Sunday, February 27, 2011

Up for Air

Send out query letter for novel, do laundry, walk the dog, read for five minutes, plan lesson, brave the commute, teach lesson, collect assignment, curse self for assigning 105 written responses, walk the dog, make dinner, decide to let the dishes soak indefinitely, read response from agent: Not the right project for me at this time, search for clean clothes, call DJ for junior high dance, schedule field trip to Alcatraz, grade final drafts of research paper, feed the cats, write a blog post that never gets posted, realize library books are unread and overdue, send out new query letter to different agent, bake “Too Much Chocolate” cake, indulge in sugar coma, call parents of miscreant seventh graders, enter grades, make dentist appointment, take aspirin, search for new job online, stare at empty refrigerator, walk the dog, record agent response: Not taking new clients at this time, spend day sick in bed reading Uglies, attend before school parent meeting, teach, tutor after school, attend steering committee meeting, spend five precious minutes with Will, marvel at cost of filling the tank, take more aspirin, show up unannounced at dentist, leave two hours later with shiny new crown, clean bathroom, wonder how two people can produce such a mountain of laundry, submit new query letter to different agent, spend evening writing, realize Facebook status has been static for some time, miss Alisha, walk the dog, spend weekend grading papers, accidently step on cat’s tail, spend evening coaxing cat from under bed, chaperone junior high dance, worry about Egypt, sit alone at lunch, call parent of misbehaving seventh grader, take a deep breath before opening email from agent: I love the novel! I’d like to talk to you about representation.

Exhale. And come back up for air.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


From the woman in front of me in line, smallish, grayish, crazyish: "He was doing so well, had this nice girlfriend, and then one day he just snapped and started spitting on her and slapping her, and I said, 'What on earth, Gerald?' and oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize there was anyone behind me."

From the barista, with a blonde stripe on his mohawk: "Sorry about that." And then: "What size would you like that tea - small, large or extra large?"

From a man with his nose buried in 101 Things You Should Know About 2012: "No, go ahead. I'm not saving it for anyone."

From two girls next to me, punching in numbers on scientific calculators: "... expression for the compression factor... solve for P over T..."

Older woman, grandmother-helpful, from the counter: "They're out of cookies, John."

Older man in armchair browsing A Photo History of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. "What?"

Older woman: "They're out of cookies. They're OUT of COOKIES."

Man in armchair: "Oh."

Older woman: "Would you like something else?"

Man in armchair, flustered: "Ah, no. Forget it."

From fiftyish woman wearing a babydoll dress and go-go boots: "I don't know if I should date that guy from the restaurant. He's a little too New York for me."

Fiftyish woman's much younger companion with wet curls and her back to me: "Where do you meet these people? Seriously?"

Fiftyish woman: "I go out. You know -- Starbucks."

From long-haired employee who once helped me order a rare book: "You can buy these mugs at any '76. Half-gallon size. And they're really a steal because they only charge you for a large drink when you fill up."

Short man with bulging muscles, Incredible-Hulk-style: "Is anyone sitting here?"

Woman in three shades of purple, to bored husband with toothpick in his mouth leafing through Golf Digest: "Look at this chair. Don't you just love this chair?"

Impossibly young girl in killer heels: "So I saved his note so you can see his handwriting. It's girl handwriting. Don't you think so? Isn't there something wrong with a guy who has such girl handwriting?"

Barista: "Erik? I have your caramel apple Americano with salted toffee on the bar..."

High-pitched voice over PA system: "Attention, customers. The store will be closing in fifteen... ten... five minutes. It's time to make your final purchases."