My dad, who is growing increasingly concerned with my entry-level non-profit web editor salary, calls me pretty much every day with a new idea for me to make more money (this despite the fact that I've told him that a. I love my job and have no intention of leaving it, and b. I love DC and have no intention of leaving it). Most of his suggestions involve my moving back home and working at NBC with him, which I point-blank refuse to do. What follows is a fairly faithful transcript of this morning's call:
"Hi, are you at work?" He asked.
"Yup, what's up?"
"Well, I just wanted to read you something I got in my inbox at work yesterday. It's from an editor at Warner Brothers Books," he said.
"Sure, go ahead," I said, wondering what this was all about.
"OK," he said as he cleared his throat.
"Warner Books," he began, "is seeking Latino writers. We are looking for English language women's fiction that shares the Latino perspective and explores the Latino experience, from sassy chick lit to tender love stories (a la Nicholas Sparks) to sexy fiction to something more serious and literary (think Lovely Bones). So if you've got a completed novel, please send a query letter, author bio, and synopsis to..."
"Latino experience? Um...ok, that's interesting," I said.
"Interesting?! It's perfect for you. Do you know who Nicholas Sparks is?"
"Yes," I said with a sigh. "He wrote that crap book that they turned into that crap movie Mama was watching last weekend."
"Well that's perfect! You write sassy, sexy fiction, don't you? Isn't that what you write?" He asked, excitedly.
"Um..." I stalled, wondering what had given him this idea.
"I showed this to your mother," he went on. "We think it's perfect for you. Send them something."
"Well...uh, I don't really have a completed novel I can just send...," I said.
"But you write all the time! Make it up. You have a lot of free time. This is a perfect opportunity. And then you can move out of your apartment and into someplace nicer."
I opted to ignore the crack at my apartment (which actually happens to be very nice) and the whole "you have a lot of free time" bit because that's actually true, and just told him to forward me the e-mail.
The thing is, I do have a sort of vague notion of publishing a novel someday. I even have a great title that I'm smart enough to keep to myself. I've had a few articles--mostly reviews and essays published, hell, even a poem--but whenever I start writing a long storyI just end up daydreaming, chain-smoking, and drinking way too many cups of tea. Next thing I know, I'm curled up on the sofa with my mug of Earl Gray watching Woody Allen movies On Demand and wishing I could attend one of those bookish dinner parties where all the guests are witty, slightly neurotic writers and professors that listen to jazz, drink red wine, and quote Schopenhauer like it's the most natural thing in the world.
One of my reasons for starting this blog (of course, I only came up with this afterwards) was as a way of disciplining myself to write every day. In college, I spent most of my time skipping 19th Century lit classes to stay home and dash out a bit of 21st century prose, but once I left school I got lazy about it. I threw all my energy into writing well-crafted, borderline-absurd e-mails.* Really, I'm a bit narcisistic when it comes to my e-mails. Sometimes I'd hit send and then read them back to myself, chuckling and muttering, "My, have I got a way with words!" Occasionally I'll forward them to my friend, Moe, and go "look at what I wrote!" She is equally in love with her own writing and would frequently do the same. This blog allows me to share my writing with a much larger audience (imagined, or otherwise) in a less imposing manner.
Basically, what I'm saying here is that while "sexy fiction" about the "latino experience" (whatever that is) isn't really my goal, I actually don't think my dad was that off-track this time. Guess I'd better to get to work then...
*Note this excerpt from an e-mail I sent my friend S. about tea: "Earl Gray has always been bad...you were probably just caught up in the illusion it creates....the subtle hints of aristocracy, the rolling english countryside, the witty banter of courtship...it's Oscar Wilde in a porcelain cup. One lump or two?"