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And Another Thing

August 10, 2012

Some more pages this morning – not many; energy is winding down at the end of a busy week. Been doing some contract writing work, which has felt great. There really is something about your sense of self that changes when you’re working again after a period of non-working. And to be honest I was having a harder time writing when I had all the time in the world than I’m having now that I’m working – but then, I also had those bricks in my tank labeled BROKE and DOOM displacing the fluid.

One of the things I left out yesterday when talking about not wanting to wait forever to be published was also about a sense of identity. As I said, there’s a world of difference in my head between I was a writer and I am a writer, and to be honest a lot of that has to do with my place in the world as well. You can get an agent, and a contract, and turn in a book, and know it’ll be published someday, but in the eyes of the world you’re a Writer if you self-identify that way, but not an Author during those years of waiting, not until it’s on the shelf, virtual or otherwise. So there really are two components – thinking of myself as a Writer again, and having others think of me as an Author, which is to say a writer who’s not just fucking around: a Writer who can finish something, and whip it into shape, and convert it into a object others can touch and feel.

Ever since I outlined that biggish block of content for the next three chapters, which takes me to the ¾ mark in the book, I can feel The End approaching – the day I actually write those words, if only in my head because honestly they look silly on the page. I know the challenging challenge, to corpspeak for a sec, for me is going to be a satisfying ending. I’ve always had a crisis in the past as I’ve “winged it” on raw talent through my books, being funny and entertaining and keeping the plot moving until it’s time to dig deeper and come up with something at the end that leaves the reader satisfied – to leave them with a meal that’s something more than a long plate of appetizers with no dessert. But confidence is high right now. I know I can do it, whereas before I just gave up. Other than “O Brother,” I hate hate hate Coen Brothers movies, because they all end the same way. “Oh, the major characters? They all died offstage the end.” There’s no way I’m doing that to my audience.


Meeting Jay Blue wasn’t as easy as all that. He was one of that tribe we might as well name, the Sobusiers, because they were always so busy, so busy. Well, it probably would have been easy to get a spot on his calendar if I’d let Alice tell him everything, but I didn’t think that was a very good idea. I shouldn’t have blurted it all out to Alice, but I can see why I did – first off, our whole interaction was around Alex, and it was plain I was holding back a lot when we discussed him. So any further obtuseness on my part and the first non-work-person I’d had a real conversation with in a long time was taking a walk. And honestly, I hate those storylines where the whole plot revolves around shit that gets left out – the “wacky misunderstanding” in comedy (unless it’s Seinfeld and people are leaving shit out because they want to be thought of as someone they’re not), or the “unsaid” in literature, where failure to communicate ends up with everyone stabbed dead on the floor. Doing a data dump on her right out the gate meant not having to deal with any of that later. Oh – and of course I’m a blurter, so that made it easy too.

Alice was my first friend since Christopher, but for some reason I wasn’t nearly as nervous about misstepping, overstepping as I had been there. Maybe I was just too tired to give a shit if I did it wrong or not. And texting is actually a pretty fucking brilliant invention when it comes to not worrying about glomming on to people. Sending someone a one line message requires a lot less commitment on their part than making them spend 20 minutes on the phone or writing you back a whole email. We “talked” a lot that way – well, a lot for me, which was to say any steady stream of human contact each day with people who weren’t my employees was pretty much a waterfall.

There was one other obstacle to telling all to this Jay Blue character, and that was Dad. We’d both signed a lot of Alex-related paper after his arrest, and the last thing I wanted to do was get him into hot water again. “Got a minute?” I asked him at the office one day. “Non-work-related.”

“You got it.”

I shut the door to his office behind me. “So…long story short. I went to this meeting of the Alex fan club. And I’ve been hanging out with this girl I met there, and, well, I basically totally told her everything.”

“That’s great, Caroline. I’ve seen you texting a lot but I didn’t want to, you know, be all…”

“Be all Mom and get in my business?” We laughed.


“So…here’s the deal. She knows this guy who may know Christopher’s brother, Nick? And I was hoping I could get ahold of him. But, I don’t know where all this will lead, and since you’re the one who went to jail on all this, I just wanted to clear it with you, or not.”

“I’m not sure I follow.”

“Well, there’s this group, the Alex Liberation Front…”

“The hackers. The ones who got Alex to tell people to hang up and go play outside.”

“Among other things, yeah.”

“And you want to join the Rebel Alliance?”

“Well, I want to…” What did I want? Did I really want to join them? What the hell would I do, I wasn’t a programmer. It suddenly seemed like a silly girl’s silly notion.

“I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “If it’s something that you want to be a part of, I’m all for it. And you know what? If the bastards sue us? Fuck it, we’re rich now. What’s money for?”

Yeah: this is why I love my Dad.

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