Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Confessions of an overwhelmed novelist

Is nothing going to be easy while I write this book? I mean, could I just get a break?

I'm once again going to bitch about a rewrite. A huge, enormous, humongous rewrite that I just started. The key word being "just."

I met with my writing-partner. Submitted a third to last chapter in my book feeling pretty good about it. I mean, sure, she'll have edits but those are good, they would make the story better.

"This chapter is actually two. Two stories."

And the important thing to realize is that I do not just do whatever she tell me. She proves her theory, she elaborates. And she almost always right. She's just that good.

So, I sigh. I say, "that's right," "great idea," and so on.

And I'm thinking, when will this end?

I want to start writing my second book!

So I dragged me, myself and my laptop to a cafe and began the monstrosity of a rewrite.
Good news! I have a clear picture of where I want to go.
Bad news?
I can't save much of the old story (24 pages). I tried but it's developing in a different way, with a different voice and point of view and... uh!

The good news? The book is getting better and better!!! Bad news? I'm never going to finish this book. Ever!

Is it September yet?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Random coffee shop poll on Weiner's sexting

As I'm trying (the operating word being trying) to write/edit, I'm overhearing this conversation (overhearing being a euphemism) between two middle-aged women next to me:

"Why is Weiner in the news again?"
"Cause of the sexting."
"What's wrong with that? If it's consensual?"
"Well, he' married."
"Oh, well, then it's wrong."
"At least keep it confidential!"
"He's a sick guy, some sort of exhibitionist, something must have happened to his parents..."
"So, how's your weekend...?"

Well, I have to say Weiner sexting is better than the royal baby. I mean, I have been frustrated with the royal baby coverage, or over-coverage. This is how I would report on it, if at all. "The royal baby has been born. The end."

So what do you think about what Weiner has done? Been doing? I have to say, there's something "interesting" for the lack of a better word (bizarre) about knowing how your mayor's penis looks like.

The saddest thing for me in that whole sexting, penis showing to strangers affair, is his poor, smart, successful wife. I don't understand why a woman like that would stay with a creep like him. She's out of his league and she's standing next to him at the podium, supporting him. It must be mortifying. I wish I could understand her reasons. But I don't. Do you?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Thirteen Shades of Yellow or London in September

So, I'm back to 76,143. (Damn.) That many words in my book. Just that many. I need more.
Why am I losing words?
My writing partner made a very strong case for one of the chapters not belonging in it. She suggested I rewrite it from scratch and put it at the end of the book.
But, I don't want to end my book with my main character Ana hanging out with her Ex and hooking up with someone who likes her red hair.
My book is so not a romance, or any kind of a hooking-up book. I wish it were. (That's my next book, Thirteen shades of yellow:-)
This one is deep, and political, and Voodoo, and important.
Sometimes I worry that Serbs might shun me after reading it. As a fiction writer, I can be hard on them. But that's also being hard on myself. Or anybody else for that matter.

I'm going to sacrifice one chapter. Sigh. And work on others.
The other one is already getting more complex with Ana now dating her Bosnian Muslim professor in Serbia during the war in Bosnia in 1994-1995.
I know.
Let just say...it's a bit complicated.

So...I have been sighing a lot. And thinking about London.
Did you know that I began packing last week for my trip on Sept. 8th?
I'm not kidding. I need professional help.

I also began writing a list of things I would like to do while in London: Neal's Yard, Downton Abbey (I know it's not the castle's real name), British Museum for Greek Freezes, Sherlock Holmes museum for a bigger Baker Street sign than the one I have in my bathroom now, tea houses, lots of tea houses, and friends, lots of friends.
Don't have much time (unfortunately). Four days. Four nights. I'm not planning on sleeping much. English breakfast, anyone?

I'm not going to plan Serbia. (Who plans anything is Serbia?)

Then maybe Greece and probably Turkey.

So, where was I. Oh yes. What month is it? How much longer to September?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Kale Apple ReWrite

Today is one of those days when I wish I weren't a writer who put years (I'm embarrassed to say how many) into her book, and who just got feedback from her writing partner, whom she trusts, to basically can two chapters and write them all over again.

