Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Afflicted with SBW (Should Be Writing)

Writing an article on the Literary Society for San Miguel Magazine. Remembering the Tom Robbins event, in which the community read Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, and dressed as characters from the book.

Three agents have asked for my first 30 or 50 pages. So I´m Waiting To Hear. And Should Be Writing. Anybody notice that I´m not?

I wrote a novel before without planning the plot beforehand, and that novel is in a file, suffering from structural problems. I don´t want to make the same mistake again. I´m Thinking...that´s what I´m doing! I am really, and making notes. So that once I begin to write the YA novel I´ve mentioned, I can power ahead.

Anyone ever work in cable TV? Can you describe a cable station to me? As in physically. I worked in local network television (WISC-TV, Madison, Wisconsin) and have a good idea of its layout and workings. Is a local cable station in the 1970s different? Cable TV is key, as I´ll reveal as I get the story going, only to my readers here!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Riquisimos Pollos A La Leña

A new roasted chicken place opened on Calle Codo, only lableled with a hand-lettered sign, Riquisimos Pollos A La Leña $50 pesos. The pollos come dripping in juices from being roasted over a pile of mesquite logs. Carlos bought two a few weeks ago for a picnic at the presa (dam/lake).

When we went for a pollo a week ago, a new hand-lettered sign said the chickens were now $80 pesos. Outraged, we stalked off, and dined on cold cuts that Sunday. By Monday, the chickens were back to 50 pesos.

"What´s the message here?" I asked Carlos. "Tourist prices on Sundays only?"

"Nah," Carlos said. "Es que the owners were probably out of town and the employees jacked up the prices so they could pocket the difference."

Oh, silly me, to not have remembered how absurd and funny life is in Mexico.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Talking About Memoir...

When I am not writing or blogging or working in our spa, I am riding horses or watching my kids ride. Left to right - me, Lucky and Carla, age 14. Carla is Lucky´s rider and my fabulous and talented daughter.

I was invited to speak to University of New Orlean´s Summer Program memoir class today by the teacher, memoirist Kristen Iversen. First everyone spoke about his or her project. Some are just starting the process of writing non-fiction; some are close to finishing and looking at agents and marketing. Seemed like an admirable group who shared a willingness to look at their varied themes head-on.
I talked about how long it has taken me to write my memoir (hm, ten years), the pages I thought were so important that have been cut, the idea of theme. That once you can identify your theme, you can let it guide you about what to include and what not to include in your writing. Hope I talked smart!

Wanted to go to the UNO Open Mike reading tonight, but I´m home watching Wipeout with my kids. I have to cover my eyes for most of it.

Ít´s summer. The summer people are in town, which means I go out a lot with friends who only come in July. It´s fun and exhausting, and my kids need me home sometimes. Like tonight.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wedding Anniversary and Mom´s Birthday

July 11, 2009 - Carlos and I celebrated fifteen years married. And my mother celebrated her (72nd? 73rd? 74th?) birthday in their Naples, Florida home by making dinner for ten people.

Celebrate is a stretch of a word. Carlos and I planned to see the play Jamaica, Farewell and then go to the after-play reception at the home of the play´s producer and my good friend, Jody. Out without the kids! But Carlos went to the Hyder House and did a million massages late in the day, and had to cancel the play (not regretfully, I suspect). So I took the kids to the play, and we sent some text messages to each other around 10 pm. You are thinking, "I love you honey. I´m glad I´m married to you." It was, "Aqui, con Jody."
"Las niñas?"
"Cansado. A la casa."

On the way home, Carlos ran into his brother, Hector, and wife, Maribel and wouldn´t you know...they ended up going for a beer at Mama Mia. We grunted at each other when he rolled into bed about 1 am.

July 11, 1994 -

My parents speak no Spanish and are wonderously overdressed. Not really, but I have NEVER seen anyone wear a beautiful summer-wool suit in San Miguel. But that´s my father. Handsome as ever, walking me down the aisle with all the Go, Get-em vibe he can transfer to me with his smile. Even though I´m pregnant and marrying a guy without a high school degree or a job.

