Tommy called to wish me well, then I spoke to Hope, then Joe called, then Lisa called at the same time that I was talking to Joe.
I feel as though I’m surrounded by love and support, and this is a good thing....
No matter what happens at 3:30, I’m proud of where I’ve come and what I’ve done, and whatever occurs is just icing on the cake. Well, that’s true, but a published novel would be a cool thing, and this is a great step in that direction.
Since I’ve had some down time between my meeting this morning and my meeting at 3:30, I’ve had an opportunity to review parts of my journal during the two years before I started Live Journaling, because these entries are stored on my computer. I really have been on an amazing journey. I read these entries now, and they’re full of such repressed feeling.
I truly am better off now than I was at that point. And possibly, that’s why, while I’m nervous, I’m not terrified. I know I can face this with polish and aplomb, and I know that I can put the best face forward on my project.
Amelia is not simply an idea; it is a living, breathing thing. It is a novel that will come out, and it will be received well. It will, because it has a message, and a unique storyline. The novel may need pruning. But pruning will only make something that’s fairly solid already even that much stronger.
Gulp. Boy is this a great opportunity.
Last night I played in Manhattan with Dave, Joe, and Joe’s friend Mark. With the boys. They ogled girls and played the studs. I observed fashion trends. It was amusing to me, but I feel much more comfortable in who I am.
Well. Sitting on the train in Penn Station, waiting for it to take off. There have been massive delays with trains heading towards the Providence/Boston area, and I’m unsure when we’ll actually depart, or when I’ll arrive home. Some kind of power line thing.
Oh, right. The meeting.
It went really well!
The wait before the meeting was agonizing. I stalked the PR offices of my parent company like a caged animal, typing away, checking email, not really focusing on much. There’s an email from some guy interested in me. Ah, that can wait. Peter wrote an email, wanting to know what the silence was all about. Where did things change? This email gives me cause for pause. I need to respond to this. I need to talk to him. And I want to continue to at least be friends.
But I can’t do that now. Later.
Finally, five o’clock comes around. I leave the computer with my friend Christine and head out onto the streets of Manhattan. The agency is about twenty blocks down. Christine had recommended that I take a cab, and I heed her advice. The weather outside is downcast but humid, causing me to break out in a sweat across my bald forehead within minutes of escaping the air-conditioned sanctum of Mother M.
I arrive at the agency about fifteen minutes early. Good. Early, for once in my miserable, slightly off-kilter life. I circle around the building, to get the lay of the land, and then head in. The guard is expecting me. Hey, this is nice. I sign in and head up the elevator to floor 19.
The doors open, and I move to a set of glass doors. I try to open the door. It won’t budge. I try again, harder this time, while at the same time watching to see if the receptionist is paying any attention to me. She pretends to pay me no mind. I bite my lip and pull with all my might. The door swings open with a bang. She does look up at this, slightly concerned. I try my best to look sheepish.
I enter into the lobby like a cowboy entering a saloon, furiously chewing on a wad of stale Dentyne gum. It’s a bad habit of mine. Evil Anne once took me to task during a meeting because I was chewing gum too loudly and she wasn’t able to concentrate as a result.
With that in mind, I make my way to the lobby and state my business to the good-humored, sausage-armed receptionist. And I’m thinking, and it’s starting to get to me, “How can I get rid of this gum? Can I slip it under the seat when no one’s looking? Should I swallow it? Hell, you’ve swallowed far worse than that in the past few months, dude...”
But for some reason, I’m unable to bring myself to swallow. I meekly make my way to the receptionist and mumble a request for “a Kleenex, a paper towel, anything.” She laughs and hands me a paper towel. Just in time. Alissa opens the door and invites me in to see Jennifer.
I make my way into a gorgeous office. Alissa offers to get me a drink and leaves me with Jennifer, who sits behind the desk, looking down at a paper, not looking at me.
Jennifer is beautiful. If she were kissing thirty, it would be a miracle. She has brown hair, a slender frame, and marvelous brown eyes. And she looks up, and I look down, and I realized that my novel is on her desk, and then Alissa walks in with my water, and we trade small talk and then…
“First things first. I think this is a really interesting concept,” she starts off. “Plus, the writing is solid, which is helpful. You’re a good writer. A lot of times we get writers who have terrific ideas but their writing leaves something to be desired. Plus, it’s a quick, enjoyable read. I read 100 pages in one hour. With most books, you average 60 pages an hour. This is a good thing.”
Okay, this is a very positive start. I like this very much.
Of course, she then moved on to the suggested changes: the book can be condensed. She agrees that I need to ditch the use of the first person at the start and also feels (as does Alissa) that the use of the interior monologue can be cut. Also, that I don’t need to provide as much up front. Neither feels that I should consider dropping the Kennie/Bert alternating chapters at the end, although Jennifer indicates that she needs to complete the second half of the novel. This may also help to alleviate another concern of hers, which is that there’s not enough of the fantastic in the beginning (I explain that this is deliberate, that, unlike Harry Potter, my goal was not to place the fantastic face front, but to strike a tone of realism, and then introduce the fantastic gradually, until you are totally consumed by it by the fourth section. Exception: the prologue, which she loved.)
Alissa suggests that the use of the interior monologue slows the pace and also renders Amelia’s reaction to the Yellow Hiss somewhat unbelievable. It makes her appear too calm.
These are all great suggestions.
“Would you be willing to read a revision?” I ask.
“Absolutely,” she replies. “I’ll also try to finish the second half, and let you know my thoughts on that end.”
We talk about the sequel, which involves the brain of Albert Einstein. She laughs and mentions that they represented the author of “Driving Uncle Albert,” a book that I read to research the sequel.
I ask her when she’d like the revisions. She said, “Whenever you’d like to submit them. You set a deadline.” She agrees that we can keep the dialogue going.
Yeah, me! This is a good first meeting. Positive feedback, good suggestions, an open door. What more can I ask for?
Next step: work. And lots of it. We’re getting close.