Wanna Play Tag? Passing Along a Meme

Goofball Friday. I’m initiating a game of tag. I got wind of it from writer Joelle Anthony’s blog. The players I saw on Anthony’s thread seemed pretty peppy, which might help with this kind of game. I’m not so peppy, but no matter. An experiment!

Here’s how it goes:

1. These rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 3-5 people and posts their names (links to blogs/sites), then goes to their blogs and leaves them each a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer; also, let readers know who tagged you.

What were you doing ten years ago?

9-to-5ing it as a technical writer at a high-tech company. Living in sin with my long-haired potter boyfriend and his 12-year-old son in a ramshackle 1960’s ranch house. Transitioning from writing only short stories to novels. Bursting into tears because of a mean-spirited and useless critique by a local Famous Novelist during his workshop (first stab at first novel) and then not writing for months afterwards.

What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

1. Try out a new workout class.
2. Talk a friend into seeing the new Indiana Jones movie with me this weekend.
3. Return a summer top that I bought last week — a what-was-I-thinking? purchase.
4. Make sense of my index cards: arrange scene ideas in a semblance of a plot outline for the rest of the novel.
5. Drop off unneeded work clothes at a favorite neighborhood clothing boutique (for donation to Dress for Success) in exchange for a 20%-off coupon.

What are some snacks you enjoy?

A nice cheese with a nice bread (and wine)
Sandwiches (which is to say lunch late in the afternoon)
Cookies dipped in milk
Granola cereal

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

Continue writing fiction
Travel everywhere
Buy my dream house and a dog (maybe a pug) to go with it
Take my family on luxury vacation to Hawaii
Because I’m only semi-domesticated, semi-organized: Hire all kinds of help for all kinds of chores

What are three of your bad habits?

Late-night munchies
Reading until WAY too late
What are five places where you have lived?

Sao Paulo, Brazil
Quito, Ecuador
New York, New York
Mill Valley then Berkeley, California
Portland, Oregon

What are five jobs you have had?

Waitress in my father’s yummilicious restaurant
Financial analyst in multinational corporations (Ecuador, Brazil)
Book publishing editorial schlub (NYC)
Technical writer

What 3-5 people do you want to tag? (anybody else who wants to play)

Two who might participate, one who doesn’t know me but I like her blog, and one outlandish possibility (mostly because male, but he’s kinda funny so I’m curious what he’d write):

Elizabeth Engstrom
Susan Wiggs
Patry Francis
Bob Mayer

Success and Scrutiny

Novelist B– is a prolific writer and has much insight into the publishing world. A few years back he told me something that has stayed with me. He said that the more successful you are, the more people feel compelled to drag you down. (I hereby shatter B–‘s anonymity so that you can check out his websites: here and here.)

Literary award season just passed us by, and I read two items that reminded me of Bob’s observation. The first item concerned Dorris Lessing, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Here’s what I read on the Guardian Unlimited website:

In response to learning about Lessing’s win, a literary critic told the Associated Press that “although Ms. Lessing at the beginning of her writing career had a few admirable qualities, I find her work for the past 15 years quite unreadable … fourth-rate science fiction.”

Ouch! We’re entitled to our opinions, but I wonder if this critic had ever thought to say such a miserable thing about Lessing’s prose before she won the Nobel Prize.

And then there was the article from the November 8th, 2007, issue of The New York Times entitled “Congratulations on the Book Award, and Welcome to the Scrutiny.” Anne Enright won the Man Booker Prize — Great Britain’s top literary award — for The Gathering. Soon afterwards, she wrote an essay about a child’s abduction, and, boom, what happened then but that a few ogres trumped up one sentence from the essay thereby giving the impression that Enright blamed the parents for the crime.

I ask you, would anyone have bothered quoting Enright out of context and ripping her a new one if she hadn’t just won the Booker?

The sad part is that I’m not immune to scrutinizing my fellow novelists. In fact, yesterday my reading group met, and I along with four sassy lassies dumped on this month’s reading assignment. In a big way. We roasted that poor novelist alive.

As I finished my coffee and fingered up scone crumbs, and as the group’s conversation turned towards 40th birthday parties and housing prices, I couldn’t help feeling like a hypocrite even though the novel was ill-conceived, not to mention so boring that I set it aside for the previously mentioned chick-lit succubus murder mystery (sad indeed). I imagined some future reading group lambasting my literary baby.

When I mentioned my imaginings to the Sassy Lassies, they laughed. They could imagine it also. Yeesh, so it starts already, does it?