I’m sitting at Tea Lounge borrowing their unpredictable WiFi to post an entry. For almost two weeks, I’ve had no internet/email connection. I thought it was the modem, but according to the guy from Time Effing Warner Cable (my pet name for them) who came out and tested the line, it’s “working fine.” Yeah, kind of like my government’s working fine. The hell? DUDE, I CANNOT CONNECT TO THE INTERNET! NO EMAIL! NO ONLINE BROWSING OF ARCANE FACTOIDS THAT HAVE NO RELEVANCE TO MY LIFE AT ALL SAVE TO HELP ME PROCRASTINATE! No early morning reading of Broadsheet in Salon.com. No accidental wanderings to web pages of creepy information and even creepier socks. I can’t even order refrigerator magnets. And really, you can never have too many magnets.
The kind and technologically sound husband has gone in search of a new router. I hope this fixes the problem. Wish I could just order a new router in my brain to help me through the rewrite. I’ve pretty much decided to scrap about, um, 2/3rds of my novel and start over. I would be caught in a vortex of doom, despair, and vomit-worthy panic except for one thing: Denial. Yes, denial is the way of my people, and as a coping mechanism, it doesn’t completely suck. Denial allows you to say things like, “But I always throw away a lot of my novels.” (You say this while smiling through tears and stirring your coffee very, very deliberately as if it is the only thing tethering you to the earth, which it is, but that’s another matter.) Denial stands with you in the kitchen at 10 pm while you’re feverishly baking roughly 1,487 cupcakes for your son’s combo birthday party/school Thanksgiving luncheon and says, “Hey, plenty of time to get that novel knocked out. Oooh, let’s do sprinkles! Pretty, pretty sprinkles!” Denial is the little voice in your ear that whispers, “Novels with plots are so yesterday. How about just 600 pages of free association? And line drawings of your navel dressed as a pirate or Queen Elizabeth I.” Denial allows you to slip out one evening and watch “Borat.” Denial will never tell you that the novel you’re writing makes you look fat.
Then there’s Denial’s evil twin, Reality. Occasionally, as you’re staring at your blank screen, eating leftover Halloween candy gone to seed and stealing glances at that really hot picture of Jamie Bamber in People’s Sexiest Men Alive issue (have mercy!), Reality will sneak up behind you and karate-chop your ass. Then, as you’re lying on the floor, cringing in terror and pain, Reality will say, “Have you been freebasing the frosting on those cupcakes, bitch? Can I just mention that you have TWO MONTHS. TO COMPLETELY. REVISE. A 600-PAGE. MANUSCRIPT? You don’t know what time it is with the big, bad Winterlands creatures! You need to write the origin story for the Tree of All Souls! You need to figure out the whole Wilhemina Wyatt angle! What’s up with the Order and the Rakshana and Lily Trimble and Circe and Tom and Dad and Pippa/Felicity/Ann/Gemma/Kartik/Gorgon/Philon and that creepy spider-like guy who keeps popping up in the Borderlands? Focus! And FYI? if I have to listen to a moody iPod playlist of Roxy Music, Sigur Ros, and Echo and the Bunnymen ONE MORE TIME, I will go insane! Download some Stooges or Fishbone. Sheesh.”
If Denial is Rachel Ray, Reality is Samuel L. Jackson. And I think you should always put your money on Mr. Jackson and whatever’s in that briefcase.
On Sunday, when I’d reached a point of sweetly pirouetting about the house while singing the phrase, “I am so f—-d” to various showtunes, Holly Black, Cassie Clare and Emily Lauer staged an intervention. Or maybe they’d gotten sick of hearing me whine via email. They met me at Tea Lounge North where we took over one end of an absurdly long table directly under the world’s loudest speakers, and they proceeded to grill me on magic, origin stories, and that troublesome ending (the phrase, “BATTLEHANDS!” brings me a giggle even as I type this). I think we were there for four hours and I ingested enough coffee to make me as fidgety as a toddler. But the ending came into glorious view. Thank God for the generosity of other writers. I’m really lucky to know such brilliant, talented people. Thanks, ladies. Dinner on me.
Slowly, slowly it’s starting to take shape. I’m still panicked but I’m also having those tingly moments where I go, “Oh. OH! Right! Got it!” Revision is not for the faint of heart. And let me tell, when this sucker is turned in sometime in January (my editor, who is probably reading this and wondering how I dare to take time from the furious writing to post, is smiling and going, “Nice try, Lib. January 15th, baby. Mark it in red.” My editor is lovely and kind and gracious. The best editor in the whole wide world. And I will be ducking her calls all day on the 15th.) I’m going to do nothing but stare at my ceiling and chew Double Bubble and maybe make a replica of the David out of the chewed pieces. I think I may take a suggestion from folks on this list and post some of the scenes that won’t make it into the book as soon as I know what’s hitting the cutting room floor.
***SHOUT OUT TO MY FRIENDS IN MONTREAL: I will be speaking at the Jewish Public Library on Monday, November 27th in beautiful Montreal, Canada. I think it’s at 7pm? If you’re nearby and so inclined, come on down. I’d love to see you there.
And to the American side, Happy Thanksgiving to all.