Saturday, February 14, 2015

Olive Juice.

Dearest Ones,

Welcome to this week's special, special, extra creamy, dark-chocolate-infused, ribbon-wrapped, 11-carat Valentine's Day update of Saturday the book.

I feel I should begin this week as every good relationship talk should begin: With an apology. They say love means never having to say you're sorry, but unless schmaltzy 70s movie dialogue has always provided you with flawless life coaching, I wouldn't recommend following that kind of advice.  The last update struck a bit of a somber note. I wrote it when I was feeling particularly frustrated with the publishing process. While it's true that the process does sometimes feel a bit like pulling teeth through my nose with a lobster fork, that's no excuse for me airing my grievances with you. I'm sorry.

From now on, whenever I come home to you from a long, frustrating day of sending out unanswered query letters to agents and publishers, I'll bear the burden with good old American quiet desperation. I'll come in the door, loosen my tie, take a hard slug of strawberry schnapps, and kiss you on the forehead.

"What's wrong?" You'll ask, concern filling your eyes.
And I'll say through clenched teeth, "Nothing, dear. Nothing whatever."

And what's more romantic than that on Valentine's Day? Nothin', says I.

 You know, I've always wondered what Valentine's Day was actually about. Like many holidays, celebrations and ritual sacrificing ceremonies, I had a vague understanding of its origins and import and celebrated as custom required: With cards, booze, and regret. But I decided it was high time I knew the truth about this most doe-eyed of annual events, so I did what you should always do with useless questions, ex-partners, and mysterious medical ailments: I looked it up on the intertubes. This is from Wikipedia:

"St. Valentine's Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. Several martyrdom stories were invented for the various Valentines that belonged to February 14, and added to later martyrologies."

If that don't pluck the ol' heart strings, ain't nothin' gonna.

Ok, ok, maybe that's where V-day started, but what's it really ABOUT? I say it's about gestures. Like making breakfast:

You can keep all your flowery prose from 70s romance movies, thank you very much. Words can fail. Breakfast never does. Nothing makes the heart go pitter patter like bacon and eggs. Of course, too many breakfasts like that and your heart might well begin to pitter patter irregularly. So I suppose neither gesture is foolproof.

At any rate, here's hoping you're spending this Valentine's Day however the %$#@ you want, whether it's with someone, eating breakfast meats, or writing flowery prose to agents and publishers. I'll leave you with what is perhaps the most romantic song of all time, which I dedicate to Chronicle Books:


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Don't Call Me Shirley.

Howdy, Saturday passengers.

Welcome on board the update flight, which is a quick, nonstop trip from sanity and brevity to a state where neither of those things exists. Feel free to imagine my voice with a southern twang coming over the PA system. I'm wearing aviator glasses, a tie with a short-sleeved shirt, and drinking bad coffee from a Styrofoam cup. Looks like we're ready to go.

The announcements up front are always the same, so feel free to ignore this part and instead use the time to leaf through the bizarre and useless items catalog, figure out what that sticky substance is on the armrest, or guess what the person in front of you could possibly be eating that makes such a putrid smell. Sbarro? Chipotle? Or is it some kind of food they brought from home in a tupperware container? Whatever it is, it smells like the burps of an obese camel that's been eating boiled cabbage.

I'm still editing. Making good progress, too. There are probably only a half dozen or so pages left that need attention. Which is pretty good, considering there are 35 or so in the whole book.

As far as the search for an agent and publisher...well, that's not exactly going well. Let's just say there has been some turbulence. Of course, you won't feel a bit of that turbulence, rest assured. But you will have to hear me complain about it. To date, I've sent out 20 query letters and received a grand total of three responses. They were rejections, to boot.

It's not as easy to stay optimistic when you've been sitting at the gate asking for permission to take off for four months. And mostly the only response I receive is silence. Honestly, the part that's the most frustrating to me is that I just want you to have this book. I felt pretty lucky that I didn't have to ask anyone's permission to create Saturday. It was a ton of fun to draw. But I didn't just do it for myself. I want to be able to share it with people. The problem for now is that I sort of have to ask permission in order to share it.

C'est la vie. I'll keep at it. I'm no closer to giving up now than I was when I started the hunt for an agent and publisher.

Here are some apropos update panels:

And here's the soundtrack for today's post: