Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Happenings About Mountain Town
First of all, let me apologize to all of my readers for once again missing a scheduled Journals post; November, 2002's entry was supposed to be put up on Monday, and truth be told I just forgot. Most of the month has already been written up on my home computer, so it's not that I haven't actually been keeping up with it.
I'll post November next Monday, and possibly December as well.
Of course, I do have the sneaking suspicion that nobody is actually reading these, but it's no matter. The weekly deadline has given me the motivation I need to transcribe these chronicles of my life, a project I'd meant to get started on long ago and that I've now made significant progress with.
I have not had much time for writing lately, be it here or in my private diary, which, when I looked at it last night, I realized with a shock hadn't been updated since my sister's birthday on June 18th (bear in mind that yesterday was July 1st).
During the black period to which I have alluded, the one from which I take my pseudonym, my journaling dropped off dramatically, finally reaching a low ebb where I wrote about once a month if at all.
This summer, for the first time since I was in high school, I've started regularly confiding in my journal again, something that gives me great joy.
I've begun to realize that the truest sign of recovery is when you don't have to think about recovering anymore, when you don't have to remember day in and day out all that happened to you.
Certainly, the memories never fade, and they serve as a cautionary reminder for the future, but eventually they are that and nothing more. Now I can look back without analyzing, look back without wondering if things will ever be better, look back and be thankful for how far I've come and how things have changed.
I feel, for the first time in years (and given the short amount of time I've been around thus far, years are not doled out lightly), that the sun is shining on my life once more.
Two years is one tenth of my life. That's what this has taken, but I've come through it. I still have work to do for the future, but I'm beyond the horrors of before.
And, because this entry seems to be one that celebrates things that are happening once again "for the first time" in ages, I should share something else: for the first time since I was seventeen, I'm making minimum wage!
That's right, I've found another job.
For about a week or so now I've been working at Western City Movie Theater, where I make $5.85 an hour and spend about thirty hours a week.
The money is literally terrible, the work not all too fun, and the uniforms reminiscent of what hotel bellhops might wear while ushering guests into an elevator.
And yet, a job is a job. Also, this occupation, which could very easily be demeaning and intolerable under the right circumstances, is made endurable and occasionally enjoyable by the cheerful people I work with and the courteous customers who come through our doors every day.
Most of my co-workers are quite younger than me, though naturally this has required some explaining.
"What?" one girl asked me when I told her my age. "What's up with all these old people working here?"
I started laughing and said, "Thanks."
"Well," she answered. "You don't look twenty."
Another co-worker, a young man of seventeen or eighteen, also learned of the old codger in his midst quite accidentally while cleaning a theater with me.
"I go to Major University," I told him as we swept up the popcorn off of the floor. "I'm gonna be a Junior next year."
"Oh," he said. "I would've thought like a Junior in, you know, high school."
It is what it is.
There are two people there who I don't like, merely for the reason that they don't seem to like me. That was justification enough for me. They are a girl and a boy, the girl quite noticeably overweight and with a major attitude problem (the type of person who's cynical and too cool for everyone), the boy young and leering.
Other than that, everyone's been quite nice, including the twenty-three-year-old manager of the theater, who makes routine trips to McDonald's with her subordinates on their breaks.
I work five hours there tonight but nine tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have off a few days in a row this coming week, as I did this week.
My parents will be in Vacation State, where Aunt Ostentatious lives, from tonight to Sunday. My mother left with Thomas, Pie, and Grand Pa Hick Family yesterday morning at five o'clock, and my father will fly down tonight.
Powell is already planning to have friends over to drink, something that I know I should object to given the amount of trouble he landed himself in after being caught having a massive party during a similar parental absence last year, but I'm not going to.
The only way to stop him would be to literally threaten to call our parents if he brought anyone here, and if I did that he probably wouldn't speak to me for weeks.
Add to that, I'm really looking forward to having a little bit of fun myself. We're only hosting two or so people at a time, so as long as we're careful it shouldn't be a problem.
A great part of this week has been taken up with the Odyssey of the Missing Aunt, which I'll have to devote a separate entry to.
Let me tell you now, though, about some very promising developments with Fantasy Author. Fantasy Author is the aunt of Blonde Boy, Powell's best friend. She is a puiblished author, whose books, while not nationally famous, have done reasonably well.
Blonde Boy mentioned to her quite a while ago that I was working on a book myself, and she asked me to send her the novel in an e-mail attachment. I forwarded the forty pages I'd written to that point, thirty-five of which I'd penned at the age of fifteen, and when I didn't hear back from her for months I essentially forgot about the matter.
Last night, my father told me that she'd called on Sunday, and within hours we were talking on the phone.
The final verdict: "You have a good story," she said. "This needs a lot of work, but I want you to know that it is a good story."
Her primary issues were what she called a "weak" first few paragraphs, and my tendency to pile adverbs onto adjectives, something she says is a creative fiction "no."
She praised my setting and character development, and dialogue, going so far as to read out loud to me several passages that had particularly struck her.
"And one thing I noticed," she said of my four main characters, cousins aged thirteen to fifteen. "Is that they all talk like teenagers actually talk. I said to my husband today, 'The kids are real kids.'"
I slapped the couch in my enthusiasm, so happy was I that somebody else had noticed this very intentional device and praised it.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," I said. "That was exactly what I was going for. The four of them are in such an extraordinary situation, and the characters around them are all so amazing and fantastic, and I really wanted them to react the way that normal teenagers dropped into the same scenario would react."
"Well, you are right on the nail with your dialogue," she said.
When I told her that most of what she had had been authored by a fifteen-year-old boy, she said, "Well, you don't sound much older than fifteen now."
"Yeah," I answered tersely. "I know. But I'm twenty."
"Oh," she laughed.
Now she wants to meet in person to hammer some things out and help me with the writing of this novel. Either today or tonight I'm sending her what I've done since she received my last e-mail. In that time the book has grown from thirty-nine to seventy-one pages.
In a positive omen, a great deal of what she complimented me on was new additions that I'd made in the editing process.
She asked me what route I wanted to go, and I told her definitively that I wanted to go with a traditional publisher.
"Okay," she said. "Well, I don't want to get your hopes up, but I don't want to discourage you, either."
"It will be published," I replied. "If it's not 'till I'm ninety, it's going to be published. I'm willing to work at it, I'm willing to change what I need to, but it will be published. I know it's not going to happen over night; I have no illusions about that."
"Well," she said. "You certainly have the right attitude."