Wednesday, September 2, 2009


This blog is dedicated to My Gram, God love the woman. She's 94, and the highlight of her social life these days is me (and my kid) coming down to go out for lunch, where she hopes she will run into people she knows so she can prove that her grand (and great-grand) kids love her more. Seriously, you can almost see her going, "Neener, neener!" Of course, this gets harder every day--she's outlived just about everyone who would care.

But, back to the point, which is Work. In a completely undisguised attempt to guilt-trip me into coming down, Gram has taken to saying, "I know you're busy with (enter list of things she thinks we think are more important than she is), but maybe one day when you're not working, you can come down for lunch."

And my response? "Gram, I'm always working." She didn't believe me--I only go to an office outside my home three days a week. Plenty of time to come down for lunch! So, recently, I've been spelling it out a little more for her.

I have two and one half jobs. That's 2 1/2 for the word-challenged. Let's review:

1. Writer, Editor, and Phone Answer-er: Also known as the Day Job these days, I edit, re-write, graphically design and place art in supplemental educational workbooks for grades three through eight, three days a week. And when I'm there, I also answer the phone, take messages, etc. It's a family business, run by a father and his two sons, and they're a little, um, concerned with the business image, so I'll omit the company name here. Nice guys, though. The main (just about only) benefit I get from this job is The Lovely Mary, who is technically my managing boss, super good friend, Grammar Goddess, and all around Idea Sounding Board. Even if I become rich and famous (or at least rich), I will still have to go to work so that I can talk to The Lovely Mary. Plot development does not happen without her. Often, whole novels do not happen without her. No Man's Land, aka the bull riding book, was entirely her inspiration.

2. Instructor, English as a Second Language: Also known as the Night Job these days, I am into week four now of teaching ESL at our local community college. I won't lie, it's been a challenge. It's at night on Mondays and Wednesdays, after I've already put in seven hours at the Day Job. This was not a good idea. Next semester it will be on Tuesday/Thursday so that I can space out all my talking. Really. I only have so much talking in me in any given day. Ask my husband. Still, I like it, challenging students and all. I taught ESL for five years in Chicago when we lived there. It's nice to get back to it.

Those are the two careers I have. Editor and teacher. Both perfectly respectable jobs for a woman with two degrees in English and a four-year-old son.

But then there's the half. The Authorial part of being the Authorial Mom. Writing romance novels. New Western romance novels, to boot. As soon as I sell a book, I will upgrade that 'half' to a 'whole' career. Getting an agent moved it from 'hobby' to 'half' career. Major progress, in technically less than two years.

Really, I know you knew that. But here's the update on the half. As you may (or may not) recall, my agent got four editors to look at the Noseless Cowboy book, AKA (currently) Even Good Guys Wear Masks (subject to change). Well, the Major Editor, the Top Dog of that small pile, passed on the book because of, well, the noseless part.

Which leads directly to an Authorial Existential Crisis. If I give Jacob a nose, does that sell a book at the cost of Authorial Integrity? If I never sell a noseless cowboy, have I put a price tag on Authorial Integrity? If I give him a nose and still don't sell, what does that say about Authorial Integrity to begin with? How much is Authorial Integrity worth these days, anyway?

Heavy thinking. The kind that comes with late nights and red wine. Forgive me.

Back to the topic, which was, if I recall correctly, Work. So, on Labor Day, I will get the day off from my Day Job. I will get the night off from my Night Job. But I will get no break from the half. The vegetarian book--somewhat officially known as Vegetarians Have More Fun--is almost done. The next book, roughly titled Redeeming Vicky, is itching to get on the page.

And, of course, let's not forget the other aspect of my professional life: Mom and Chief Home Remodeller. That will be most of my weekend. What do you think?

(The name of that color is "Princess of Windsor Pink." Is it just me, or did that come out a lot more orange?)

(Pretend with me that three years have passed. Betcha we can't see that hearse anymore!)

Yeah, me too. Bring on the wallpaper border, furniture, and mulch!

Going to be a fun weekend.

Happy Labor Day!


Blythe Gifford said...

We always "labored" on Labor Day when I was a kid, too. Thanks for the kind words about my book! And remember that one editor's opinion is only one editor's opinion. Your agent thinks she can sell it. Hold off on the existential crisis and let her.

Sarah M. Anderson said...

Blythe--The Voice of (Existential) Reason! Thanks!

lucylucia said...

Yeah, I'm going with Blythe here. What makes the noseless cowboy special without the missing nose? Then again, if he's all sorts of interesting with or without one, how much does it matter?

I love the color of the room. I can't really make out if it looks too orange - my monitor may be misleading - but it is a lovely color!!

Sarah M. Anderson said...

Thanks, Lucy! Although a second editor passed on it last night, but from the content of her rejection letter, she wouldn't have been a good fit for me anyway. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Ann said...

I sort of like the idea of somehow incorporating your existential argument into the story itself. Like calling a time out on the narrative, inserting the argument, and then carrying on with the story.

Maybe this whole thing will turn into performance art. Kind of like Spalding Gray. You sit down, begin to read the book, but the story gets all wound up in your story about getting the book written and published. And somehow the hearse gets worked in:)

Ann said...

BTW pink is the new neutral. You are so ahead of the curve.

Sarah M. Anderson said...

Ann, that is some seriously deep stuff for Saturday night. Seriously.