books, writing

A New Chapter

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I signed the contract.

My book, “Sara When She Chooses,” will be published.

The process begins and I’m a sponge eager to absorb every step, because this! this! is what I’ve been hoping, dreaming, working toward.

It’s a strange sensation; a combination panic and anticipation. I really want to work. My literary energy is foaming and fomenting. At the same time, I want the luxury of staring at each step and memorizing it, wallowing in it. I’ve had years of rejections and have learned to appreciate them as sometimes inspirational, sometimes instructional, but mostly as proof to myself that I don’t give up. I’m proud of my incessant head-banging on publishers’ doors.

One of the most important lessons I learned was that sometimes the work is rejected because it’s not done. Revisit. Revise. Don’t be afraid to cut and abandon. You created this thing. It lives inside you. Nothing you do to it on paper will destroy the source from which it came.

You’ve got more in you.

In my own journey, I’ve been asked to submit a brief bio and photo…(visions arise of the nod to the writer contained on the back flap of most dust covers, or the last page of most paperbacks).

I’ve been asked to think about what I’d like to see in the way of cover art. This engendered an internet foray, shamelessly pirating images to try and convey my ideas to the publisher’s illustrator.

I realize I’m about words, but not pictures.

Then came the marketing questionnaire. A weighty list of queries delving into hitherto unexplored areas. What bookstores and radio and TV stations are in my locale? What questions would a reading group enjoy exploring in relation to my book? How would I describe my work to someone interested in buying it?

I realize I’m about words, but not salesmanship.

I begin to realize how much I need the expertise embodied in the publishers, Bedazzled Ink and its subsidiaries.

For a moment, my brain…shifts. This is real.

My life is in the hands of my publishers and then, if all goes well, in the minds of my readers.

It’s a feeling unlike any other. I won’t be the same person at the end of this process. I’m kind of scared.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Just bitchin'

Having It All

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Ever since a friend drew my attention to television commercials and their insidious effect on his efforts to maintain a healthy diet, I’ve been fascinated by them.

On the one hand, I find them shamelessly destructive to their target audiences. ‘Spend! Eat! Beg Your Doctor For Drugs!’ seem to be the primary messages. As with many scenes of destruction, I find it difficult to look away.

And therein lies their power.

What’s fascinating are the demographic profiles they paint.

If I believe the portrait of America according to the advertising industry, we are a hopelessly obese, socially challenged, disease-ridden, lonely people suffering from erectile dysfunction. We tend to smile most when dinner is served or when we find a paper towel that’s really, really absorbent.

Our bottoms are fuzzed with toilet tissue. Our eyes are dry. Our insurance companies are either run by geckos with British accents, or by agents with magical powers of teleportation. Our teeth won’t last if we eat or drink anything. Our phones are our best friends. Every medicine we take today will involve us in a lawsuit tomorrow. Our relatives will shun us if we choose the wrong air freshener. Our hair is grey and our skin is wrinkled. Prowlers and vagabonds lurk in our yards, checking to see if we have the right home security system.

But don’t despair! If we work hard and are vigilant, we can remedy all the bad things and take advantage of all the good. All we have to do is listen and do as we’re told.

The problem is, if you do listen long enough, you’ll decipher the Master Message that hangs like a fearful pall over this maze of enticements and warnings.

YOU WILL NEVER HAVE IT ALL.

You slam into the realization like a crash-dummy into a brick wall. Having been drawn to the edge of your seat, quivering with greed and need, pupils dilated and respiration rapid, you stagger back from the impact. Your survival instincts click in and you finally understand: The only way to dig yourself out from under this morass of advertising directives, is to turn them off. Or at least mute them.

Because all you really need are your family, your friends, your health, and a really, really absorbent paper towel.

The rest is just noise and smoke.

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cooking, Just bitchin'

The Summer of Bacon

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It’s official. Bacon is epidemic in the U.S.

Just like obesity.

It is not inconceivable that the two are related.

I can blame my friend who drew my attention to the world of evening TV commercials for my new-found amazement and bacon-fueled outrage. If it weren’t for him, I would have remained blissfully ignorant, bouncing out of my chair for every commercial break to putter about with minor chores like dishwashing or reading mail.

But now I stare, saucer-eyed, at the endless parade of sizzling, fat-striped temptations.

Ahhhh, bacon…how do we eat thee? Let me count the ways:

First, one I’ve already mentioned in a former posting. The forerunner of the lick-a-pig deluge: Little Caesar’s deep dish bacon-wrapped crust pizza.

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Now, as body-conscious, swimsuit weather progresses, the advertising industry has kicked into overdrive, churning out competition in the category of The Most Grease-Bang For Your Buck. So, bow before the obesity-altar and welcome:

Wendy’s Baconator Fries. Like deep-fried potatoes aren’t bad enough, this little culinary artery-clogger boasts the traditional bad-boy French fries smothered with melted cheese and lots and lots of bacon.

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But wait! There’s more!

The Baconator fries are intended as accompaniment, a companion side-dish to…wait for it…the Baconator and/or the Son of Baconator!

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Now, it’s my understanding that the original Baconator was a double-pattied burger layered with cheese, topped with bacon. Son of Baconator goes Daddy-burger one better (or worse, depending on your desire to live healthier and longer). Sonny-boy has added additional bacon between layers that were previously bacon-less. Why? Because they’re there. Or, as the commercial touting the Carl Jr.’s and Hardee’s burger layered with a hotdog and potato chips reasons: ‘Because…AMERICA!’

Somewhere there are think tanks and brain-storming sessions devoted to the riddle of ‘where else can we inject fat in this dish?’

I despair for our national health.

The only thing I can say on the positive side is: faced with a choice between any one of these grease-monsters or a doughnut containing Ariana Grande’s spit…I’d have to choose the grease.

The world of fast food has become a very scary place.

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