August 26, 2006
Just so you know. She really is my pretty ninja. She'll mess you up, bitches.
As you can imagine, it's been a crazy week. I never really thought the whole hypothetical experience through, what it would be like to get a book deal. I guess if I imagined it at all, my fantasy scene would have been similar to winning the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes, like I'd get a knock on the door and guys in suits and giant toothy smiles would say, "Robert Rummel-Hudson! We're buying your book! Sign here and you can have this big fancy check and a spot on Jon Stewart and all the hot undergrad English majors you can handle!"
The reality is that after a week of emails and phone calls and questions about deadlines and percentages and marketing and publishing terms that I had to look up online (before answering the same thing every time: "Sounds great!"), the process is still, well, in process. (Yeah, that was an eloquent turn of phrase from the fancy pants writer.) I suspect the next few days will bring some closure, and with it perhaps the giant check and the hot young chickies.
And then I have to finish this thing. I have until the end of January to turn in a finished manuscript, and I've mapped out the amount of time I need to complete it before the end of the year, giving me a few weeks to pretty up the mess when I'm done. It works out to about a chapter a week. As a fun little online component of the process, I'll list the name of the chapter I'm currently working on over in the sidebar. If you don't see it change once a week or so, you have my permission to send me an email that says "What the fuck, Chuck?"
Through it all, life continues. Schuyler continues.
I have to admit, this has been a slightly bittersweet experience. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a published writer. It's been a consistent dream of mine, but now that it's coming true, it feels a little bit like a monkey paw story. (For those of you with a clicking allergy, the reference is to a 1902 story by W. W. Jacobs, in which a dead monkey paw grants wishes but with an ugly price.) I've been in such a celebratory mood all week, but when I sit down to work on the book, the reality of this story blows through my mood like smoke.
I'm thrilled that this book is going to be published. Well, of course I am. Part of that thrill is the weird rush of a life's dream coming to pass, like the first drop of a roller coaster. Part of it feels like a small measure of justice for Schuyler, as if God can do this to her and I'm powerless to stop him, but at the very least I'm going to let the world know what a bully he is. And part of it has the whiff of evangelism, bringing her story to people who might have some kind of monster in their own lives. Schuyler's an inspiring kid, she never loses her spirit even when we do. And make no mistake, we do, a lot.
In the end, as much as I'd like to play the part of Talented Author Type, the reality is that this book is getting published because of Schuyler. She's writing her own story, she's going to make her own way and knock down whomever she has to in order to do so.
Me? I'm just writing it down.