Sunday, December 14, 2014

No one's in the kitchen with Dinah. No one's in the kitchen I know.


Welcome to the latest update of "Saturday" the book, scooped fresh out of the industrial-sized cafeteria warming tray of my imagination and glopped onto the mostly-clean, still-wet-from-the-dishwasher, tray of your mind.

Fortunately, your tray has a series of square partitions, or "food dams" to keep the different sections separate. Because, really, is there anything worse than having your creamed corn reach its gooey tentacles over and touch that other thing on your tray that you actually wanted to eat? Anyhoo, feel free to skip any part of this meal you like and move on to the part you're going to enjoy the most.

First course: the progress report: I'm just starting the edits on page 6. The previous page (page five for the mathematically challenged among you) needed some fairly extensive edits. A little over half of the panels needed to be changed. Some of the panels needed to be thrown out entirely and re-cooked. They weren't inedible, per se. I think you would have eaten them. But they would have been bland and uninteresting and, in spite of the fact that I'm wearing a hairnet and a name tag, I still take my job seriously and I'm looking for consistent quality.  The good kind of quality.

Second course: The business of lunch. I'm still on the hunt for an agent and publisher. I have very little control over this part of the meal. All I can do is research companies and then send polite query letters. At this point, even receiving a "no" response feels like a victory. For the most part, all I get is the sound of silence. And in the naked light I saw 10,000 letters. Maybe more. To be fair, I've heard agents and publishers are all severely busy. I've also heard that it's pretty much useless to contact them between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can't say that this is a particularly palatable process for me, but it will be tough for me to serve this meal to you without an agent and publisher.

Third course: The entree. This panel comes from page five of "Saturday", which is a Tuesday in India McGreevy's world. India's at school. It's a rough day, but she's not defeated yet. I'm usually not broken by the time Tuesday rolls around, either. I think, "Yeah, it's only Tuesday, but I've made it through Monday. How bad could the rest of it be?" Sometimes, depending on the week, it's best not to hear the answer to that. Or even to pose the question in the first place.

Here's the original panel:

Here's the new version:

When I was younger and I thought about the future (which was seldom), I thought I would be mostly making my own delicious food and then eating it. I thought I would have complete control over every meal and I would never have to stomach anything I didn't enjoy. These days, I figure I'm in the lunch line with everyone else. And most days, I'm happy to be in line. The meals are mostly good. But some days, man. Some days they make you wait forever to eat and then slap something on your tray that looks like death, smells like sadness and tastes like leftover, moldy depression.

Now I'm looking for my chance to be on the other side of the line, serving. But even that's not such an easy job.

The point is, I know you're probably hungry. I've been working on this meal for a long time. But it's coming. It's in the kitchen. But I need a lunch lady (or man) before it can be served. If I can't find one, I'll just have to work multiple shifts. But I'll get it to you. And I'll keep my fingers crossed that you like it.