how to hook my Time Capsule to my laptop. I’m betting it involves a USB cord. By some miracle I actually know where the Time Capsule is. I think.
So after I do the Love Lecture and grade the assignments and do the critiques, I can get started on You Again again, except I have a TON of stuff from that–well, I’ve been working on it since 2003–which is going to have to go into Voodoo Pad and Scrivener. Voodoo Pad I’ve mastered, at least the minimum requirements, but Scrivener has just updated so I bought Scrivener for Dummies and now I must read it. That’s the hell of books, you actually have to read them. Lani was helping me clean out the bookcases and found How Not to Procrastinate or something like that, and she held it up and said, “Really?” and I said, “I don’t know, I never got around to reading it.” It’s like Thin Thighs in Thirty Days: if you buy the book, you should just get the thin thighs.
Speaking of Lani, I miss the people at Squalor on the River. I don’t miss Squalor, which is now evidently much less squalid since I threw out half of everything I own. Well, some of it went to Goodwill and some of it went to Lani and some of it went to Krissie but most of it went into big green trashbags. I had a lot of Stuff. Lani says I’m not a hoarder because I have no problem giving stuff away, but looking at the mass of things I’d accumulated, I have troubles seeing the difference. It really was appalling. And now it’s clean because they threw out everything I left behind that I hadn’t packed except for the dogs. I think they saved the dogs. I miss the dogs. I miss hearing Sweetness and Light giggling upstairs. I miss running into Alastair in the hall and having tea with Lani while we discussed Big Stuff. It helped tremendously that Krissie helped me move to NJ even though she tried to kill me on the road twice (“Mistakes were made”) because she stayed with me for a week so I could wander through the rental (which is about a third the size of Squalor on the River but still larger than Squalor on the Lake) and hear her tapping away on her laptop and then watch TV at night, although if she ever forces me to listen to her synopsizing an episode of The Twilight Zone again, we are going to have words.
Where was I?
Right. I’m having trouble concentrating in New Jersey even though I am buried in work and boxes of papers and I can’t find my T-shirts (although I did find my pjs and nightgowns so I have my work clothes) and I miss everybody. Somewhere along the way I turned into A Person Who Likes Living With People. And Dogs. Who knew?
Oh, and I’m also behind on posts for Argh. I have to figure out a way to put the SBI up in a way that I can take it down again, so probably not on Argh, maybe buried in the website? Oh, and I’m supposed to update the website. Except that I need to take pictures of the collages again but they’re in Ohio except they’re supposed to be on their way to Pam at McDaniel and I promised her whatever papers I found, too, which means I should go through these damn papers which I have to do anyway in case in a moment of briliance I actually printed out my notes on Writing Love. It’s possible. I found my old grad school papers, and I wrote those before I started writing fiction. Or maybe I’ll just break out the salsa and whole wheat chips and a Diet Coke and go watch HGTV which is like valium without the side effects although really, I never had any side effects on Valium, it just made me woozy which is why I flushed the rest of the bottle down the toilet. In Ohio.
Where was I?
Right. New Jersey. Things are going to be different here. As soon as I get these damn Thoughts straightened out.