The Quick(ish) Descent to Thesis Insanity: Manic Tuesday

I am embarrassed, friends, to report that I committed a rather large  
error a few weeks ago that I now feel (not entirely)comfortable  
sharing with the group: Noticing a recent sale on Publisher’s Lunch,  
my editor asked me if I would be interested in doing a Cover Q & A  
with a high profile writer (whose will remain nameless for obvious  
and organic reasons). Naturally I said I would and got on the  
Internets, utilizing the search engine Google and many of the other  
tools a fantastic investigative journalist like myself keeps at his  
disposal. After a cursory search, I located the email address of her  
agent and publicist from her first work, and sent them (in my  
opinion!) a well crafted, polite-but-like-pretty-excited, professional  
query. Understanding the snail’s pace at which the publishing world  
works, I promptly fell back into my thesis and forgot about it until  
my editor sent me a message with the subject head: ???, asking if I’d  
heard anything.

I had not, and it had been a decent amount of time and time, friends,  
is money. Write that down. Anyway, I went back to the InterWeb to  
investigate the (cold?) case and found that said author had actually  
left her old agent/publisher for new ones, meaning my gushing  
congratulatory email praising her book sale to her old scorned agent  
probably wasn’t the best thing said agent woke up to that morning. I  
considered apologizing but thought I should just let the sleeping  
dog lie, even if it wasn’t sleeping and was kind of bitter. Anyway,  
if there is a moral to be learned from this story, it probably  
involves counting chickens, hatching, and being more thorough in  
getting up-to-date information re: subjects you are about to contact.

As for the thesis insanity: I am now officially back on my grind  
after having taken a hiatus to jump up and all over a Boston Mag  
feature and–while my writing is rusty and my use of metaphors  
cheesy–it feels hella (shout out to Norcal!) chill to get back to  
writing about the aftermath of alleged fictional sexual assaults.

The section I’m re-writing now involves the coast of the state of  
Maine and–while I’ve been there almost infinity times– I’m having  
my own personal mission impossible picturing what I’m writing about,  
and my Google image search is being both stubborn and ambivalent to  
my needs, probably due to troubles with women. I keep imagining a  
time in the not-so-far future when my thesis is done and sent off and  
the weather isn’t close to zero Celsius in April, and I’m wearing my  
standard summer outfit of cut-off jean shorts and jean jacket (no  
shirt!) sipping on a cool (virgin!) Daiquiri listening to the gentle  
rhythms of Buffalo Tom. This–and several bowls of Honey Bunches of  
Oats– are the only things propelling me through this week.

If you can’t already tell, I’m a little bit manic this morning.  
Please enlighten me to your own writing needs for the week, the  
attire you might rock to a 1994 themed party, and anything else you  
feel the urge to share in the Show N Tell portion of the Comments. In  
the meantime, we’re still dropping hits from 1988.

The Loco,
Motion

Kylie Minogue

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15 thoughts on “The Quick(ish) Descent to Thesis Insanity: Manic Tuesday

  1. valerie82

    Time is money yet here I am. My writer’s needs include learning to be a photographer by cutting out magazine pictures much like I did in middle school. Instead of plastering them to my bedroom walls, I will try to duplicate the image with my Nikon Coolpix asking a professional photographer to help match my results to the glossy print from Esquire. My favorite magazine targets men. Then I will purchase a Writer’s Market to read like a rare novel.
    To the 1994 themed party I’d plaster a magazine cutout of Kurt Cobain to my head and dress like a Spice Girl.

    So wild, standing there, with her hands in her hair,
    Valerie, call on me-call on me, valerie

  2. Tom

    Genevieve, Yep, she’s totally innocent, so it’s not like she has any expectations…and yet somehow she’s doing everything the correct way???? I called her a couple of weeks ago while I was stuck on a story just to tell her I was stuck. She said something like, "Well, sometimes I get stuck too, but then I think about it and I get unstuck." Clever girl!

    I imagine Kev’s fingers are aching, and I begrudge him nothing.

    I DID enjoy my caffeine yesterday, with foam…and vanilla. I daresay I caught myself basking a time or two.

  3. Genevieve

    Tom, I think the answer to that question is: all the lessons you can get. She hasn’t been crushed by the real world yet, man. Bask in the unadulterated glow of the young! Bask like never before!

    Kevin is probably working full tilt on his book. I hope where ever he is, the writing is going swimmingly. Oh, and writing in a coffee shop might be cliche, but who cares if it’s caffeinated and delicious? Bask in the delicious! (yes, I’m feeling a tad bit silly today)

  4. Tom

    I’m just dropping in to say I miss the Thursday blog we didn’t get. I’m hoping that at the end of all of this we get a "Kevin Alexander: The Lost Blogs – a Collection of Missives that Should Have Made It."

    On the writing nees for the week thing, I still need to write. I went to the coffee shop to write yesterday (yeah, shoot me. It’s cliche, but it (usually) works), and instead read the YA book my niece gave me to read. This is the same nine-year-old niece who has all her characters written out for her short story that she’s only five pages into writing. When I asked her about her punctuation on her dialogue she said, "Yeah, Mrs. Jenkins taught us that, but I’m not good at it yet, so I’m going to worry about it now. I’m going to write the story and then go back and fix it when I’m done." Yeah, I’m not sure how many more writing lessons I can take from an author who plays with Webkinz in her spare time.

  5. Kim

    My writing needs for the coming week: I need to start sending my work out with the hope of having something published somewhere and perhaps even getting paid for it. I’m in the midst of a spring spending spree and could really use some extra cash.

