nonBlog — October 2008

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When in Doubt, Teach—Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I am so paralyzed by fear and loathing of some combination of the election and the global financial meltdown that the noise inside my head can only be transcribed as glllllr. I keep writing first paragraphs of Huffington Post blogs that sound just a tad too angry to post. A recent one featured the word “ratf*ucking.” I am so not kidding.
So instead I’m speaking in a lunchtime webinar about how to get a book published. No, I had never heard of one either. A webinar is an online seminar during which panelists (say, me) expound on deeply non-election, non-meltdown topics while audience members listen and type questions into their computers. Perhaps you might like to tune in. It’s tomorrow, October 23rd, at noon PST, an d you can register here. I promise the word glllllr will not escape my throat.


Who Says I Haven’t Written My Third Book?—Weds, Oct. 8, 2008

The time has come, my agent said, to submit my next book proposal.
Here’s the problem: I don’t feel like it.
I am plum wore out. I have co-written two books, published stories in three others, and been mentioned or quoted in two or three more. And yet you and I and my agent and my husband and all my friends know there is still Something Seriously Not Yet Done when it comes to my book production, and the Something is that I have not written “my” book. My manifesto. My mission statement. My attempt to put my stamp on the collective brain. It’s kind of an issue.
I am currently taking time off of my usual magazine article mania to figure out what the book should be, and as I walk around suffering in a writerly fashion over this, I can’t decide if I have too many ideas or not a single good one. My writer friends who are publishing good things are just as often writing something we could all agree has been done before, though not by them, and they are unembarrassed by this (and, I might add, successful. All hail Val Frankel’s “Thin is the New Happy”). Other writer friends are working on books so cutting-edge I could not possibly have come up with such a concept and am awed into silence by their innovation. (One example is Andy Raskin, who is working on a biography of the man who invented Top Ramen.) So I don’t feel like I could get away with writing the Stephanie version of something that’s been done and I’m afraid I can’t find my own Top Ramen inventor to reveal to the world.
As I am typing the above, however, there is a word calculator at the bottom of the file, counting away. And the word count for this file, which contains all my blog entries, is 65,007. That’ happens to be the word count for Helaine’s and my book “Office Mate.” My blogs are as long as my last book. I have written another book without even noticing. And what’s even more satisfying is that you read it. Thank you.


Here’s One Stock That’s Up—Monday, October 6, 2008

The Dow is tumbling, investors are freaking, heads of state are bursting into flame where they stand, and yet I am filled with a sense of well-being. As of today, my third and final daughter is potty-trained.
Don’t you dare laugh. The market implosion means that Tom’s and my fortunes may—at least for the moment—be moving backward, but our lives are finally moving forward. This is really saying something. The unintended consequence of spacing your kids five years apart is that instead of lightening the childrearing load, it spreads it over a seemingly unending number of years. Other people have a couple of kids—three even—and within two shakes of something or other’s tail they are moving right along. The kids are growing, the stages are changing. First everybody’s out of preschool, then everybody’s out of elementary school. First you all go to G movies, then PG movies, then PG-13.
Not in the Losee-Unger household. The big kid may be applying to high schools, but the littlest kid still has another year of preschool left. The big kid wants to watch my old copy of “Heathers” (rated R) and the little kids want to go to the 2:15 showing of “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” Tom’s comment after seeing it? “That movie was an hour and 45 minutes, which made it about an hour and 35 minutes too long.”
So okay, we can’t all enjoy the same movie, but now at least we’re all wearing cotton underwear. And that’s got to count for something.


New, or Practically New

  • Fame and Fortune: Currently working on, and shocked to find I’m making headway with, the latter. Partly because of a bit of movement on the former. Perhaps endurance is the key to everything after all.