Friday, March 23, 2007

The Transcendental Refrigerator

Weekend Assignment #157: So, what's in your fridge? Be honest. If you include a picture of the current state of the fridge, that'd be nifty.

Extra Credit:
What's the oldest thing in the fridge?

Part of this is true.

Our refrigerator is relatively new, but it's already a bit of a mess. I'm not going to give you full particulars, but I will mention just a few things. The Alpo replaces Prestige* dog food, the Safeway house brand that's now on the do-not-feed-to-Tuffy-under-any-circumstances list.

*I originally called it Premiere, but I was misremembering the name. The important thing is that it's one of the brands on the massive recall list, and yes, Tuffy had a open can of it in the fridge when the news broke. Yes, she's fine, fortunately!

And here's something odd. It's a Diet Code Red Mountain Dew dispenser. So why is it dispensing Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi and diet root beer?

We always wanted a bigger refrigerator, and this time we finally got one that was roomy inside. I should have noticed that there was something odd about it, but it doesn't usually look like this. Perhaps it requires a certain frame of mind - some recent disappointment, followed by hope, and an openness to possibilities. Or perhaps it was that little dial in the back corner. Maybe it wasn't a temperature control for the freezer compartment after all.

The nearly opaque maelstrom swirled for thirty seconds or so, and then started to fade, revealing something beyond. I followed the orb, noting with only minor surprise that the space around me had become much more spacious than the inside of a normal refrigerator.

Sure enough, he was waiting on the other side, looking rather impatient. Does the Doctor count as the oldest thing in my refrigerator? At 900-plus years, he's much older than the diet Jello or John's tofu.


John's birthday was tonight. He didn't let me give him a new iPod, but he liked the turquoise metal watering can. And we ate at Kon Tiki, which I now know for a fact to be the greatest tiki bar and restaurant in Arizona.

And I wrote a little fiction tonight. No, I don't mean this entry. I tried out Ficlets on AOL. I wrote two ficlets, which are extremely short short stories. Here they are:

1. The Birthday Race (for Sara)

2. Do You Want to Meet a Pirate? (Guess which one I have in mind!)

Thanks, everyone, for your encouragement today. I feel much better now. One thing, though. Whenever someone suggests (with the best of intentions) that I move on, set aside my first novel and write something else non-Mâvarin, it always irritates me a little bit. It's not that I can't or don't write anything else. Just tonight I wrote these ficlets. Last year I wrote The Jace Letters. I already have a borderline science fiction story about St. Nicholas, and about two-thirds of a novel about Joshua Wander. There will always be more stories, not all of them about Mâvarin.

But. Short fiction is neither my forte nor my interest. More to the point, Mâvarin isn't, and never will be, something to set aside, to give up on. Yes, I started it in high school, over thirty years ago; but it's neither the sophomoric effort of the 17-year-old I was nor the foolish obsession of a perpetual wannabe writer. That first novel is good, damn it. It wasn't good in high school, nor that much better in college (although it got me into Clarion!). Even as late as the late 1990s, it still needed serious work. But this is the book that taught me to write books. It just took a long time, that's all. And it's just the beginning. Rani and his friends have taken up permanent residence in my brain, and continue to tell me about their lives. I would no more give up on selling Heirs of Mâvarin that I would give up writing.



DesLily said...

I know you can never give up on your book... after all, somewhere in that book is "karen". It would be like giving up on yourself.

I've never "wanted to be a writer" but I can't let go of the only story I've ever written.. it's with me all the time, as I know yours is with you.

I just hope one day you find an agent willing to push your book for you.

Paul said...

There's nothing 900 years old in my refrigerator. I think.

Wil said...

Karen, I'm just getting back after a long weekend away, so if this is reopening wounds, trash it. I wasn't suggesting you forget about your existing novel(s), only that a minor change of pace would allow you a fresh perspective on the wonderful world of rejection. I know of no writer alive today so gifted or successful that they didn't have to deal with a lot of rejection before finding the right representation and the right publisher(s) for their works.

Having said that, it's probably time to submit to a different publisher. Over a year in the slush pile is about as long as you should give before moving on to other pastures.

BTW, I also would expect a speedy response to a query to an agent. After all, you are proposing to provide him or her with a new source of income. If they can't be bothered to do a quick glance and issue a formulaic denial to the 99 out of 100 or so queries received each day/week/month that are simply not a good fit, how else are they to be judged by the author?

Keep the faith and your crying towel handy ... you need both to succeed as an author.