Saturday, February 03, 2007

Somebody Help the Poor Boy

Okay. So I told you I was a Beatlemaniac. I told you that I ran around Manhattan after Gerry & The Packemakers, the Stones, and the Searchers (among others.)

I've admitted my troubles with provisional cast-ons, forgotten stitch markers, and wool that makes my skin turn into a festival of hives.

But when I read yesterday's (or was it the day before yesterday's) FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE (which happens to be my favorite comic strip and, in my most unhumble opinion, a better example of great character development and storytelling than most books out there)(mine included) I found myself talking not just to my computer screen but to a cartoon person.

I'll pause while you consider a psychiatric intervention.

If you're not a fan of FBoFW (and I don't know how that's possible) Michael Patterson is the eldest child of Elly and John Patterson. Michael is married to Deanna and the father of Meredith and Robin. Michael is also a writer. He's been freelancing for a few years and finally decided to carve time from his already overpacked days and write a book.

Well, he sold the book. That's the good news. (It's always great news when someone [even an imginary someone] sells a first book.) The bad news? The acceptance letter arrived with a check for $25,000 AND a contract. (Artistic license. I know that. The check doesn't arrive with the acceptance letter.) (Sometimes it doesn't even arrive during that calendar year but I digress . . . )

So there Michael was, all excited and shellshocked, with a letter, a check, and a contract and that's when I found myself shrieking at the screen, "Get an agent! Don't sign that check until you have somebody vet that contract right down to the last semicolon."

I'm telling you I haven't been this worked up about a fictional book sale since 1963 when Mr. Ed sold his memoirs for $500 and became a best-seller. (I saw it on TVLand so it must be true.)

Yes, I'm up to my eyeballs in the book in progress. Yes, I'm struggling with my imaginary friends. Yes, I'd like to remove my brain, have the cobwebs vacuumed out, then return it to its cranial home all shiny new and filled with clever thoughts.

And yes I'm almost finished with the ribbing on the top-down sweater and will probably tackle the neckband tonight.

Famous last words.


Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Barbara, I'm ROFL about you screaming at the cartoon character. The publishing biz really makes a writer crazy, doesn't it?

12:18 AM  
Blogger Fran Baker said...

Ack, Barbara, I'm into a book as well as this baby blankie and share your ... frustration. I sometimes wonder if tackling two creative things at one time - writing and knitting - doesn't overtax the brain. That said, I can't wait to see a pic of the sweater. I love top-downs!

10:31 AM  
Blogger Cindi Myers said...

LOL -- I too howled when I read that comic. I didn't even think of the agent thing, I was just shaking my head at the idea of getting a random contract in the mail with a big fat check attached. In every other way, I feel FBOW is a very realistic comic, so that really threw me.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

I guess Lynn Johnston couldn't possibly portray it the way it really is -- the story arc would go on for a year or two before the poor guy saw his first advance check!

Just wait until he does his first booksigning at a Walmart in NJ and somebody asks him where the gerbil department is. (Yes, that happened to me!) Or maybe some nice woman will walk up to him and say, "I used to read your books in the bathroom but now I read Nora Roberts."

This is definitely a strange life we lead . . .

4:18 PM  

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