During my two week disconnection from the Internet and what now feels like civilization, I had to keep myself amused and mentally engaged, so, in addition to catching up on reading and TV, I did a major overhaul of my computer files. Just taking a look at the sheer number of pieces I’ve written, or ideas on hold, during the past several years was an act of self-discovery that fired me up. I decided to put together a collection of essays, mostly from my blog, and am currently combining, revising, culling, and all that fun editorial stuff. Then I figured, why not also do a collection of short stories? That way, I’ll kill two marketing birds with one stone, since I’m so bad about doing my own PR.
I plan to self-publish them, probably with iUniverse.com, since I was satisfied with their handling of Perfectly Normal. You might ask, Why not submit them to agents or publishers? The truth is, I haven’t the heart or patience to dick around with the publishing industry anymore, particularly the sending-out-getting-rejected phase. They don’t help you sell your books anyway, so I’d rather just go ahead and get it done myself.
Now that I’m back to blogging and all the entrapments of the online universe, though, I have to promise myself to continue working on these collections, rather than spending hours or even entire days clicking and surfing and clicking and emailing and clicking and copying ad infinitum. I want to keep on blogging, though: I love the immediacy of it. There are those days I’m screaming at the radio or TV news, and it suddenly occurs to me to do my screaming in public, via DIRTY LAUNDRY. Or the days when I wake up, having hit upon some secret of life in my dreams, and I rush to the computer to tell everyone.
So another thing I did while disconnected was expand my ongoing list of potential blog topics; it’s been steadily growing for years. It did occur to me to keep blogging and just save what I wrote to post later, but somehow the lack of immediate gratification left me unmotivated. Thus, I now find myself stymied: after my long hiatus, I don’t know where to begin.
I was going to ask readers to vote for a topic — I even made up a poll — but then I figured nobody would vote, and I’d be disappointed, and look pathetic, so I took it down. I’m replacing it with this anecdote about something that happened to me a few days ago.
I was standing on the corner near the library smoking a cigarette when a young, 30-ish woman walked by and made a big dramatic show of coughing as she passed. I’m accustomed to insults and lectures from strangers on the street whenever I light up, so I didn’t react. In a minute or so she came back out of the library, this time going into her Camille number, coughing like a lunatic before she even got near me.
“You could walk another way,” I pointed out. Always looking for trouble.
“You are going to get lung cancer,” she shouted. Like, does she really care? Then she added, while still walking away from me, “Why do you think you have so many wrinkles?”
Well! I shouted after her, “You’ll be wrinkled too when you’re 75!” (I am not yet 75.) She just got into her car and drove off.
I was chuckling, glad I’d been so quick on my feet. I’d amused myself, if nobody else, quite a bit with my rapid response. But I confess that for the next two days I kept looking into the mirror, thinking, “I’m not that wrinkled!” Am I?
Gee, I guess I am.