Will wake up tomorrow, get dressed, and go to work.

I'm still catching up on a backlog of stuff, so sorry for the lack of interesting journal entries. Maybe I will put up some photos tomorrow. I took a cool one of some ducks who were walking in the train station. I guess they forgot they're supposed to fly south in a "V."


Will soon wake up, put on clothes, and not go to work.

It's 1:55 a.m. and it smells like snow out.

This morning, that being Saturday morning, I got up at 9 a.m. to start revising my book, and went into a writing haze. Next thing you know it was like 3 p.m.

I got through revisions of the last section, and the book is now exactly 400 pages long, about 100,000 words.

Next step: more re-reading, print it out, read the 400-page printout (ay carumba) and then it will be off to the agent again, to wait for her verdict on whether it's ready to send to publishers.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the lovely people I had dinner with last eve. It's sometimes hard in this post-ironic age to express sincere wishes without seeming insincere (especially true of a sarcastic person like me), but I sincerely am lucky to know all of you.


Will soon wake up, put on clothes, go to work.

Only one day left, and then I can work on my 3rd novel. I've wanted to work on revisions all week and couldn't. It's not that revising is fun, it's that putting off revising is annoying.

I briefly was able to stop into the new '90s themed club, Nerve-ana, tonight, because I was on the press list. It was pretty funny. They show the O.J. low-speed chase on a continuous loop. I had a drink called the Monica, which is said to "leave a good taste in your mouth."


I read the lyrics of the song. It would be bad enough if it was just in poor taste, but it's actually totally racist and cruel.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Every morning when I wake up, people on the radio are talking about the Tsunami Song. Just fire the DJs who played it already and get it over with, so we can stop hearing about this.


Isn't "Dinklage" an unfortunate last name to have if you are a person of small stature?
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

DJ 1: Andrew Ridgeley turns 42 today.
DJ 2: He's pretty young to be a has-been.


The last few days have been hectic, for days that aren't normally hectic. I also got the last of the suggestions from my agent on Book 3 and my editor's comments on the Pilby sequel, so I have about a month to revise both.

So I'll be hiding on weekends, as usual. I don' t want to still be doing this in warmer weather, and I really want to whip them into good shape. Plus, it's not something I can do 10 pages at a time -- I have to sit down and go through 100 or 150 pages at a time to keep everything consistent.

Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Got something to complain about (or praise)? Write about 150 words, give it a letter grade, and submit it to the Black Table's Black List. Or read other people's rants. Mine is in this list. Except, it's ratemyteacherS. Oops.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work. I realized it's easier to get up in the morning if your heat's on higher.

Click here to see my blizzard photos from the weekend.


This is my new favorite quote.
Woke up, put on clothes, didn't go anywhere.

By noon, you will find blizzard pix on my barometer blog. Click here.


Our newspaper chain helped give more 'exposure' to the Naked Cowboy this weekend. If you're from outside the NYC area, you'll have to click to understand.

That is some mighty fast snow. I hear shovels stabbing into banks and then scraping along the sidewalks.


I am happy because I am warm. Plus, (not to sound like my character, but...) I have the world's comfiest socks on.

I got a newsletter from my alma mater's Alumni Secondary School Committee today. They inform me that of the kids accepted last year for the class of 2008:

47 percent went to parochial or private schools. Seems like a way lot.
15 percent are kids of an alum (but only 38 percent of alums' kids who applied were admitted)
21 percent of those who applied were accepted. (Tougher than it used to be.)

Here is what it costs to attend for a year:

Tuition and fees $30,716
Housing $5,336
Meals $3,582

The moral of the story is, it's lucky that if I applied today, I wouldn't get in, because who could afford that?!

In other news...

I timidly asked my agent if she thinks we might be able to get book 3 out to some editors before the summer publishing doldrums hit. They're closer than you think! She thinks so. One more month of revisions and I send it back to her.

In response to the hate crimes argument of earlier, a friend writes that the intent of a hate crime is to intimidate more than just the victim:

the argument is that the effect on society from a random crime is not inconsiderable, but the effects of a targeted hate crime serve to create fear among a vulnerable population far greater than if crime were merely random. since the harm is worse, the deterrent + punishment should be worse.

OK, discussion is closed on that argument becuz I don't feel like posting about it anymore.