    Clothing circa 1994: Wow. What a great year. My boyfriend (now husband) and I were planning to elope to Rome, the Bulls were hot, and I was wearing lots of black / white / khaki. Silk sarongs and linen shirts. Flat sandals. A two-piece bathing suit, for the first time in . . . well, never mind.

    Anything else I feel the urge to share: I’ll be vacationing in NoCal in late June. Do you know where the tide pools are???

    Hope you’ve come down from your manic moment . . .
    Kim

  6. Shelly

    Cereal of choice: Cinnamon Life but I do have two unopened boxes of Honey brunches, so Kev if your runninng short and can’t leave the house… gotcha covered.

    I guess my goal for writing this week would be to write. I’ve been reworking my opening chapters and that has changed my entire story so I have a lot to redo and rethink and … well .. rewrite. At least my reader got back to me yesterday and gave me some good feedback.

    Clothing for 1994 – baggy college sweatshirt with the big captial letters sewn on with contracting thread, navy blue baseball cap (most likely a Penn state hat that I took from my dad), jeans and black Adidas sambas.

  7. Pat

    My huge mistake was while inviting writers to speak at a conference I mixed up two names. After praising an author’s writing and her how much I loved said series of books, the author informed me, via –e-mail that she was not THAT Kathryn. Oh so embarrassing.

    My writing goals have just changed from editing an anthology (just came off a month of NaNoEdMo) to writing six entries for a writers’ conference: Deadline 10 days. So what am I doing, Kevin, is reading and answering on your blog. Procrastination is my thing. I will be writing through the wee hours the night before my deadline. Why can’t I manage my writing time better?

    My dress code as always: denim shorts and a soft, roomy tee shirt; shoes, occasionally, if I have to leave the house.

    And, yes Kevin, I too am ready for a real Spring with lots of sunshine and 70ish temperatures.

  8. BJ

    My goal this week is to dust myself off after recieving a box of rejection letters and send more queries while trying to go on about my life with my head held high and telling myself that I do not suck! That may require a not so virgin beverage and possibly the loud rantings of Twisted Sister.

    I live in coastal Maine. If i can be of any help feel free to email!

  9. Kristan C.

    Cut-off… jean shorts? Oh, honey. No.

    My only writing goal this week is to make my editor happy and by doing that I must stay away from the Go Fug Yourself’s Fug Madness.

  10. Jessica

    Goal for writing this week, hmm. That would be to spend more time actually writing and less time resisting the temptation that is the internets. In math problem form, my writing schedule would look something like this:

    perezhilton.com > me ruminating over my protagonist’s plight as she travels through the topography of Switzerland

    I also frequently find myself "researching" on homeaway.com as I search for my protagonist’s perfect summer villa rental in Malta, should she decide to venture there after Switzerland. You know, just in case.

    As for the weather, I would gladly switch places with you. It was 90 degrees (Fahrenheit) here in glorious Hell-A…sorry I mean L.A., last week. I miss seasons.

  11. Mindy

    This week I need to get my final outline straight in my head so that I can finish writing the fourth draft of the story I’m working on. Why I did this writing a novel in reverse (story first, outline later) I have no idea, but I think I’m going to refrain from making that mistake on the next one.

    As far as the ’94 theme party, I’d sport tapered jeans, bright fuschia colored socks that peaked between my pant legs and high tops, and an oversized sweatshirt with bunnies on it like I was known for. At 10 I was victim to whatever Mom picked out.

    Good luck with the thesis!

  12. Tom

    I was a fan of the Honey Nut Cheerios back as a young’un. No cereal these days, although if I had to pick I’d probably go for either regular Cheerios or Corn Chex. I must be getting old, truckloads of sugar just don’t get it for me these days.

    Oh, and there’s good news on the Kylie Minogue front! Apparently she has a new recording out! (Always keeping my ear to the grindstone on this stuff.)

    My writing needs for this week are to get a final draft done on a story I conceived probably six years ago and finally wrote last month. It’s there, but it’s not "happening," if you know what I mean. It seemed perfect in my head, but some other character showed up (a woman!), and I’m completely confused as to whether the changes caused by said femme were good, bad, or just not necessary to the story. I think direction or enlightenment is what I need, ’cause the goal was to get it sent out at the end of March. Crap.

    No thoughts on dressage for a ’94-themed party. I graduated that year, and there’s a photo of me asleep against a dart machine in a bar at 5:30am wearing completely nondescript jeans and a T-shirt. That’s all I got. Not the fashion plate, was I.

    Oh, and Kev, on that mistakes stuff? One time I used my editor’s Fedex account number to send numerous packages to other editors at the same publishing company. I didn’t realize it was an employee-specific number. Oops.

  13. Renee

    Party attire for ’94: Definitely one of those hypercolor shirts long enough to put a belt around, and a slap bracelet. Yes, I was a nerd…wait I still am!!!

  14. Genevieve

    My goal for this week is to stop procrastinating and finish the darn article about properly marking your home address so that firefighters don’t get lost. You would think that they would just look for the house that’s on fire but nooooooooo! They need to go by fancy smancy addresses. As you can tell, the subject matter was not my idea, but the brainchild of the fire chief who is tired of getting lost in rural Louisiana. Seriously, some of these residents mark their house numbers on cows which they can’t train to stay in the front yard.

    My breakfast cereal of choice: Total raisin bran
    My actual breakfast cereal of choice when I’m not dieting: Cookie Crisp

    My 1994 party attire: Ripped jeans, my Chucks that I wore that year which were covered in my friend’s graffiti, a Nirvana T-shirt, and a cute guy’s red flannel shirt.

    My zen note to Kevin: You will get through it one bowl of cereal at a time.

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