Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fox Update

A wise and companionable friend asked why I don't write in this blog often enough. I didn't have a good answer for her, so this means I must write in the blog. And give her an appropriate pseudonym. Shall we call her Riboflavin? Excellent.

Summer has been a busy blooming time for this 'ere rose: I've worked-out, interviewed, and -- most importantly -- written. Physical therapy for Achilles tendonitis just ended: it really worked this time, and I'm keeping up the foot exercises, weight-lifting, and pilates religiously at my gym. In a year, I will have gone from a hobble to running up stairs. Nothing short of a miracle after three years of chronic pain. It also doesn't hurt that all this working out has slimmed me down a bit, too. A bit lower in the poundage, and I think I'll get myself a blue silk sari.

The interviewing I mentioned has all been with the same company, which I'll name Logos to keep it private. I've had two interviews and one editing test so far -- the process has dragged all summer. I can well believe it when economists state that companies are taking their time with new hires. My first interview went swimmingly, but I'm a bit anxious about how the second went. Sure, it was a success in any case because my clothes were made of flaming red womanpower, but in the broader scheme of things, I'm not sure I sold myself particularly well. The woman behind the desk had interviewed several just before me, and she was clearly pressed for time. I may not have sounded it, but I felt like I was screaming, "I'm a people person!" à la Office Space. Oh well. I'll find out next week as to whether I've got a cubicle at Logos, or a dismissive pat on the rump.

At least my real words are working for me. This has been the writing summer of wonder. In just two months, one short story is awaiting acceptance or rejection at a random webzine, one short story is being read by some of my readers, another chapter has been written, and several short stories are emerging from their beginning phase. Creative words clutter my notebooks, my voice recorder, my waking and dreaming thought. I've even revived the old writing group and spread my fire, putting up word exercises and reading others' submissions, not to mention finally tackled the three novels my Aunt Violet sent to me some time ago. A lot of word confidence is spinning around my head, and I want to use it to its fullest before I get my first rejection.

Looking back, I can understand why "beginning phase" sounds rather pathetic. "So what if short stories are in a beginning phase?" you might ask. "That's what, a paragraph?" So let me explain my phases to you. Being the lunatic organizer I am, I have a master list of all stories in progress, color-coded according to phase of writing. The last three phases have to do with publication. There are also the writing and review phases, two and three, respectively. The beginning phase includes early research, which can be enormous, particularly for the science-fiction. It also includes character and world creation. Most importantly, it encompasses only one form of writing: the first sentence. Anything beyond the first sentence --even the title -- is second phase, since a short story tends to flow well for me after that. There's so much pressure to produce a good first sentence that I've had stories sit that way for weeks after everything else is done, waiting for the right set of words to blast it off. So much of writing is sheer work, not inspiration, but that first sentence has to be dynamine. It has to appeal to the curious, suggest questions. It's what makes an editor keep reading. Thus, I'm willing to wait for inspiration. I just got the first sentence to one of the phase-one stories and I'm very excited to finally begin. Onward with the words!

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