Last week I traveled with my wife to California for the first time. We attended an Editor’s day conference at an SCBWI event in Orange County. This was our first trip to California ever. We had a laundry list of things we wanted to do and see, but ultimately couldn’t do any of them because of an overwhelming amount of work that was needed to be done instead–researching, critiquing, reading, writing, reviewing. We stayed in our hotel a lot, a pretty nice Embassy Suites, and stocked up on organic chocolate (because even chocolate in CA is healthy) and hit up a BevMo! to create a mini bar in our room for the lulls int he day. We did get to eat at Lucille’s, BB King’s BBQ restaurant. Some friends from Bennignton, Tod Goldberg who has a new book out this month OTHER RESORT CITIES, Wendy Duren, and Ryan Mecklenburg who has a short story publishing soon in Fifth Wednesday Journal with me. The food was phenomenal and the conversation was, as always, lively. The biggest highlight of the trip, however, was experiencing our very first In-N-Out burger. We each ordered a Double-Double Animal Style, which if you don’t know, is quite possibly one of the greatest burgers I have ever had. It certainly rivals the Shake Shack burger.
I am also reading a terrific non-fiction book right now by Nicholson Baker called HUMAN SMOKE. I don’t generally read non-fiction, but now that my novel is finished for the time being and I am enjoying sleeping in for a change, rather than getting up at 430AM/5AM to write, I thought it would be good to switch it up. The list style of the book interests me as it is an area of fiction I am very tied in to and int his incarnation, the listing is done in such a brilliant way through structure that it is messing with my head. I am huge fan of Joe Brainard‘s memoir I REMEMBER, so Baker’s book is kicking my ass all over the place.
Finally, and most importantly, my novel is officially on submission with editors at publishing houses. I don’t know much more than that and, frankly, am actively avoiding knowing more than that. I have been writing with a serious slant toward making this a career for 15 years now with the end goal always being to publish a book. I am still far from reaching that goal, from having that bound book in my hand, but there have been people in my life recently that are honestly and convincingly making that happen, getting me closer to it.
First, my wife who has never once told me to get my ass back into bed or to type more quietly in the early AM when I would write through a particularly exciting or dramatic scene.
Second, my friend Jessica Burkhart who has been through the publishing gauntlet herself and not only succeeded, but succeeded beyond her wildest imagination.
And finally, my Agent Doug Stewart, who keeps giving me the facts and nothing more, keeping me informed and leveled headed, which whether he realizes it or not is exactly what I want and need.
Oh, and then I guess there are my parents who call me at random times to freakout in my ear about how excited they are about the submission process and want to know every dirty detail about it. I have to tell them that it has only been a day and a half and I don’t really have much information to give.
For the time being, I have a new friend in my life, who has been keeping me company and listening to my concerns, giving me advice and hugging me when I am feeling insecure. Here is to you, new friend!