So I decided that my first book has finally had enough solid rejections for me to put it away for a while. I say that not because I'm discouraged (oh god yes I am) or because it sucks (I'm really afraid it might) but because everybody likes it. "This concept is really fun!" agents keep telling me. "It's hilarious! I crapped my pants! Twice! There may be lingering colonic effects! But I can't sell this! The market's saturated with memoirs! No one buys stuff like this! I have to change my underwear! That's a rejection, in case you didn't catch it!" It's like, I don't know, studying to become the world's foremost scholar on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and then discovering there's no actual career called The World's Foremost Scholar on Longfellow. You can do perfectly good work, but that doesn't automatically make you successful. Sometimes nobody WANTS good work. I mean, look at Twi - oh, fucking forget it.
Or it could legitimately suck. That's still a possibility too. One way or another, about fifty agents think they can't sell it, so...it's gone to take a nap for a while. Perhaps a long while.
Anyway, I'm okay with it now - writing a new book, going in a new direction, still drinking more on weekdays than is probably socially acceptable - but when I first came to this decision about two weeks ago, it was kind of a problem. I was standing there folding laundry, thought "This isn't working," and had JUST burst into tears when Milo walked in holding a cushion off our new sofa.
Oh, yeah, we just spent all our money on a new sofa too, because I work at home, so I walk around all day long getting irrationally angry at the crappy things in our house. After the miniblind episode, I set my sights on our couch. It used to belong to Milo's parents, in whose home it always looked perfectly nice and felt perfectly comfortable. Then it came to retire with us and we discovered they had a sophisticated couch hologram system to camouflage what was in fact a paisley whale carcass. I don't know if it caused the dog to become mad with rage or lust what, but Delilah would sometimes wake up in the dead of night just to drag her ass across it.
Eventually I drove Milo insane with the subtle hints that I might set the couch on fire ("I'm going to set the couch on fire today, I goddamn swear it") until he broke down and let me spend all our money on a sleek black leather couch to make you weep with joy. So it gets delivered, and we go to drag the Paisley Whale down to the basement storage room - and let me tell you, FUCK, that thing is a sectional, and half of it is a sleeper sofa and the other half is recliners, so even taken apart each side weighs like 400 pounds - and we discover that it doesn't fit down the stairs. I don't mean "maybe if we unscrew the feet, tip it on end, and shove like hell" doesn't fit. I mean "not to the nearest six feet" doesn't fit. Not even CLOSE. So I go, okay, we'll carry it out the front door, around the side of the house, down the hill, in the patio door through my office, and into the storage room. So we do...AND IT DOESN'T FIT THROUGH THE OFFICE DOOR. We can get it into my office, but no further. There's literally no physical way, short of knocking down a wall, to get this couch into the storage room. And now my office, which was arranged perfectly to my working and relaxation specifications, has had to be gutted to make space for this FUCKING SOFA THAT I HATED TO BEGIN WITH BECAUSE WE CAN'T GET IT OUT OF THE ROOM. I keep it sealed off now, like some horror novel ("No one's been in that room in fifteen years now. But sometimes when she goes near it Mama's eyes go milky and she mumbles, 'the paisley...'")
So that's what I went through, emotionally, for my new sofa. I don't sit on it. I merely gaze at it, misty-eyed. It smells like new shoes. I call her Black Betty.
Now, where was I. Oh, yeah: I was standing there, dabbing my eyes with a sock, feeling a year's worth of work being sucked down the crapper, at which point Milo thrust a sofa cushion at me and says, "Smell this. I think the cat peed on it." After a hard night of drinking beer and eating asparagus, he did not add, although it was perfectly apparent. It was perfectly apparent from across the room, as well, so SHOVING IT INTO MY FACE was completely unnecessary, MY DARLING. ("Are...are you crying? You can clean it, right?")
So I'm just, you know, just...YOU KNOW - and I unscrew the entire bottle of cat piss cleaner and dump about a gallon of it on there, sobbing all the way, and then notice the warning: "Safe for upholstery, carpeting, cotton, linen, mattresses, wood, glass, tile, ceramic, fine persian rugs, delicate electronic parts, human skin, hair, and eyes. Not safe for leather."
And this, my friends. This is why we can’t have nice things. Because Black Betty doesn't fit down the stairs either.