Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Good News - Bad News

The signing last week went well. We had about two dozen people show up, and I read the portions of the new novel in which the crow appeared. The cake was beautiful, if I do say so myself. I still don’t know how to get a photograph up on this blog, so if you want to see it, go to and you’ll see it right up front. Marzipan turned out to be a delight to work with, and now I’m thinking I’ll very likely do it again.

A friend and I went up to the Rum River Tree Farm in Anoka last Thursday and cut down a beautiful little balsam for a Christmas tree. Balsam is supposed to be the most fragrant of the evergreens but while this one filled the car with the wonderful smell on the way home, it now sits in olfactory silence in the living room. It has water – and it’s drinking – and I put a little humidifier behind it, and I even spritzed it with water yesterday. But nothing is working. The one reason I wanted a real tree is so I could have the fragrance. No artificial source even comes close. The tree could hardly be fresher, and indeed its needles are very flexible, so why doesn’t it smell up the place? Anyone have any idea?

I am about ready to take all my files on Thai Die and delete them, and burn every scrap of paper on which any of it, or notes about it, are printed. I hate this book, I really do. I am convinced I’m missing something obvious, but I can’t think what it might be. I just know that if I could figure it out, suddenly the book with unwind itself and all will be well. Meanwhile, I get cranky and depressed whenever I sit down to work on it. My writers’ group meets Wednesday evenings, and it’s my turn to read, so I’ll find something from it to read, then spend the rest of my time kvetching uselessly. Because this isn’t something some brilliant person can make a helpful suggestion about. This is my own private hell – though it will be merely Purgatory if I can find the way out.

Anyone who is not already a writer should take these words to heart and decide never to become one. You are miserable and you make anyone around your miserable. You say cruel, truthful things about yourself, find all helpful suggestions totally worthless, and rip the guts out of any friend who dares come near. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep, and you want to go out and firebomb a house in which lives a totally innocent old woman who knits afghans for charity. I say this as someone who is totally committed to the craft, and who, if she could just get this monstrous load of old codswallop out of her life, would recommend it again.

And how was your day?


Anonymous said...

You wrote: "Anyone who is not already a writer should take these words to heart and decide never to become one. You are miserable and you make anyone around you miserable."

Been there, done that. Many times. Tell me again why I want to continue to be a novelist. :)

Deb Baker said...

Too many of us have tight, year-end deadlines when we should be wining, dining, and shopping. You'll work your way through it. You always do.

I have a balsam, too. Great fragrance for about 15 minutes, then nothing.

Joe Moore said...

"Anyone who is not already a writer should take these words to heart and decide never to become one."

Monica, you paint a much rosier picture than I would. So at least there's hope. :-)

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Oh, Monica. The problem is, we'd be MORE miserable NOT writing. Trust me...this I do know.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Oh, Monica, I'm so sorry to hear you're having a hard time with your story. My suggestion? Take a break. Don't think about it (consciously) for a day or two. Your subconscious will be working on it anyway and tell you how to fix whatever may be wrong. Hang in there!

Camille Minichino said...

I'm with Deb; it's a time of year when I want to decorate and shop ... instead I'd better get at least 1000 words/day in to meet my deadline.

I know Monica will get through this ... and don't underestimate the power of an objective opinion or helpful comment; doesn't have to come from a genius!

I know you know this!

Anonymous said...

I certainly am not qualified to comment on writing, but the tree? Perhaps.

Could it be that you can't smell your Christmas tree because you have become desensitized to it? Can people coming in to the house for the first time smell it?

-- Regards

Joanna Campbell Slan said...


I've got it!

Buy an evergreen candle!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Joanna, even better (and stronger) is a pine "car candle." I bought one for my artificial tree last year. Wow! Talk about strong. If you keep it in the little plastic sleeve and slide it up and down, you get LOTS of pine scent. A year later, I have to keep it mostly in the sleeve because it's still very piney.

Disney Mummy said...

I can't believe how hard you are being on yourself Monica. Thai Die will work itself out and it will be brilliant, just like all the other Betsy books. I know, you're laughing at me going, "Riiiight. This woman has no clue to the he** I've gone through, the blood, sweat & tears." But this is how I know it will be just fine, you used the word codswallop in your blog entry. If that isn't doesn't remind you that you are a brilliant writer, then I don't know what I'm talking about. [Says the woman who dreams of writing a good mystery novel someday.]

Peace & Light,
Jenn Owen from Massachusetts