I need to vent a bit, if you don't mind.
Oh my God, I am so tired. I watched four out of my twelve (ten, but let's count LOTR as three for the sake of taking a head count on the DVD stack) movies today. I mean, I know it ain't construction work, but you try staring at a TV for ten hours, desperately willing funny things to appear in your notebook. Quite honestly, three was overachieving, but I went on back to the rec room after dinner to knock out Gladiator, too, because my mother is driving me frickin' nuts.
See, this is the thing. I moved back home after college because I spent my last semester having a nervous breakdown. After a year off, I crawled out of bed and off my ass and went back to grad school on the understanding that I could live at home as long as I was in school. It was all very indulgent on my parents' part, and I recognize that I should have been tossed out and made to survive on my own. But I was not about to point this out, because I know a good thing when I see it.
It's not that I didn't want to work. What I didn't want to tell them was that I wanted to take this time off, this time in my early twenties, probably the only time in my life that I'd have free before I'd get sucked into some lockstep corporate job. I wanted this time to myself so I could write as much as I could--I probably wouldn't get anything published or even finished, but I'd eventually end up writing on misappropriated legal pads at some office cubicle on my lunch hour, so I might as well get as much of a running start as I could. In other words, at least I'd be halfway through a good novel by the time I got kicked out into the real world. It was all very indulgent and I was going to milk it for all it was worth, right down to the last drop.
I didn't want to say this because--"I want to work on my novel"? How trite an excuse is that? How do you know when you're done? I'd been writing long enough, and knew the publishing world well enough, to know that it could be years before I got a book published. I might be in my mid thirties, if I were lucky, before I broke in. As far as I could tell, I had a finite amount of time--the amount of time it took me to get my MFA--before there would officially be no good reason for my naive ass to remain at home. I currently lack three 600-level classes and my thesis work. Time was running out. And they were constantly hinting at me to get a jobby-job as it was; I managed to wriggle out of that only by being the master of complaisant avoidance ("Uh huh, yeah... I'll look into that"). Meanwhile, I've been wearing the same clothes and not going out and not spending money, because the moment I have to ask to "borrow" money is the moment I remind them I'm still here.
When you live in a cocoon like this, you live with a constant gnawing in your gut--guilt that you're doing it, instead of venturing forth into the world like every other sane, normal, responsible person you know, and terror that it'll come to an end.
The only reason I'm telling you this story is because it has a happy ending, as you know; otherwise I'd be too embarrassed to admit it, quite frankly. Right now I'm getting just enough money from the Orion deal to maybe upgrade Betsy, after taxes and Ginger's 15%. But then there will be some sort of American publisher to negotiate with, and maybe Ginger will look at Black Ribbon and decide she can sell it somewhere, and maybe my children's book, and maybe Movies in Fifteen Minutes will do well enough that they will pay me to do a sequel, like Simon suggested, or maybe even a series of books. All I want is a little townhouse apartment, man. Just enough house to have two stories, and just enough grass to say it's a lawn. I'll probably end up teaching university, if I can get a small gig, for the health benefits. But I won't care, because I'll be doing my thing, the thing I've wanted to do since I was old enough to grip a crayon.
In the meantime, my mother is driving me batshit bugfuck nuts.
God bless her. I think a lot of her fretting and nagging is a function of worrying about my sister, who's just had a harder time than I have; I was always self-motivated. Which is why it drives me batshit that she's got to nag me about every little thing, and I admit, half the time she has to nag me because I'm quietly, passive-aggressively ignoring whatever she asked me to do, because she was nagging me in the first place, and... yeah.
Right now, her particular hobby horse is the book. I am serious. I admit, I am one of those people who will wait until 11 am the day the term paper is due and then pull it out of her ass an hour before class. And still make an A on it. In fact, I think I wouldn't make grades that high if I had two weeks to stew over it. There's something about the adrenaline that does it--it's like playing chicken. So I see where she's getting this horrible fear that I'm going to put off writing a 50,000 word book until ten days before the manuscript is due.
Except for the part where bitch is crazy. The manuscript is due October 1. This was a date Orion arbitrarily handed me without asking if I could birth 200 pages of funny in two and a half months. And six weeks of that I'll be back in class. So, you know, okay. I can do this. Yes. But I'm nervous about it. I am aware that I already don't have enough time, and that this is what I've wanted to do all my life, and this is not some crap-ass paper on Greek mythology in the works of Yeats, this is something I enjoy doing, and that it's do or die if I want to spend the rest of my life as a professional writer.
So, okay, I watched The Matrix yesterday, plus The Matrix Revisited, because I wanted to pick up on all those things the Wachowskis were trying to stuff into the movie to make themselves feel smarter-than-thou, because that definitely needs to get mocked.
But she's nagging me all the livelong day--seriously, calling me on the phone and coming home to "check" on me at lunch and pestering me in the evening when she gets home. How many movies have you watched? Have you started writing yet? Why haven't you watched more? Seriously, I just mailed the freakin' contract in last Monday; Simon and I didn't decide which movies to do until this Monday. I just got home from New Orleans; I took Monday and Tuesday off to rest. I started watching movies on Wednesday. That's YESTERDAY, people. And she's all like, "You need to write up a schedule of when you'll have all the movies watched by!" GODDAMMIT, WOMAN! I don't have that fucking many! I ought to be done by Monday! YOU MUST CHILL!
In fact, that's why I loaded up today--I watched Attack of the Clones, Spider-Man (which I'd managed to never have seen before), Harry Potter, and Gladiator for no other purpose than to shut her up. I mean, goddamn, people. I can't watch the movies any faster; I can't fucking alter the space-time continuum.
And then I kept trying to figure out why I seemed to have three more days of movies instead of two. I mean, you know, Matrix the first day, and then three a day until I'm done. Two more days of three movies after today. Except... oh. Lord of the Rings is three movies. Shit. I forgot about that. So I went ahead and watched Gladiator tonight to get a jump on things, because DAMMIT, WOMAN, SHUT UUUUUUUUUP.
So I'm pretty much dividing up the load into 1) LOTR for one day, 2) Titanic and Braveheart for one day, and 3) Independence Day and Jurassic Park for one day. Or something like that. Maybe mix up the longer and shorter movies. I don't know. (Naturally, we also had to pick some of the longest movies of the last ten freakin' years. Thanks a lot, me.)
In case you're wondering, here's why I'm watching all the movies once through up front: I'm afraid that I'm going to get bogged down and be sitting here in September with like four movies left to watch. That, and I'm treating the book as a whole, instead of ten isolated parodies--you can have jokes that run throughout the book, but you also want to make sure that you don't repeat the same shit (OMGWTF HOR!) over and over. So it helps to have seen all the movies together up front and be looking for connections--I had totally forgotten that Richard Harris is in both Gladiator and Harry Potter, for example; if you think I'm above a "Marcus Dumbledorus" joke, my friend, you are so, so wrong. Of course, it's a bitch trying to make Hey, It's That Guy! (™ Fametracker) jokes when you can't use IMDB hypertext links, but c'est la vie. (There are some Once Were Warriors jokes that are dying to get made in Attack of the Clones, and I just... can't... quite manage it.)
Anyway. Pray for me, because my eyes are starting to glaze over.