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Suspended Animation.

I'm in suspended animation.

One manuscript, the kidlit one, is with the three editors who actually know more than we ("K"and I) do about kidlit series. If they say nay then I'm in trouble. It will mean I've made a big, costly, six-months-of-my-life mistake. Waiting to hear.

Having fired an agent a couple months ago I'm finally back looking for a place to send the adult book. Agent, agent, anyone have an adult agent? Kidlit I can send over-the-transom because I know people. In grown-up books I know no one. Waiting to send it out, don't quite know why I'm waiting.

Malibu Movie Guy got back in touch, wants us involved in "the creative" on the movie pitch for the old book series we'll call "A" -- just to be irritatingly cryptic. Wants to fly us to Hollywood to pay us our props, make sure we're on his team. Would rather have us inside the tent pissing out rather than outside pissing in, I suppose. If a movie gets made that's good for us. (Merchandise money, bay-bee.) But that "if" is something like a one in ten shot probably. Waiting to hear from him.

We don't know what the hell to do about the kid's schools. The decisions have to be made now and all parties have more or less simultaneous deadlines so that we have to say "no" to school A before we find out if we're getting a "yes" from school B. "K," has never faced a choice which she couldn't complicate with endless new options, and I've never faced a choice where I don't secretly want the answer to be, "let's run away to Italy." Waiting to hear, waiting to exhaust all choices, waiting for K to say, "You know, you're right: let's all run away to Italy."

Toward the end of April I'm off to shoot a documentary in London, Paris Amsterdam, Madrid and Barcelona. Just shy of two weeks with three guys and way too much work. The spontaneous parts are easy for me, the scripted stuff is hell. I have no memory. Me doing Hamlet: "To be or . . . Line?" Okay. "To be or not to. . . Line?" Okay. "To. . . Line?" Honest to God, there are houseplants with better memories. More waiting, tapping my watch.

In part because of the terror of appearing on-camera I'm trying to lose weight. 6'2" and 240 is sort of my default setting. That picture up there in the profile? That's about 240. So I'm on the fucking elliptical and lifting weights. I've dropped seven in three weeks and I've gone from staggering through 20 minutes on the machine to cruising pretty confidently to a full hour. I'm in better shape than I have any right to be. I'm 52 and look 57. But I should look at least 60 given my life. But I know myself: when it comes to diet and exercise I have the self-discipline of a degenerate gambler with a roll of twenties in one hand and a pair of dice in the other. So I'm waiting to fall off the wagon.

Across my bedroom there's a white board with things I'm supposed to be writing. The heading at the top says, appropriately enough, "Top Job." Under that it says, "Conversations." That's the documentary. It means I should be working on the script, but I have a hard time working on the script because I am a good phenomenologist who believes he should go forth with the barest minimum number of assumptions. A script -- even one I'll discard, even one I know is just a thought exercise, an aid to planning, feels like a series of assumptions. Makes me cranky. I'm not so much waiting on that as stalling.

Beneath the "Top Job" slot on the white board are a bunch of other things I need to work on. I don't have time. But they nag at me. And the list isn't even inclusive because, see, I know "CW," one of the editors referenced above, needs a monthly middle grade series that can appeal across gender lines, and I cannot stand not responding to a market, and I haven't even written that down. I have to wait to see first how he reacts to the kidlit project I sent him.

My sister has what is likely to be a fatal cancer. We're not close. But she is my younger sister, 48, with a two-year-old daughter and a failing marriage. I try to offer advice that doesn't cross any lines. Like I have anything useful to say to a person living that nightmare. Not a goddamned thing I can do, so I'm waiting to see. Hope through research, right?

But the real reason I'm not blogging about politics is that I'm in suspended animation there, too. I don't know whether the Petraeus Surge will work. I'm waiting to see. I don't know if Obama is for real. I'm waiting to see. I don't know if anyone can stop Hillary. Waiting. Iran? Waiting to see if there's any evidence. Scooter Libby? Waiting.

I hate waiting. I especially hate waiting when it's clear that I should just pack up the family and run off to Italy.

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“Suspended Animation.”

  1. Anonymous GN Says:

    Ummm ... wait a minute! are you saying that you are feeling a lttle overwhelmed? Sounds a lot like you hit a milestone w/ the kidlit thing and can't overcome the inertia to start other tasks till you get props or drops spells anxiety. A cigar and a glass of the good stuff ... maybe a padlock on the exerciser ... and just wait.

  2. Blogger M. Takhallus. Says:

    Okay, if I can't run away to Italy I'll take a cigar and an adult beverage as a substitute. You're right, it's inertia. So I started the script today.

  3. Anonymous GN Says:

    Good job ... as I say to my grandson .... pat yourself on the back

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