Originally uploaded by Citizen Rob.
During the last few weeks of 2006, with a deadline looming, my writing schedule wasn't pretty. It's no secret that I'm not the most disciplined writer. If Schuyler comes in the room and wants to play, I'm not sure she's ever heard me say. "Sorry, Daddy's writing." If she has a puppy in her hands, forget it. Oh, come on, now. Puppies?
As a result, I actually did most of my writing, particularly during November and December, after about 9pm. I almost never went to bed before 2 or 3am, and now that I'm done, I can't seem to shake the habit. I am an indescribable delight in the morning, no doubt.
It's a weird time for me and the book right now. I mailed off the manuscript to St. Martin's and my agent a week and a half ago, and I haven't heard anything since. If not for the UPS tracking website, I wouldn't even know for sure that they arrived at all. And the thing is, this isn't a bad thing. If my agent or my publisher were idle enough that they were calling me every time they got something in the mail, I suppose I'd be worried about how busy they weren't. St. Martin's Press publishes something like 700 titles a year. They signed me to write a book, and I did it. When they need something else, they'll let me know.
So the manuscript is in the hands of my editor now, and there's nothing for me to do until she gets back to me to let me know what needs to be changed or exactly how big of an error St. Martin's has made. I'm in this funny sort of period of self-doubt, made even worse the other day by a few hours spent at Barnes & Noble, looking at the other titles put out by my publisher and my editor in particular. Good lord, some of the people she's worked with in the past know their stuff. They are doctors and specialists. I'm a former music major. I like puppies.
The next phase for me is working on a marketing plan, which I'm already assembling pretty aggressively. I recently (and unexpectedly) made a local media contact that is yielding some very interesting things, and there's another mediabistro event coming up in Dallas wherefore to make with the schmoozing. It's all still pretty new to me. We'll see how I do.
All in all, things are looking good. "I eat the air, promise-crammed," as Hamlet said so very artsy-fartsily.
But still, I'm itching to write. Furthermore, I've already screwed up my sleep patterns for the foreseeable future, and my agent approved of my idea for my next book. (Well, one of my ideas, anyway; I have a few but only one ties in with SCHUYLER'S MONSTER in any real way, and for my second book, she thought I should stay close to home, so to speak.) So as crazy as it feels to me after just finishing the one book, I've begun working on the next.
Put simply, I'm writing a book about fathers. It'll be about the father I had and the father I am, and also about other fathers, good ones and bad ones and famous ones and the ones who go unsung or unmourned in their simple private lives. At my agent's suggestion (and one that I agree with), I'm not writing it in the form of essays or interviews; apparently I am to become a memoirist, and how pretentious does THAT sound? If you've ever read Sarah Vowell or Bill Bryson and seen how they weave their own narrative into their historical or travel writing, you'll have an idea of what I'm doing.
There are a few fairly well-known stories I'm planning to cover, like Paul and Gage Wayment and Joseph and Rolf Mengele (such cheerful dad stories!), but I'm very interested in suggestions from you about stories of fathers and their children that you think should be told. I'm interested in anything, although it would be especially nice to hear about fathers who aren't necessarily famous (and who aren't murderous Nazis or have ever accidentally killed their children, since I seem to have those covered). Drop me an email if you've got a suggestion or a good story to tell.
Look at me! Not only am I subjecting you to writing about writing, which is always fascinating, but I'm also letting you research my next book for me, too. My car's kind of dirty if anyone feels like coming over to wash it. Just saying.