* * * * * * * *** * *** ** ** ** * * **** * * * * *

Woke up, put clothes on, went to work.

Even Amanda is excited about oncoming snow, and she's in the midwest!


Woke up. Put on clothes. Went to work.

Rinse and repeat.


Disclaimer of the Day

Sometimes I worry that if I meet a new business contact or friend, they might stumble upon this blog too soon.

They might read it all and think they know everything about me. And they'd certainly be wrong.

I feel that way about my writing, too.

It's certainly the risk of anyone who keeps a blog, or who writes. I keep certain personal stuff completely out of this blog.

I don't write about relationships (unless in a very general context) or that sort of thing, I don't tell everything that happened to me, and I try not to get too political, although sometimes I do go on rants, as you know.

You may say, "Well, that's boring! Blogs are SUPPOSED to be for political and dating rants." True, true, but a blog also should not ruin your life.

You don't want to let your words box you in.

You might look a few days back in my blog and see that I demolished a kiwifruit the other day, but miss the photo a few months ago of the dog I had growing up. I might complain about something in an entry day and seem like a complainer, but there might have been seven nice things that happened that day that I didn't bother to write about.

Also, you might think that I use words like "something," "some," "bad," and "nice" too many times for someone who has actually gotten paid money for writing, and I might tell you that I am going to say "something," "someone," "some," "bad" and "nice" on a blog because I don't feel the need to make this superpolished. Or something.

I like writing. I like putting cutesy thoughts or experiences here on occasion. I like communicating with friends this way rather than sending out an e-mail announcing something important (if I am lucky enough to call some of you friends). So thanks for reading the disclaimer.


Woke up, put on clothes, spent too much time commenting on the internet already. I always get this feeling that there's one more thing I have to do on the internet before I get to work, or get to bed.

One thing I am getting tired of is recent postings (several by rightist political bloggers) about how annoyed they are that women emulate "Sex And the City."

You idiots. "Women" don't emulate SATC. SNOBBY women emulate Sex and the City. In fact, SATC emulates them. It's about them. They existed well before the show did. If you don't like the idea that some women are snobby, then don't chase snobby women!

There are plenty of down-to-earth interesting single people of both sexes in "The City." They eat at cheap restaurants, can't afford a car right now, don't mind that their creative job started at $25K a year, don't "summer" at the Hamptons, and sometimes they even come to Tuesday Night Trivia instead of trying to get on the list of a no-name club.

And some of them still enjoy SATC - because darn it, it's funny!!

Thank you.


Woke up, got dressed, didn't go to work.

Tonight I watched a really close Jets/Steelers game in the city with friends, and what was nice was, even the people who aren't one bit into sports seemed to enjoy themselves. The game went into overtime. Various people stopped in to say hello, too, and I even ran into a friend of mine in knew from college. It's starting to be funny to me that in a city as large as New York, I bump into people I know. Although I guess the older I get, the more people I cross paths with anyway, so I'm bound to float into their orbit once or twice more.

I have to read and write a blurb for another novel, as well as read three books and write a review, but all of the said books are relatively easy reading.

I was going to write, "When's it gonna snow?" but apparently we will get a little tomorrow and Wednesday. I still think we could get a blizzard dumped on us in mid-Feb like we used to in the '80s. This has been a paltry winter for snow here so far.

I planned to do a lot of novel revising last night, but the four hours of revising got me through pages 190 to 225. I guess there are always ways to make it slightly better. I suppose some of the changes now are minor enough that they're not going to make a difference in whether someone buys the book or not -- but once someone does, I will get a certain period of time to finish revisions, and then I send it in.


A friend of mine has a good account of a trip South and the cultural differences down there.
Oh, someone was kind enough to get me the Atlantic Monthly article...thanks so much!!!

Woke up, got dressed, went to work.

As promised: Death of a Kiwi.


"The Sun reported that Prince William was also at the party - dressed as a lion."

Now, that's cute.
Does anyone have the November 2003 Atlantic Monthly? If so, please let me know. There's an article I need a fax of. And no, my local liberry doesn't have it. And I can only get half of it on the web. (It's not life or death, but I want to see it for research.)

Woke up, got dressed, went to work.

