I've slacked on the blog this week - naughty me! But it hasn't been without good reason.
First, there's the May/June issue of Exhale, which essentially took over my waking life for the past several days in a row. One would think it would be easy to put that thing together - it's just a cutsey little online zine, after all! Not even a REAL magazine you can hold in your hands! But somehow, it always takes up more brain power, time power, hand power, coffee power, food power, and wine power than I think it will, especially when I wait until the very last second to get started on it like I did this time. Little snags just crop up all the time; I'll be cruising along, thinking it's done, and boom - I'll find a comma splice. Or boom, a "they're" instead of a "their." Or boom - a broken link. Or boom - something else that just looks like crap.
So yeah, there was Exhale.
Then there was my book project. Some of you know, I've been working on a memoir for a year or so, also titled Knocked Up, Knocked Down. Not that anything in my life is more memoir-worthy than anything in anyone ELSE'S life out there. It's just that this is how I decided to channel some of my pent up grieving and profanity-spewing energy, which I never quite figured what to do with. For the record, I think we should ALL write memoirs, because weaving a story from your own life is, I'm finding out, about the most cathartic thing you can do (second only to taking a Calgon bath).
I hesitate to go on and on and on about my book project here, because it just feels kind of tacky to keep mentioning it. But it has taken up about 80% of my brain space these past few weeks, jostling for attention along with Exhale, so I feel compelled to bring it up JUST THIS ONCE. And then I swear, you won't hear about it again until I publish it, okay? Can we agree to that? Okay, good. Here I go:
Last weekend, I finally finished making big, final edits to my manuscript, deleting all of the gratuitous "fucks" and "shits" that I'd been meaning to get rid of (as my mother wisely suggested, that kind of potty-mouthed approach won't get you anywhere with the sixty-something Midwestern reader who knits and makes cookies for church bake sales). She's right, of course.
The other thing I did, after much torturous writing and rewriting and waking up at ungodly hours in the middle of the night grinding my teeth, was write a synopsis telling what my book is about. As some of you know, the synopsis is essentially your book's entire plot distilled down into one or two little paragraphs, and this is what potential publishers and agents get to see first. And boy, they'd better like it. As in, they'd better want to jump right through the computer screen and gobble up those words. They'd better instantly love you enough to invite you out to a cozy diner and treat you to pie and coffee. If they don't, you won't even get a tiny glimpse at your manuscript, and then you'll get so depressed that you blast that sappy Aerosmith song that I can never remember the name of, sit around in your pajamas and cry all afternoon, eating Almond Roca straight from the container (I speak from experience).
Anyway, the synopsis. Another thing which - like Exhale - I thought would be easy. Just a little paragraph you whip out while you're eating your morning flax flakes! Easy! But no - of COURSE it's not easy. It's like, the hardest thing I've ever had to write, because it forced me to think painstakingly about this sprawling, 70,000-word manuscript that I've already spent WAY too much time looking at and thinking about, and ask myself: what the hell IS this about? And how do I put it into words that might make an agent want to come out for pie and coffee with me?
I finally came up with something. Which again, is why I've slacked on the blog this week. Kevin helped me write it, I'll admit that outright. We went back and forth about it for days on end, e-mailing each other revised drafts. You can tell he helped me write it because he used the word "mirth," which I had to look up on dictionary.com. For a brief instant, I wondered if it might be unethical for me to include a word whose meaning I had to look up. In the end, I decided to keep it, because I think that "mirth" is one of those words that makes people look good if they can use it correctly, kind of like "quinoa" and "uptick." And besides, NOW I know what "mirth" means, so if anybody questions it, I can tell them.
I'm going to show you my synopsis, but only if you promise not to laugh or run away in horror. You'd better like it, because I've already sent it out to some agents, today in fact! So you've no choice but to like it:
Knocked Up, Knocked Down
Ever since Monica LeMoine fled overseas to escape her deadbeat college boyfriend, she has prided herself on her ability to seek, find, and embrace whatever makes her feel alive, even when that means literally stuffing suitcases and dashing toward something better. Now happily married and racing into her early thirties, Monica starts a blissfully ignorant new journey toward motherhood with the help of a magical pair of g-string underwear. Over the next thirteen months, however, Monica's infectious vitality is put to the test with the abrupt deaths of her fully formed fetus and subsequent unborn baby boy. As she wanders into a disorienting world of paranoia and mourning for real and imagined lives lost, Monica gropes frantically for normalcy and renewed aliveness, often missing the mark in ways that are alternately agonizing and side-splittingly funny. When traditional grief literature and support groups fail to do any good, Monica luckily finds help in other, unexpected places – from the Speed Stick smell of her husband’s t-shirts, to a hunky Ecuadorian salsa instructor who communicates through undulating hips, to those almost-forgotten pink g-string panties.
Knocked Up, Knocked Down is about what happens when “a shitty news bomb gets dropped suddenly on your head,” as Monica puts it, making life suddenly seem un-navigable. Infused with an undercurrent of mirth that hints at Monica's enduring optimism, it is a classic story of hope's triumph over grief, life over death, with which every parent can sympathize and the legions of struggling un-parents will empathize. We cry with Monica, laugh at her episodes of temporary insanity, and cheer her on to a new beginning.
So there it is, the fruits of my labor this week. Imagine yourself picking up a book and reading the back of it, and finding that there, then settling into one of those big comfy chairs and flipping open to a random page. If you're lucky, you might even open it to the term "hard-on," which is in there somewhere. I won't tell you were. And, as I said, the last you'll hear from me about the book project until something major happens!
Oh, and I almost forgot: THE KNOCKED DOWN HUNK GALLERY!
Yes, that's happening! I'm working on it - getting little voting thingy-dingies as I promised we would. Coming this week, so check back soon! It's not too late to send me your knocked down hunk's picture - send it to monica at exhalezine dot com (why do people do that? put "monica at exhalezine dot com," I mean? I just do it because it's fun to write it that way. I suppose it's to discourage spam e-mail, but I wonder if it really works.)
'Till next time!