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Monday, June 24, 2013

Progress Post: Looking Up

Slowly but surely, I'm getting there.

I've been handwriting a lot of the updates to my current work-in-progress. I've had some moments where it's a lot easier to grab a handful of blank pages than my entire laptop. I've noticed that I can write for longer periods of time without distraction when I'm handwriting, as opposed to typing. The drawback is that the side of my hand gets smudged with ink, and that it takes extra time to type up. I currently have 16 pages front and back, which roughly winds up as one double-spaced typed page apiece. The last time I typed up some pages, I'd topped 40,000 words. So that's going well.

I also have my crit partners. I've been working with them since January, and they've both had excellent ideas to improve book 1 and polish it up for publication. They both had some very positive things to say about it, too, which was exciting.

I wish I could say my excitement translated into getting their stuff read quickly, but, alas, my motivation is failing me in all aspects of life. Hopefully typing this out will be just the kick in the rear I need to get moving on that, because, really? Five months? That's just laziness on my part.

One really, really good thing happened last week. On Thursday, June 20th, I went to a reading and signing event for Neil Gaiman at Saratoga Springs. I found my way there, and eventually found a parking spot. I did not arrive in time to submit a question for Mr. Gaiman. But I did have plenty of time to knit and people watch
before the event.

Then it was really Neil Gaiman on the stage, and really Neil Gaiman reading from his book and answering questions and being humble and adorable.
Not a good photo at all, but the blob on
the right in black is, indeed, Neil Gaiman.
He read from the book he was on tour to promote, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which our admission price got us a signed copy of. He also read from Fortunately, the Milk, his kids' book coming out this fall, which sounded utterly charming. He also discussed why this is his last book tour: because it's not fun for anyone when 4000+ people show up to get their books signed, and they're there all night, and he's bleary and grumpy and loses the ability to spell. He said he may do ninja signings, where he puts a notice up on his Twitter last-minute and maybe a couple hundred people come.

The event is going to be broadcast on WAMC on Tuesday, July 9th at 3 PM, and on Thursday, July 11th at 8:30 PM. Even if you're not local to the NY Capital Region, you can listen online at the link.

Then it came time for the signings. I was in group B, and wound up standing just in front of The Least Affected Youth, Ever. They loudly made fun of everyone and everything in the room, with sarcastic comments aplenty. Or maybe I was just overly sensitive because I was nervous, and had no moral support there to keep me centered.

I've met authors before, and almost always end up with that feeling I'm watching myself from outside, wondering what possessed me to say something so stupid. This time, I scribbled a note on the back of my email confirmation explaining I'm shy and that I clam up around people I admire, but that I loved his writing. I also scribbled the question I was going to ask, if I'd arrived in time to ask it. It was too involved for a quick, 30-second interaction, but I still got part of it answered.

When I finally got up to the front of the line and passed my note, I saw him read it, then his face visibly softened. He thanked me for my kind words, and held out his hand to be shaken. I shook it, and managed to whisper something like, "Thank you." He told me he was shy, too, and that one usually muddled through and made it, somehow, and learned to be better next time.

And now I have a signed copy of Ocean at the End of the Lane, and my copy of Fragile Things is signed and personalized. It's just a trade paperback, but it's also the last book I bought from Malaprop's before I had to move away from Asheville, NC.

The above doesn't have a whole lot to do with my writing progress. But that's one of the reasons I write. Because other writers can bring so many different people together to talk about how their words touched them. Because every writer I've met has been wonderful and warm and caring. Because, while I will never reach that level of fame, I could die happy if I met one person as ecstatic to meet me as I was to meet Neil Gaiman.