It's about time! The Greatest American Hero is coming to DVD. And the song was great BEFORE it was on Seinfeld, thank you.


MDS writes: i'm sorry for commenting on your blog so often lately but today really got my dander up about an issue i never understood. the idea that there are such things as "hate crimes" drives me positively batty. no crime is committed with love and it's not LESS of a crime if you murder/beat/abuse someone of the same race,
religion, sexual preference, etc. by the same token it shouldn't be
MORE of a crime if it involves parties of opposing views.
I'm amending my thoughts on that. The guy could have been mentally ill or something. Anyway, I wouldn't advocate violence against anyone. I was just asking.

Thanks to the people who said that my poem yesterday cheered them up. Even if it was meant to be dark, I'm glad I helped.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

1010 WINS said today that two teenagers (quote) "beat the hell out of" a guy because he was a Satan worshipper. They're being charged with a hate crime. My question: If someone worships Satan, aren't they in favor of evil? Oh, I know, it's more complicated than that...a certain person I know who studies the Bible (not Dawn) and Satan would probably tell me that it's more complex, that Satan advocates evil that helps him/herself. Still, evil is evil.


Oh well, no one got what the poem was really about. Yes, I know it really is Tuesday the 11th, but it was about something that happened 3.5 years ago...it's actually a very dark poem.

Tonight I co-hosted trivia with Valerie. She was a great co-host as always, and the room was packed, even on a night soaked in rain and slush. I can never predict who will turn out on trivia night. I think we had 60 people.

A few questions spurred Kennedy and Michael Jackson jokes. At one point, I told people I'd give them an extra minute to get their Kennedy jokes out of their system, and a certain NYC newspaper columnist/comedian who shall remain nameless reponded, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it." The bad jokes abounded.

Thanks to all who showed up.
Thanks for those of you who have e-mailed to say they're glad I'm so happy...but you have missed the irony of this poem. It's ok, though.

I was hungry a little while ago so I made short work of a kiwi. A photo of the demolished fruit will be posted later.
Tuesday the 11th

It's Tuesday 11th,
a bright and sunny day
and I'm healthy and working
Things are going my way

The skies are so blue and
Nothing can happen to me
I work hard and I'm healthy
and I am only 33

On the way to the elevator
The buildings look pretty
and I'm glad to be employed
and in New York City

Everything feels good
as far as I can see
Because I'm happy and healthy
And I am only


Will wake up, put on clothes, go to work later this morning.

Have you had your annual doctor's checkup lately? It's easy when we have so much else to worry about to let things like that slip on by. So let this be a reminder. When was the last time you had your heart listened to and blood taken? Seriously. If you catch something early, you will be way better off. Women, don't forget to do your monthly br----t checkups too.

While we're on the subject, is your smoke detector working? Check the battery. Do you have a carbon monoxide detector? Cheap ones are under $30.

I can already predict the snide comments in my e-mail, but hey, it doesn't hurt to check, right?


A reader writes:

>>The tape was originally named DUCK TAPE because water rolled off of it just like the back of a duck. It later was called DUCT TAPE because it was used on heating and air conditioning ducts. You can properly call it DUCK or DUCT but when you ask most people today the will say DUCT TAPE.
I believe on Red Green they use the term DUCT TAPE and it is understood to be the greatest item ever invented since a man can fix anything with that tape no matter what you call it.
Part of the reason I have dedicated this time to revising is that I expected it to be really cold out. It hasn't. But it's supposed to get cold again at the end of the week (around Friday). We always get our worst snow and blizzards in mid-February around here anyway. People forget that, but it's true.
I will eventually wake up. But at least there's no time limit. Because it's Sunday!

So a friend of mine invited me to a party for www.blacktable.com, a pretty well-respected nonfiction on-line magazine. It's easy enough for internet publications to premiere and die quickly, but this one has enough quality journalism to attract a following. My friend, Joel, writes for them. Anyway, another writer for them is a successful essayist named Will, which leads me to today's Glimpse into the Writers' Life...

One of the reasons I get scared about taking too long to finish my novel is that I worry that someone will do something with the same plot. I read "Publisher's Lunch" every week to look at all the book deals. Publisher's Lunch tells you which books sold and they give a very short plot synopsis. Anyway, last year, a book sold by Will and it seemed (according to Publisher's Lunch) a bit similar in plot to mine (as do others from time to time). No two writers can ever write the same book, and it wasn't exactly the same, but I keep my eyes open for stuff like that.

