Thursday, December 24, 2009

No Excuses

The box has arrived in its familiar Amazon packaging. Note: I usually buy books at the New England Mobile Bookfair, walking distance from home. Purchasing from Amazon makes me feel guilty (see previous post). But this time, it couldn't be helped.

I grab a knife and pry open the box. More prying to cut through the packaging of the item itself. And here it next mountain scaled, or my next tumble into the abyss. My screenplay-writing software is in my hands.

I'm still awaiting Amy's (hired editor) verdict on my novel. How many diplomatic ways are there to say "this is an unpublishable piece of crap?"

The conventional wisdom says that a real writer should always be writing. Except for this blog, I haven't written anything since my last revision of the novel, a couple of months ago. So here goes. The story that's calling to me seems to lend itself more to a screenplay than a book. So I've ordered the "Final Draft" software, and gotten as far as opening the package. As soon as I (fill in some blanks that will take about an hour), I swear on my Bat Mitzvah Bible that I will install the program and Start My Screenplay. Wish me luck.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I am reading a terrific book called The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt, which I picked up off the sale table at Brookline Booksmith as a Chanukah gift for my daughter. It's a collection of essays by Jewish women writers - among them Ayelet Waldman, Daphne Merkin, and Katie Roiphe. Some are poignant, others provocative, and nearly all are funny.

Fast forward three years. I'm a Famous Writer, and I'm asked to write a piece for a new edition (there can't be too many words written about Jewish guilt, right?). This will be my contribution.

On Guilt, by Andi Brown

Here's what I feel guilty about:

I lost the plans for our neighborhood park.
I put the funds from our yard sale for the neighborhood park into a bank account and they dwindled away to nothing due to interest charges when
I dropped the ball on the neighborhood park.
I pretended to believe my son when he pretended to be too sick to go to school.
I forgot to pick up my neighbor's newspaper when she went on vacation.
I haven't yet begun my research into the energy used in producing rubber bands vs. plastic bags so I can mount my campaign asking the newspaper delivery company to stop using plastic bags and go back to the rubber bands.
I spent too much money on...everything, especially that crappy all-inclusive Mexican vacation.
Everything else.

Here's what I don't feel guilty about:

I bring my own canvas bags to the supermarket.
Nothing else.

The End.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Doctor in the House

My book may or may not be sick, but a diagnosis is required, so I've called in a book doctor. Hooray for refinancing the mortgage, which frees up some bucks for this expenditure.

This literary effort of mine will soon be declared dead or alive by the sentries at the publishing gates, the literary agents who will sit in judgment on my words. My engagement of a professional editor to critique my work before I send it out to agents (for the third or fourth time) is either evidence of my confidence (it's worth investing in) or total lack thereof (Help!!!) I turned to Grub Street, a writers' organization in Boston, which offers critiques by several area writers and teachers. I'm asked to choose the two readers I like best. I linger over the bio of Semi-Famous Writer With Movie Connections. But her interests aren't a great fit with my work, so I move on, finally selecting two candidates.

I hear back about three days later. I've been assigned an editor I'll call Amy. A day later, Amy sends me an email telling me she'll start reading that day, and hopes to have my critique (three written pages and an in-person meeting is what I'm paying for) by the end of December, and possibly before Christmas. I'm tempted to find out where Amy lives so I can go over to her house and smash her TV so she'll be forced to do nothing but read my novel and write thoughtful, helpful comments about it for the next few weeks, but I manage to talk myself out of it.