6 June 2002

This morning my spam told me, "NEVER SLOW DOWN!" My sense of spamomancy is telling me that I should take that as a sign to slow down, right now. So is Timprov. I'm not sure that Timprov and spamomancy agree all that often, so I'm going with it. What I want to know is, how do you relax?

That's kind of a two-edged question, really. The simpler one has answers like "I take bubble-baths." And that is interesting, and I do want to know. But the harder one is more what I'm getting at: how do you relax? When you're sitting in your bubble-bath, how do you make your brain and body let go of the other things that need doing? Because I guarantee you, I can make any relaxing activity into a checkpoint on the to do list if I'm in the wrong mood. "Draw bath, check. Dump bubbles in, check. Sit in bath, check. Appreciate feel of bubbles, check. Hmm. How long do I have to appreciate these bubbles for it to count? Oh, hey, I know what I should do with 'Fair Use' to show that Rudy hasn't entirely regained equilibrium from when he was in the more advanced stages of dementia. How many ideas do I have to have before I'm allowed to stop relaxing and write them down?" Etc. So how do you jolt yourself out of that mode, if you get into it? Other people help, with me, but it seems like it's putting a lot of pressure on them to be the M'ris Relaxer Of The Moment.

Yesterday I didn't have internet connectivity until 7:30 at night. I also wasn't really enjoying Golem100 (I'm going to finish No Defense first and then go back to it), so what did I do? Worked. Of course. I finished "Trail's End," which had a title and a conceit prior to yesterday but no story. Now it has a story, and a cover letter, and a self-addressed stamped envelope. I also worked on "Fair Use," cleaned the kitchen, made chili, bought groceries, and -- drum roll, please -- sent out a bunch of agent queries.

I have known that a query with synopsis is not an exclusive thing, that you can query more than one person with a synopsis and they will be all right with it. But I've had the "no simultaneous submissions" rule so ingrained over the last several years that it feels funny, and I'd been querying agents one at a time. So I sent synopses to several agents yesterday (figuring that the one who had kept my synopsis for five months could wait if she suddenly wanted something and someone else did, too) and then also looked at my agent book and found the ones who wanted sample chapters and considered simultaneous queries. Sent to them, too.

The sim sub thing isn't why I was only sending out agent queries one at a time, though. It's a good excuse. It's just not the real reason. The real reason is that I know that every book has a moment when its author has to declare it unsaleable. Every book has an "end of the line," an end of the list, a moment where every reasonable publisher and every reasonable agent has been tried. I'm nowhere near that point with Fortress, but it's a scary point to contemplate, and by querying one at a time, I could put off having to contemplate it. But I also may have been putting off finding the agent who would love my stuff and be able to help me sell it. So I gritted my teeth and printed stuff out. Just queries. And it'll be okay. And I know that if I do get to the end of the (long) list with this book, I have a plan with all kinds of forks in it, so that actually giving up on this book is years and years down the road.

It's still depressing to think of going years and years and not selling it, though.

More depressing, even, than having the DSL come up, having the guy come out to check the (then-functional) line, unplug it to test the line, pronounce everything fine, and leave before the internet comes back up. Which it did not. And I'm looking forward to another round of useless Twenty Questions while we learn the real moral of the story: that they have no idea when or why their DSL service works. The muzak on the phone line is informing me that I have to believe in the power of love. That's all well and good, but I would really prefer to believe in the power of competence at this point.

Ah well. I'll try not to let it get under my skin. I'm supposed to be having a relaxing day. Regardless of whether these people can get their acts together.

Hey, does anyone know whether Mystic Mints still exist? They're these chocolate mint cookies, and my mom used to absolutely love them. I got a powerful craving for them, but the store had none, and I don't know if that's a failing of our branch of the store, our region of the country, or the company that makes/made them.

Okay, I'm going to continue to listen to the muzak and hope for the best. You hope for the best, too.

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