Then there are my in-laws - my father-in-law pulling at a borrowed sports jacket, my mother-in-law, pretty in a champagne colored dress that she unfortunately has to cover with a jacket because the zipper up the back suddenly broke. Clutching hands with my mom because neither speaks the other´s language. The wedding is detailed in my memoir, Fast Break South, which is presently seeking representation.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Teen Drama

So last Saturday, as most of my friends trundled off, post-barbecue, to a party in one more gorgeous San Miguel house, I decamped with Carlos and our two girls plus my friend, Alex´s three kids to a fiesta de quinceaños at El Ring disco, the site, by the way, of one of my first dates with Carlos, as told in my memoir, Fast Break South.

The honoree was the daughter of a teacher friend of Hector, Carlos´ brother. So Hector and his wife, Mari and their 9-year old made up the rest of our gang, occupying a long table on the second level, the perfect perch from which to spy on the teenagers, once, after the father-daughter dance, and the escort-quinceñera dance, the discoing began. Research, let´s call it, into the world of teens, if I´m going to be writing about and for them.

Alex´s kids are two tall good-looking blondes - Brad, 19 and Chris, 15. After several summers of swimming and outings with them, our girls are a bit immune to their charms. But not all the girls were. One particular 14-year old asked Brad to dance every single dance, and made him pinky-promise to come back each time he went to the bathroom. Another Mexican gal asked Chris, who was stuffing his face with cake, to dance. Chris said, "I´m eating cake."

"Chris," I growled at him.
"What?" he said, through crumbs.
I frowned.
"O.K." he said, and went down to find the girl who had found the courage to invite him to dance.

My Carla, who at age 14, is more interested in horses than boys, was asked to dance by a guy she´s known for awhile, who happens to be a senior in high school. When he asked for the following dance, she begged off, and ran up to me. "My God, Mom," she said. "Once was enough!"

No mean girls or fast boys. A less hurried, less frenetic life for adolescents? I´ve never tried to raise my kids in the United States of America, but I tend to think so.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dungeons and Dragons

Random throughts on writing and life: First, I thank God and the universe and the Virgen de Guadalupe for a good weekend in our business, a day spa. Just as the last effects of about twelve hours of beer and barebecue were wearing off, ten wedding guests booked post-wedding packages with us. Which meant I had to forego seeing Ice Age 2 (oh, pain, oh, suffering). Instead, I happily spent my Sunday serving up relaxation in the form of massages facials, hot oil hair treatments). My cheeriness came from relief at having clients after a hopelessly dismal May and June, during which business was murdered by pork flu hysteria (manufactured by the Mexican government, in my opinion) and Mexican drug wars, which happen to be occuring at the border and not here in lovely and peaceful San Miguel de Allende.

So I´m thinking of my YA novel, set in 1974. I picked the brain of my friend, Mary, who like me, was in high school in the seventies. She owns Libros El Tecolote, a superb independent book store, here in San Miguel.

Mary remembers Zots candy, smiley face buttons, James Taylor, Jethro Tull and Ozium, which covered the odor of pot. I remembered painter pants, Kool and the Gang and Dungeons and Dragons. Does anyone play that any more?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Agent Search

I´ve been told, by my former editor-in-chief friend that I need a female literary agent, but I just contacted a guy. I can call him a "guy" I guess because he looks really young in his photo.

He loves NBA basketball, he likes Romance and he signed off his last blog post with Que tenga buen fin de semana. What´s to lose?

My 14-year old daughter, who is psychic, says a tall graying man will be interested in publishing my book in July or August. Does that sound farfetched? Down here in Mexico it doesn´t. It´s July already. so i´d like to secure representation pretty soon, so this canoso publisher can find me.

Oh, perfect fit of an agent, please come forward!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Agent Search

Last week, I sent five query letters to literary agents, and three have replied requesting pages, including the Spanish speaker!