Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Same as it ever was...

Tonight I went to a Spanish wine tasting. Unlike a lot of tastings I've been to in LA, where the portions are small, the wines are few, and the whole thing is fairly controlled, no doubt due to both cost and liability concerns, this one was kind of a bachanal. I'm kicking myself for not taking notes, but who knew there would be all this wine that wasn't on the info sheet? Barrel tastings, single bottle samples and lots and lots of wine, poured primarily by representatives from the wineries in Spain, some of whom didn't speak English, all of whom had those charming Castillan accents, so different from the west coast Mexican Spanish I grew up with (which I like very much - don't get me wrong!). Oh, and it was only fifteen bucks for more wine than even I could possibly drink, and snacks. Great event.

It was good timing for me, because I'd had a kind of weird day. Because I don't blog about work (why would I? I'm there 45 plus hours a week as it is - why would I want to dwell on it any further?), I won't get into the weird employee situation I'm going to have to deal with tomorrow. I'd just gotten a project out, which felt good. I'd also just gotten one of the expected rejections I mentioned earlier. But I couldn't really feel too bad about that. Like I said, I'd expected it. And the person on the other end is somebody who is so much more gracious, friendly and enthusiastic than most in her position that she always manages to soften the blow.

The rejection went something like this: very enjoyable, characterization very good, writing solid. Unfortunately, the imprint in question is "incredibly" commercial, and what I wrote, well, just isn't so much.

You know, I always have this problem. I start out thinking I'm writing something commercial or silly or trashy or what have you, and it never quite turns out the way that I thought it would.

The gracious editor concluded by saying that there are lots of other imprints out there, and that she hoped I would be able to place this with someone else.

Me, not being quite as bashful as I used to be, now that I'm in my gut-spreading middle ages, wrote back with a hearty "thank you" and an additional, "hey, if you've got any suggestions regarding more appropriate imprints, would love to hear them."

So right now, I have one more easy contact, and if that doesn't pan out, I'm going to have to go through the hard work of querying and pitching and trying to sell this thing.


I have to do it, I know. And I need to start something new.

Right now, my mind is turning towards China. Weird how that works. For all the problems, I can go there and be stimulated. I'm never bored. I have friends there, I make new ones easily.

Not that I don't have friends here. I have plenty. Family as well. I love them dearly. I love my little house, by the beach in Venice. I'm sitting here on my couch, my cat sprawled out, purring next to me, staring at the rice paper shades, the framed Chinese posters on the wall. It's generally very quiet here, and I love that. Most mornings, aside from the asshole motorcyclist who guns it past my house, every morning at 8:30, mostly what I hear are birds, and a few barking dogs. I so enjoy walking around my neighborhood, seeing the strange little houses, with their idiosyncratic details. I am a Californian, and I love it here.

But these last six years have been hard. I've had called into question every assumption I've ever made about my country, and it's not like I was particularly naive to begin with. But every day brings a new outrage. This latest, watching the destruction of Lebanon, at times feels like more than I can bear. I feel so helpless. I can't do anything about it. I grasp the possibilities of how this might fit into larger global strategies, how it's all about Syria, or Iran, or both, and how Israel is acting as America's surrogate, or how perhaps America is doing Israel's bidding, and let's not forget the House of Saud, here, how any lip-service the current Administration has ever given the notion of Middle Eastern democracy is clearly nothing more than that...

Well, yeah. Whatever. There's nothing I can do about it, other than adding my little drop of opinion, of objection, to the cosmic idea pool.

See, that's part of the attraction of China. No matter how fucked up the government is, no matter what heinous and horrible stuff they do - hey, it's not my problem! It's not happening in my name, and I don't have to feel responsible for it.

By the way, this book I just wrote, in addition to being set partly in China, also features the Iraq war and Christian mega-churches. You don't think that's a problem, do you?

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