Anyway, he was at the party so I told him that I got scared when I saw what his book was about, but that it's not soooo close to mine, so I'm not worried. I'm looking forward to his, too, because his essays on Black Table have been great. He kindly said, "Yours'll be better," but I doubt it. His novel will be out in December, and I look forward to it. And it will be totally, totally, totally, totally, totally, totally different from mine. He deserves success.

My book editor (of Carrie Pilby and Sq2) also happened to be there, along with pretty impressive writers like Rachel Kramer Bussel, who has a column in the Village Voice; novelist Ned Vizzini; and pop culture essayist Chuck Klosterman. (I'm not trying to name-drop, just giving credit to talented writers.) Oh, a fiction writer who's also published books with my editor, Michael Weinreb, was there too. There's a Klosterman essay I really liked that I read recently, so I will have to link to it sooner or later.

OK, I'm going to sleep now. That's more socializing than I normally do, so I need two weeks in my apartment to catch up. Whew.

Oh, another lesson learned tonight from football: For every botched field goal that screws up the beginning of your game, someone else's botched field goal may be there at the end to save you.


I saw this written somewhere today: "Slugs are homeless snails."

I was in the hardware store and saw several brands of something labeled "DUCK TAPE." I was worried; I always thought it was "duct tape." I though of all the newspaper articles we wrote during the orange alert last year where I, as editor, let the phrase "duct tape" slip through. I was surprised, though, as "duct tape" made more sense than "duck tape." Who tapes a duck?

Then I saw that there were brands of "duct tape," too. "Duck Tape" is apparently a name brand, but I guess the company that makes it puts out different versions. Whew.

Here is a DVD I want. It's cheap, too! I'm sure them after-school specials are so dated, it'd be a hoot to watch any of 'em.

Woke up, put on clothes, didn't go to work.

WHAT!?!?! Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston have formally separated.

Sometimes we blame ourselves for not being in relationships, wondering if we're not good enough, smart enough, good-looking enough...but then we can look at famous Hollywood couples who have everything going for them (looks, money...), and still can't make their relationship work. Now, you can say that they have all different kinds of pressures, but everyone has pressures.

Pitt is 41 and Aniston is 35. They were just talking about having kids not long ago. At least one member of that pair is gonna have to hurry up, biologically speaking!!

In other news, it's raining and the roads are slick, and yet...cars keep passing. Who's driving on a Saturday at 8:30? Preposterous. Oh, look, it's 9:17 now. I'm putting together my audio round for trivia. Anything to avoid writing, ha ha.


Will soon wake up, put on clothes, go to work.

I'm done revising for tonight. Good night sweethearts. Good night, sweet prince. Good night, John Boy. Good night, Mrs. Calabash, where ever you are.

That just made me think of something. Of the trivia we know, how much of it is because some teacher, when we were growing up, went off on a tangent about something? That's how I first heard of the "Mrs. Calabash" bit. Thank God for educators with personality. Well, parents, too.


How do you like your pug?
People keep finding this blog by putting in the names Zadie Smith and Nick Laird, and phrases like "Zadie Smith Nick Laird married," "Zadie Smith married Nick Laird," etc. You literary gossip mongers! Usually they find my Dec. 14 post pointing out that the pair are married and that he's a writer, but yet, when his book sold, he was described in Publisher's Lunch only as "Zadie Smith's boyfriend." Anyway, if you are reading this, besides reading those two, you should really read a funny book called Carrie Pilby about a 19-year-old genius who's a bit misanthropic. What do you know, click this and read all about it. Do it!!
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Looks like we have a little publishing problem here.


I've always wondered what the term "killer app" actually meant, so I looked it up on Wikipedia. So very useful. Here's the result.
My editor writes:

Thanks for sending. Will try to get to it as soon as humanly possible.
I hope you had a good holiday.
Now relax and stop revising this…

In case she reads my blog - don't worry. Now I'm revising my OTHER book!!
Also newly appearing at trivia last night: Derek.
Extraneous words I edit
by Caren the editor

She gives of her time.....becomes....she gives her time.
It happened at 12 noon....becomes....it happened at noon.
He won some six million dollars....becomes....he won six million dollars.
The store is located at 11 Central Ave.....becomes....the store is at 11 Central Ave.
Will soon wake up, put on clothes, and go to work.

