Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When Life is Full of Busy-ness and Nothing Seems to Get Done

Busy, busy, busy but not much forward movement. April started yesterday and I've been informed today is the 27th (!?!). I have done very little writing and that always makes me feel nervous, but I'm trying to tell myself I'm off to Egypt on Sunday and I will have a solid month of no interruptions.

My brain this month is jumping all over- let's follow some of its most recent stops:

**I've been reading I Know this Much is True by Wally Lamb. It's a huge book and I usually veer away from such whoppers. I tend to think the writer is being over indulgent to creep up to those heavy page numbers. In this case, I was wrong. I had expected Mr. Lamb to accompany me to Egypt, but we'll soon be finished with each other. Loving this book, hoping the ending does not disappoint.

**Last night I watched a documentary about the Bloods and the Crips, the notorious gangs of Los Angeles . Two facts I found shocking: 1) Children in South Central LA suffer more post-traumatic stress syndrome than children in Baghdad, and 2) 15,000 people have died because of this war and yet the silence is deafening. It's as if the people of that state want to just wait until all of the black men kill each other. It's a sort of passive genocide. Where are the peace keepers? Why is the United Nations not called in to help these people?

**Just finished reading this by literary agent Rachelle Gardner. I thought it was slightly disingenuous to say publishing does not partake in market research. They research their market in a backward manner. They put out a book, for example a vampire book. It takes hold and then they look all over for lookalike vampire books (ignoring all else) to put out a pile of them until the readers stop buying, and then they stop and wait until another fad catches on. Of course writers and publishers like to pretend they are above the fray by saying things such as-

There are integrity issues with publishing that may not apply to other businesses. Market research implies the author/publisher would change the product to suit the whims of the consumer, something that goes against the grain of writers and publishers.

This is a bit humorous considering some recent publishing faux pas like the white woman on the cover of a book about a black character because people apparently won't buy books with black people on the cover. Is that not tailoring a product for the market? Perhaps I'm not understanding the issue.

** Today my main concern was Senor Ramon's sterilisation operation. It is over and everyone is fine. Here's a recent photo of Senor Ramon (top) and his mother, Sergeant Catman.

As you can see my mind is all over- which is fine for now.


Elspeth Futcher said...

Of course your brain is busy - you're going away for a month! I'm pleased to hear Senor Ramon made it through his procedure and I'm sure he'll forgive you in time.

What book will you take to Egypt to read? I shall think of you there and sigh with envy.

Lauri said...

In the queue I have The Road and Supreme Coutship and Three Cups of Tea but I'm hoping too to buy a lot of Egyptian books. I was reading how they're having a boom in popular fiction right now among young writers and I'd like to get a few of those.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Literary agents drive me bonkers. Publishers drive me bonkers.
Several of my family members (including the husband) are in the entertainment business, and they alway want something just like the last big hit until they wake up and realize that people have been saturated with (vampire or whatever) and they are looking for something fresh and different. But it takes someone willing to take that risk and risk takers are hard to find. Sigh.

My husband has been to Egypt many times and he says its an amazing country. Hope you have a good month.

Anonymous said...

I've seen that doco and it really shocked me. It is an incredibly hard, stressful life for the gang members and no one does anything. It is like a kind of genocide.

Hope you have a good, fruitful time in Egypt. Glad the Senor is OK!

Lauri said...

Elizabeth- I agree completely. If you get a chance ask your husband what is the best thing to do in Cairo? On the way home I have a layover in Cairo from 11 am to 11 pm so thought I might do a tour of something.

Selma- You know during that documentary I kept thinking, these young men have had their purpose wiped away and they're just trying to find something to give their life a purpose. Who would willingly choose the gang life if they had other choices?

Anonymous said...

maybe for the UN, thee more prosperous a country, the lesser of a priority it is.

Write a piece from Egypt, it might just be spot on writing it while living the Egyptian experience.

Gutsy Living said...

I know what you mean about time going by and not writing much. I wrote more on the plane back from Michigan than I have in weeks. Good luck in Egypt with your writing.