Tuesday, May 02, 2006

After the Book

I just sent the latest version of book three off to my agent. Now I just have one looming deadline, and that's in June. I feel like I have an incredible weight off my shoulders. I think I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon walking over to the library to get a new batch of books.

One habit I have when I go to the library is checking the "new non-fiction" shelf. If something catches my eye, no matter how irrelevant it seems to my life or my work, I check it out. You never know where inspiration will strike. This round's impulse book was It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken by the guy who wrote He's Just Not That Into You. I have no idea why I decided to check that book out, considering it's been about ten years since my last breakup (you kind of have to actually date someone long enough for it to be considered a relationship in order to have a breakup). Still, I recognized some things I've done right and wrong about past breakups, and it does seem like I've been on a continuum of getting better about it each time. I've also played the role of "breakup buddy" to friends more than a few times, and it sounds like the advice I've always given is more or less on the right track.

In a weird way, finishing a book is kind of like a breakup. Part of you never wants to see it again and part of you wants to keep revisiting it with the hope of making it better, of making it work out this time. There's a mingling of mourning and relief, and there is definitely the urge to indulge in food and drink, perhaps a little wallowing. Let's just hope I'm in the "we can make it work!" phase when I get my editor's notes.

I also read Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, which is utterly fascinating. I may buy that one when it comes out in paperback. I love stuff about how the brain works. I know that all of the major decisions I've made in my life have felt like impulses, and they were almost all the right choices at the time. But don't ask me to choose a restaurant. I can't make up my mind about minor things.

Meanwhile, I worked my way through more YA fiction, and I'm going to have to check out something much more cheerful and lighthearted this time, like maybe something by Thomas Hardy. I'm sure there's something out there that isn't quite this dark, but I managed to stumble on a random set of books that were of the "my parents are split up, my dad's remarrying and with his new family he won't want me, my mom's an obese alcoholic/drug addict, and my brother gets all the attention because he's a juvenile delinquent and now we're going to have to move to a new place where I won't have any friends" variety. I know teens love the angst, but good grief! I guess I liked drama as much as the next teen, but because I was fascinated by World War II, most of my literary teen angst fixes were along the lines of "I have to go to the country to escape the bombing and I may never see my parents again" or "why did I have to fall in love with my fellow resistance fighter just before our uprising so that we'll never have time to be together."

I have some more Stephanie Plum books on hold, and I guess I'll see what else I stumble upon that sounds good.

Then after the library, I may start actually responding to e-mails that have been piling up in the last few days. If you've written me recently, I'm not ignoring you. I was just fighting deadlines.

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