Okay, what the hell’s up with the Bachelorette?

Yeah, yeah, I know. Y’all are probably looking down your noses at me just for posting this. But, let me just inform you–I don’t have cable. Remember the PSAs warning “if you don’t have a digitally-tuned TV by February 2009, you may be affected by this change?” Well, hubby and I were affected by the change. One digital converter box later, we are still happily ensconsed in our luddite ways. Hey, it’s free. And generally, we agree about what to watch without the scourge of choice. So I admit it–I watch the Bachelor, the Bachelorette, and any permutation of the aforementioned franchise.

So, naturally, this douche-o-riffic guy named Bentley is her favorite. Bentley. I dunno. People have got so trashy lately, that children named after cars may be the norm after awhile. But a dude who’s pushing thirty? Um, red flag! As if to prove my point, he’s bragging to the camera how he’s not into her at all, and is just using the show for his own nefarious gain! What are the chances?

So, two freakin’ episodes after Bentley “came clean” and broke her heart… and she’s STILL hung up on the guy! Seriously, she talks about him enough that I feel like I need to start a drinking game–a shot every time she mentions his name. Except I’d end up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning.

The problem is, she still hasn’t had “closure.” Yeah. I know. She’s all “but I love him…” while he’s like “dude, she is not that hot.” I feel cheapened even typing this. But, do we cringe because it’s true? Because it reminds us of the times we’ve behaved similarly (though possibly not with a network tv tie in and/or guy with a car name)?

If I ever encountered this in fiction, I don’t think I could stomach it. I’d be screaming “YOU HAVE ALL THESE DUDES TRYING TO GET YOU! THAT GUY IS A DOUCHE! GET OVER YOURSELF AND SAVE US ALL SOME TIME!”

I don’t think I’m alone in this. So in fiction, readers love conflict–but is this type of conflict beyond the pale? But are there any stories where this pays off believably? I’m really not sure.

High Class Problems

I’m not sure what it says about me that I break my months-long blogging hiatus with a bitch session. Well, not a bitch session per se, just an update on the writer’s journey–“writer” sounds much nicer than “wanna-ba author,” no?

Ah, the writer’s journey. That long, long road to publication. Contests are exit signs along this highway, enticing me and my fellow writers as we progress, one mile marker at a time. These exits could take us anywhere from a shortcut to Awesometown, Published Author Land, to–in some cases–an abandoned rest stop. For my friend Beth’s hilarious take on this matter, check out the link: http://ourmshelf.blogspot.com/2011/05/burning-of-judges-score-sheets-on.html

Most of the time, contests are just detours. You might see some nice scenery, do something fun. Or you might think you found the shortcut, and catch a glimpse of Awesometown’s majestic skyline just around the bend–only to find it’s a billboard that reads Visit Fabulous Awesometown–only 800 miles. This happened to me recently. I finalled in a writing contest–the top score in the first round (toot, toot, that’s my own horn you hear). But in the final, editor-judged, round? Honorable mention–didn’t even place (pfff… I think my horn is busted). So am I seeking sympathy? Nope. Why not? You see, what I have is a high class problem.

High class problems are the ones you’re lucky to have. “It is so hard for me to find a bathing suit. My hips are a size two and my chest it s six!” “My husband is always cleaning up the house. It’s driving me crazy!” “You want to take me on another trio to Europe? Okay. <sigh> as long as it’s what you want.”

You get the idea. And the road to publication is potholed with high class problems. The nastiest critique, or the tersest form rejection–high class problems. How? Because all writing problems are high class problems. Writing is a luxury. We are lucky to be able to do it–to have the vision, the desire to tell a story, the follow through to get it done, and the balls to put it out there–good, bad, or ugly. Not many people can do that–possibly fewer people than the size two ass/size six boobs subset, but I’m not really sure how the numbers break down there. And (un)fortunately, in writing, one high class problem leads to another. Like so:

1. You final in a writing contest, but you don’t win.

2. You win the contest, but the agent judge still doesn’t want to sign you.

3. You sign with an agent, but she can’t sell your manuscript.

4. You sell your manuscript, but the advance is tiny (or nonexistent).

5. You get the big advance, but your book doesn’t sell enough to earn out.

6. You earn out your advance, but you’re still a mid-list author.

7. You reach the bestseller’s list, but you are still not a Famous Author.

8. You are a Famous Author, but people think your books are the work of the devil.

9. That sex tape you made before you became a Famous Author leaks online.

10. The sex tape makes you an Even More Famous Author, but the angles are really unflattering.

So, what to do? I, for one, am going to cheer myself up–probably paint my nails, enjoy a cocktail, and listen to some New Order (the world’s finest band). Then, I’m back on the road, going to get myself some more high class problems.

What about you? What are your high class problems, writing or otherwise?

There’s No Day Like a Snow Day

Nothing like six inches of snow glazed over by a sheet of ice to slow things down in the Carolinas. Luckily, I’m right where I want to be, with a cozy fire in the fireplace (I have to imagine a woodsy crackle in place of the hiss of gas), poodles on either side, and a laptop at the ready. Ye Olde Day Job is shut down, and may be tomorrow, too. In other words, nothing’s standing between me and my current WIP for once.

All too often, writing gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list, trumped everything but the giant cobweb on the bedroom ceiling. And then there’s the guilt–guilt for writing when you should be doing something else, and even more guilt for not writing enough. But today, it’s all good. And hey, if I’m off tomorrow, I may even get around to sweeping that cobweb.

How do you make time for writing?

A Day for Letting Go

I borrowed my post title from the song by The Charlatans. There are times we all need to let go of emotional involvement–when the same things are said, the same struggles spin round and round without resolution. I’ve come to the realization my current manuscript and I need a break. To see other people. I have a feeling it won’t be a forever thing–it’s never truly over with a first love, but I need some space. It will be good for the both of us. So aside from getting it ready for the Golden Heart, I’m calling it off. I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo for the first time ever, and beginning  November 1st, I’ll be starting my new story! A whirlwind affair! No baggage!!

Then, I’ll come crawling back, hopefully with fresh insights and a new perspective.

So when did you know it was time to let go of a story or other creative endeavor…or anything else? Did it hurt?