Sigh. Panic. Backpedaling. Anxiety.

And the worst thing is? I knew she was right. I knew she was going to say that and I couldn't do anything about it. I just couldn't make those two chapters better. From where they started and where they ended, I couldn't see any other way.

But now I do. Through discussion with my brilliant writing-partner, I came up with compelling, deeper ways to rewrite the chapters. It's conveniently only in my head. In about two sentences.

But my numbers have dwindled down again. Significantly.

Up. Down. Up. Down.

So here I am, after about four hours of recovering from this review I deserved, in a very Sherlock Holmes red velvet chair in a cafe, about to dive in, once again, for God knows what time, into those two chapters.

One, about my character Ana dating her college professor.
One, about her reaching out to her old boyfriend when she was lonely. In a nutshell. It's of course much complicated than that. (Everything is.) The Professor is Muslim, she's Serbian Orthodox, it's war time in  the Balkans...

I honestly don't know how some people whip out a book every year of so. It's damn hard to write a good book. It's easy to write crap, but damn hard to write with depth and significance.

And another thing? This is why I need my writing partner more than anything. She called BS on my timeline. My timeline, in my final book of my Book, is all over the place. So now I have to fix that too.

Maybe I should have ordered another happy hour cocktail instead of Kale/Apple smoothie.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Yoga according to Taliban

I had a bizarre day yesterday.

Morning was wonderful. I woke up early, strolled to a cafe with my laptop and had a writing breakthrough.

Then I went to Yoga at noon.

And if you know me, if you have been reading me, you probably know I have been doing Yoga regularly in the same studio for almost three years now.
Everybody knows me there, addresses me by name, just waves me in.
And I have been feeling there at home. Until yesterday.

After the class, a young woman in pink, sporting a strong Eastern European accent approaches me and tell me the following:

"I work for (Studio name omitted) and you're not suppose to walk into the studio with shoes."

It's not what she said. It's how she said it. Like a bitch. Now that I think of it, she looked at me weirdly a few times during class as well, when I requested Tree and Dancer, and when I came back from the bathroom (I have the smallest bladder ever.)

So then, of course, my inner bitch awakens.

"I wouldn't be wearing flip flops if I hadn't found broken glass in this room multiple times."

Then I just walk away.

I have never, ever seen her before. She must have been brand new.

So, I shrug it off, go to the Manager to tell him how much I love their new Zumba class. We chat, laugh, he tell me "he loves me" cause I'm so upbeat, funny, excited.

Then an hour later, I get an e-mail from him. From the same manager who "loves me:"


Hope you enjoyed your cool class this morning.
After class I recieved a number of complaints from 2 clients about class
concerning you, that I decided to bring to your attention. 

Shoes are suppose to be kept off during class so dirt from outside won't muck up the floor.
I personally sweep before every noon classs.

Also, was told that your skirt was revealing enough to see your privates and that
while doing certain poses you move ahead of the class distracting those around you.

Please be cautious of your dressing and positioning. When people see how good you are they assume to follow you which throws off the class. 

Not in any light an I meaning this in a disrespectful tone.
But when people come to me I must do anything I can. 
Thank you for understanding. 

Oh my God, I was so mad!  What is this, Yoga according to Taliban?

And here's my response to him:

"Wow! I'm stunned and shocked by this e-mail! I have been coming to (Studio name omitted) for three years regularly and never heard anything like this before.

The reason I came in with flip flops is because I stepped on a piece of broken glass about ten times in the last three years. I didn't want to get cut. I have pointed this out to whomever was at the desk at the time, repeatedly, but then again, a few weeks later, I find another piece of glass, on the floor or my mat. 

As for my clothing, I was wearing shorts under that skirt. And whoever said that they could see my privates is ridiculous and is lying. It's absolutely impossible.

Was it that spiteful, rude girl in pink with an Eastern European accent? I'm appalled and offended you would take her word over mine. 

Either way, I'm very disappointed you would send me an e-mail like this. I practically have been living in (Studio name omitted).

Maybe it's time for me to look for another Yoga studio.

I think I paid until the 25th, so please don't charge me after July 25th.

This is all just very sad. 