As you can see by these in-advance entries, I'm staying up late. I've been revising my book late at night. The reason is that this past weekend, instead of really working on it, I kept getting the urge to sleep a lot. I'm trying to make up for that.

There is very little that is artful or exciting about revising. I have read the words so many times that they've lost feeling. I can still detect proper rhythm and flow. But is the story still interesting? Does it draw emotion from me? Not after 200 times reading it. I don't understand how authors end up with 700 or 1,000-page novels after a revision process. Lots of sections start seeming extraneous. Of course, after a certain point, you have to stop yourself from editing everything down to the barest germ.

Like this blog entry for example. It's about entry number 35 on revising. Do you really care?

On another note, I went to Tuesday night team trivia tonight after having been away for about a month. Val and Barry were the co-hosts. Next week, I will be hosting with Val. Oh, it was great to see the return of Todd.


Will soon wake up, put on clothes, and go to work.

Did more editing of novel tonight. Some of the things in it are such a delicate balance that if I add too much description or emotion in one area or another, I have to later chisel it back down or make sure it's in the appropriate proportion. It will work out, in the end. I want it to, y'know, be meaningful even as it's fun to read.

I saw Sideways on Sunday. It was okay, but I didn't love it like certain people.


Woke up, put on clothes, back to work.

Phil notes: "So I also watched the New Years scene from 'Boogie Nights' today (I own it on DVD) and I must point out that Julianne Moore didn't exactlysay '19-fucking-80' - she said 'Fucking 1980.' "

I stand corrected.



"Nineteen-fu*kin-eighty!" - Julianne Moore, "Boogie Nights" (I watched the new year's party scene yesterday because it's a great scene and it was in my head.)

Several bloggers whom I'm friends with have looked over the past year or written their resolutions in their blogs. My resolutions are pretty mundane (not gain 10 pounds on black-and-white cookies again, etc.) and will stay in my journal. But I will say I'm grateful for all the friends I've made or become better friends with in the past year (like S. and V.) and all of you folks who actually read my blog. So thanks!

On New Year's Eve 1992, I had just graduated from college in Phila a semester early and had no clue what to do. I was an English major and had fulfilled all the requirements and was pretty darn tired of school, and I wanted to save a little money and get a head start on life, so I graduated. But then suddenly I had no direction. It was a recession and I had no job, and I didn't know whether to stay in Phila and look or try to plunk down my meager savings for a pricey apt in NY.

Even though I had technically graduated, I stayed in my dorm for lack of anything else to do. (I always found someone to sign me in as a guest, or sometimes I'd just look at the security person, and when my card wouldn't work, they'd say, "Huh? I know you live here" and let me in).

On New Year's Eve, I was wandering around campus alone, as everyone else home for winter break. I decided to go see "Home Alone 2" by myself. Walking west to the theater, I passed a homelesss woman on the Walk who was always selling paintings to support herself. I had vowed before that if I ever had actual extra money, I'd give her some. Now I had a little extra, so I gave her two bucks. She gave me a photocopy of a painting of a dove.

I saw "Home Alone 2," and a dove was a central theme. I considered it a sign that I should be grateful for what I had. I came back to my dormroom, taped up the dove as a reminder, took the elevator up to the rooftop lounge and watched some fireworks. The only other people up there were a couple. After that, I went to my room and wrote in my journal for a while. I didn't know where I would go next, but I knew I was lucky anyway.

The prospect of giving myself a little more time on campus, to actually enjoy it without taking classes, was tempting. In the end, that's what I did. A friend of mine knew of a temp job, and that temp job turned into a part-time job for the next four months. I got more involved in school activities because I could do them without coursework. And I spent a lot of time in the computer room writing resumes and cover letters.

Even though it was a very confusing period in my life, I tried to remind myself how lucky I was. And yesterday, I talked to my father, and he said we're all lucky we live in this part of the country where we don't have tsunamis. He tries to remember how lucky he is, too. So enterting the new year, I am grateful for all I have. I hope everyone has a fortunate new year.