Doing laps in the LA Fishbowl

Adventures in Publishing: The Ecstasy and the Agony

“And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin, When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-end of my days and ways
And how should I presume?”
—T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

It is real, folks. I’m hitched. I’ve just signed my publishing contract with St. Martin’s Press. Still Life Las Vegas in Spring 2015— book clubs forming now! Nothing thrills the soul more than thirty pages of legalese in which your name is referred to as “Author.” Nothing like it. I read every paragraph and sub-paragraph, excluded territories and all. It was a real page-turner; looking forward to a sequel!

After such wonderful confirmation, is there anything that could possibly knock me from such a giddy height? Ah, enter the Knight of Mirrors, galloping in from an email attachment sent by my editor: the Author Questionnaire. Such an innocous title— the Author Questionnaire— how could it inspire so much pain? The Author Questionnaire sounds like it might be some lovely time filler, a whimsical series of questions that might grace the back of Parade Magazine, next to Marilyn Savant’s Mensa quizzes.

Instead, it’s a soul-flaying survey of your life. Ostensibly, the Author Questionnaire is a series of questions about you and your book that the publicity department will use to position you in an overcrowded literary marketplace. What about your life can they can use to sell you—er, me (see, I’m deflecting already) to a public who is not related to you me. Who do I know? What have I done? Who can review my book or say something glowing about me?

Oh, it’s enough to make an inveterate introvert

“No, I have not yet updated my status… the winters, they are long.”

burst into flame. My misanthropic tendencies have been laid bare. Is “Social Hermit who lives in Cave and Forages for Acorns” a helpful attribute? Apparently not. Moreover, the negative space surrounding my meagre answers make me keenly aware of all the things I meant to have done by now, but haven’t. Conferences? Twitter Feeds? Uh…soon…

What the heck have I been doing? Important things! Here are some of my most recent crowning achievements:

• Reached level 36 on “Simpsons: Tapped Out” on my iPad (that’s the HIGHEST level)

How could THIS be a waste of time? Look at the urban planning! 

• Received the prestigious Parent Ambassador Plaque at my son’s 
elementary school, for OCD Library Reshelving above and beyond duty
• Completed the Friday NYT crossword puzzle in 14:10 minutes

• Gold Founders Circle Membership at Arclight Cinemas (hey, a free popcorn upgrade 
EVERY TIME and a complimentary birthday ticket!)

• Can recite half of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
Animated by Christopher Scott. Read by the author himself. 
I know, it’s an abridged version, don’t get all hatin’…

• World Record for shortest recorded time attending a social function, in and out: 
23.5 minutes, INCLUDING drive time (Guinness confirmation pending)

• Three punches away from a free frozen yogurt at at Menchies 

• Have I mentioned that level 36 is the highest level in “Simpsons: Tapped Out”?

I await the Pulitzer Committee’s call.

November 4th, 2013 - Still Life Las Vegas


4 responses to “Adventures in Publishing: The Ecstasy and the Agony”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh my goodness! Too funny. I still think you are amazing!!! Despite your negative spaces.
    Congrats! Sending lots of Love, D

  2. Genevieve says:

    Hang in there, kiddo. And, CONGRATULATIONS! genevieve

  3. Karen says:

    14.10 on the Friday NYT puzzle? Impressive. I always finish, but never under 15 minutes. Half of Prufrock? I've got 1/18th of the Wasteland committed to memory. I can't measure up. I look forward to seeing these and all of your other accomplishments memorialized on the dustjacket of YOUR BOOK. Miss you much. Hugs to Doug. Karen T.

  4. James Sie says:

    Just memorized all of Prufrock. So there's that.

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