There you go. There goes the loyalty.
What angers me the most is that I'm still upset about all this!

So, now, after three years, I'm dating again, looking for another Yoga studio.
So much for Namaste!
Well, Namaste to you too!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fit flopped Zumba led to John Daly

I had a weird day yesterday. It was one of those days when you wonder where you have misplaced your brain.
First, I went to my first ever Zumba class.
I usually go to Yoga, or Pilates, or Budokon. None of these require shoes. So I go in my flip-flops if the temperature outside is above 70 degrees. (If it's below 70, I'm wearing faux-fur boots, or wool-socked sneakers. What, I was raised in Eastern Europe! You have to protect your feet, i.e. your ovaries from cold!)
And I heard once, a long time ago, maybe twice, that Zumba is some kind of dance. Dance/Aerobics. Something like that.
But my brain yesterday didn't register the fact that dancing in my Fit Flops, (those famous flip flops that allegedly make you workout when you walk? Yeah, I'm not convinced either. Buy I bought them once upon a time in NYC. Two pairs. I'll shut up now.) will be that much more difficult.
For someone who has a serious background in Latin dancing (I used to compete when in high school, in Serbia), I was in love with Zumba after two minutes, and calling myself a moron after one. Zumba is really a partner-less samba, cha cha and rumba combined. It's wonderful! Fun but sweaty workout. And in fit flops? Total nightmare!
I had to rest my ankles every five minutes. I felt as if I were going to get arteriosclerosis or wear my ankles out or something. They seriously hurt, not muscles (good kind of pain) but bones. Yes, I could literary feel my bones and joints screaming "You, moron!" Especially since the rest of the class wore sneakers. And the incredibly sexy Latino teacher on the podium wore...shoes. And nothing else. Just kidding (Sorry. Hope I didn't cause any heart attacks. E-mail me for details.)
But I'm no quitter. No sir. I danced my ankles away through the whole delicious hour. I had to take a "bathroom break," and several "water breaks," short but necessary. I considered taking my fit flops off and dancing in my bare feet, but then again, my Serbianism got in the way. The floor was dirty. Jedna li je muka, my mother would say. Or, in English, I wish there were only one problem.
But I did it. I will never, ever wear fit flops or anything floppy to Zumba. I will take Zumba twice a week from now on because it's a party, not a workout. In my sneakers.

Then in the afternoon I went to a cafe to write, with an empty battery and no charger.
I laughed and decided to order a happy hour cocktail. John Daly. Someone told me he was a golf player who liked to drink? (Too lazy to look that up too..)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sweater-novel, boot camp, trip to Europe

So, I have been back from my week-long vacation on the island of Saint Martin for five days now. And I'm glad to be back. Yes, I don't have the Caribbean sea outside of my bedroom deck anymore but it was time to come back to my book. (For all of you who don't know this, I'm obsessed with my book.)
I managed to write on the plane there and back, for an hour or so, between soda and juices being distributed. But now I'm on a schedule.
I have to finish this novel by September 7th, since on September 8th I'm going to Europe for over a month, again (Yay!).
So, I have a little less than two months. And I officially renamed the month of July as the boot camp month.

Boot camp July rules:

1)I have to write every day. Even on weekends.
2)I should try to get two shifts in.
3)I have to have 80,000 polished words, comfortable words, by August 7, so I still have a month to line edit the whole book.

By now, I have 74,407 words and it's July 11. So I have to write, not any, but words that make sense and fit in, polished words: 80,000-74,407=about 5,600. Now, sometimes I have to delete something, so it's really about 6000.
I know it doesn't sound like a lot. It's basically two short stories. But I need to expand some chapters/stories as well as maybe include one new one.
And new stories don't come to me so easily. I'm a very stingy writer. Unfortunately.

I know what's you're thinking (maybe.) I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days, and now I can't write 6000 in 26?
It's not the same thing. Not at all.

Think of a novel (good novel, not that crap people write in two-weeks, or two-years for that matter), as a sweater. You pull a string and it falls apart.
There you go.
So, I'm on my way.
If I can do this in two months, I will travel to my very, very exciting trip to Europe with a finished novel.
Wouldn't that be just amazing???!!!