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Archive for April, 2012

My first novel: a retrospective – Part 6 (the end)

April 30, 2012 5 comments

So on and on I typed, my second novel growing from just a germ of an idea to nearly three quarters of a book. All the while, I did my best not to think about the book publisher that had gone bust and tried not to let my mind wander away from writing while I awaited a response from the agent I’d queried. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait much longer before I received a piece snail-mail from the agent (in my SASE, of course). In it, the agent wrote that they’d love to read the whole novel. All I had to do was send it to them.

Awesome. Another step in the right direction. If I could win over an agent, I might have a chance with the book getting published. Another trip to the copy center and the USPS, and it was soon on its way to New York City, destined for the hands of an agent that thought I just might have something worthwhile. Again, my confidence was boosted. So, while pondering a great future as an author, I once again typed away, figuring it was only a matter of time before I was discovered.

Some number of weeks later, I checked the mail and found a self-addressed stamped manuscript box from the agent. I’d assumed that if they liked the book, they wouldn’t send it back, so I expected just another rejection. I was surprised, though, by what it contained: yes, a rejection letter, but also copious notes about what the reader had considered problems with my (first) draft. Simultaneously, I was both encouraged and discouraged. It was great that they’d thought enough of my book to personally provide some suggestions, along with a request to resubmit my book after I was finished making the changes. But the sad fact was that they didn’t want my awesome first novel as I’d originally written it. While mature authors know that a first draft of a first novel is going to be, for the most part, crap, I was still under the newbie delusion that everything I wrote down was great stuff. Apparently, though, mine wasn’t as great as I thought it was.

And we have, as they say, now come full circle, back to part I of this retrospective. It was this point in time where, rather than take suggestions and continue working to make my book better, I somehow imploded and became disillusioned enough to pack it all in and give up on a dream. Perhaps the ease with which I threw in the towel was indicative of how sincere my desire was to write, that perhaps I was writing for all the wrong reasons. Given the outcome, I’d say that was probably true, though the passing of years has made that aspect of the journey a bit fuzzy. Bottom line: I wanted to be a writer and write books, but I didn’t have the passion to forge ahead through endless rejections, and to put my butt in the chair and work at the craft of writing until I got it right.

It’s kind of sad to look back on that part of my life; I really did give up so easily. I often wonder what might have been, what I might have accomplished had I really pursued writing for the right reasons and been mature enough to deal with the hard work of achieving such a goal.

What might have been …

I should write that on a post-it note and stick it on my monitor.

–dp

Categories: Writing Tags: ,

Every writer’s worst nightmare

April 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Though no writer in his right mind would (or should) maintain their latest manuscript as a single, mountainous pile of paper, one can still empathize with the pain, despair, and utter loss suffered by Professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) in this funny/horrifying scene from the movie Wonder Boys.

http://movieclips.com/e/M95Uw/31.9/77.5

In today’s world, I suppose this would be equivalent to hearing your computer’s hard disk screech and click to a premature death after having never bothered to back up your work. If it were me, I know my face would pretty much look like Grady’s, except I would be staring at my computer in disbelief while I imagined all those bits flying away to their death. Tripp’s tragedy, as played out and observed in today’s technologically advanced society, wouldn’t be nearly as spectacular a failure, but it would be just as heartbreaking as watching him stare at seven years worth of work swirling away through the air.

Something to consider next time you put off backing up your disk for one more day …

–dp

Categories: Movies, Writing

An Apple trifecta

April 8, 2012 6 comments

I’ve been an Apple fan since my oldest son introduced them to me some six or so years ago. I bought his old MacBook after he decided it was time to upgrade to the next best thing. From there on out, I was hooked, and I’ve “upgraded” myself several times since then.

But then Apple released a nifty little gadget called an iPhone. So of course, despite the fact that I didn’t need it, I bought one. And guess what? Each year since then, I’ve purchased the latest and greatest (except for the iPhone 4S … I kind of felt like it didn’t have enough new stuff to really entice me into buying it … so, I’ll wait for the iPhone 5 :-).

Oh, and then Apple came out with another device: the iPad. Though it wasn’t really a whole lot more than a large, glorified iPhone, it sure was cool. Suddenly you could read email, surf, and watch movies with a screen large enough to spare your eyes the agony of staring at your iPhone’s teensy, tiny screen. A real game changer in the world of personal computing.

The iPad, however, took some time to grow on me. Having spent many years in the world of software and computers, it seemed to me that the iPad was just too wimpy to be useful. I figured it would fizzle out after a short time in the spotlight. Despite my reservations, I bought an original iPad for my wife, Debbie, who loves it and uses it for all of her computing needs. Then came the iPad 2, which we happily purchased for her (and passed along her original iPad to our grandson 🙂 And of course, when the “new” iPad came out (come on, it’s an iPad 3, isn’t it?) we bought one immediately for Debbie. But that left us with an extra iPad. Or did it?

Yep, you guessed it. I decided to take her old iPad 2 and try it out. I was a bit skeptical at first, but after using it for a bit and customizing it to my needs, I must confess that it’s pretty darn good. It allows me to mostly do anything I want (or need) to do without having to lug around a heavy lap top.

The big win with an iPad is that it’s small and lightweight. That makes it ideal for travelling. So, to prove to myself that the iPad could handle everything I needed to do, on a recent trip I brought it along. Note that since I wasn’t completely convinced that it could do everything, I was paranoid and brought my laptop along … just in case. Guess what? I didn’t have to use the MacBook at all. Not once. I think that pretty much convinced me that from now on out, all I’ll bring along is my iPad.

Lots of Apple stuff here

You just have to love Apple.

I suppose the only place to go after this would be to get a MacBook Air. And maybe an iMac. Hmm …

–dp

Categories: Apple Tags: , , ,