Many Books Bought; Not One Word Written

Did you see Six Feet Under this week? That reaction the Sisto had when he saw the video for his beloved Nathanial and Isabelle, or whatever it’s called? That’s pretty much the same reaction I had this morning when I looked at The Hollywood Reporter and saw they’re making a motherfucking Grease 3.

I hated it… SO MUCH… that…that…Flames. Flames! On the side of my face! Heav– heaving breath!

Oh, that quote never gets old.

Folks, let’s talk about rejection. It may seem from my happy-happy here on the journal that my days are filled with warm cups of coffee and blissful joy. The mailman arrives with the latest praise for my upcoming novel, I’ve already sold the next three, every script of mine is bound in Midas gold, and there’s nothing I can’t do.

It would seem that way if for some reason you read my website with your eyes closed.

I dealt with a particularly rough week of rejection last week, and for the past three months it’s been pretty damn quiet around here in terms of my career, and what will happen with it. Yes, the book stuff aside, but even that comes into play. There’s no telling how this book will do, and in six months it could very well all be over for Why Girls Are Weird. And, you know, I got that job a year ago. Time to get another job.

But you can’t get a job around here until you’ve had one. Can’t sell a script until you’ve sold a script. I haven’t sold a script. I am more than nobody in Los Angeles. I’m beyond nobody. I’m a hopeful nobody, which is even more depressing. No matter how many times I hear the word “No” in a week (or worse — that endless silence when someone just never returns the fucking call), I just keep on plunking away, writing something else, begging another person, carrying around my cell phone like a Tamagotchi.

It’s made working on this new script a little difficult. It’s one thing to fail at something and then try again and watch yourself improve and see the fruits of your labor. But check this: even if I do get better, no matter how much better I get, there’s still a pretty good chance I won’t sell a script. How good the script is has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I’ll be a screenwriter someday.

And how do you work on improving your luck?

So mostly I’ve been listening to Cat Power on like, eleven, pretending I’m rich and famous and don’t need to be working on anything right now. I circle my laptop like Cal watching a cricket, wondering if I could actually write five pages today or ten pages, or if I could have a great day and crank out thirty.

And then I think about how frustrating it will be to have another finished script that everyone said No to, and how all the time I’m about to put into it will result in absolutely, positively nothing. It will be as if it never existed at all.

And then I surf the web for an hour and realize that’s an hour that resulted in absolutely, positively nothing, and if I had been plugging away at the screenplay, no matter how much I hate the script right now, at least I would have some pages with words on them to show for my hour.

So I’m posting this entry before I go to sleep, so that tomorrow all I can do is sit in front of my laptop and work. No Internet. No meetings. Just me and that fucking script that I have to get out of my head. I have to finish something.

I think that’s where the funk is coming from. The two things I’m working on now (new novel, new script) aren’t finished, so I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything.

And it occurs to me now, suddenly — is there anything more boring than reading a writer complain about a lifestyle that allows he or she to sit at home all day and whine about trying to write? Sorry. But I’m not the type that usually suffers a writer’s block, and it’s not that I don’t have an idea, I seem to just feel a bit apathetic towards this new script. It feels futile. I’m not sure how to get my drive up, rev up my gumption and push through it, birth the new script. It’s doing me absolutely no good up in my head. At least it’s got a chance if it actually exists.

These are the tiny anxiety attacks that result in me accidentally giving myself bangs.

Okay. Back to the positives. More books for Oakland!

The newest cool kids:

From Jared, who took things a step further:

[readermail]i just posted a link on my blog to your post about the oakland public library and i’m going to try to get my friends involved in donating as well. thanks for the idea and the inspiration. i’m always looking for “big” things to do, like build a house with habitat for humanity or something and of course the task seems too daunting so i don’t do it. it’s good when people remind you that you CAN do something to better the community, and it doesn’t even have to hurt or be difficult to matter.

thanks again for the excellent community service idea. the bay area thanks you![/readermail]

Deirdre was going for a record:

[readermail]Pamie, you’ve managed to tap into two of my favorite things, and libraries.

I ordered:

Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography” – I just like saying “Lemony Snicket”

From Slavery to Freedom: A History or African Americans” – because everyone should know from whence they came

What Should I Do With My Life” – hoping someone in Oakland will read this and then call me to clue me in.

The Da Vinci Code” – who doesn’t like a good murder mystery?

Betty Crocker’s Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today” – I’m all about the cooking. OK, really I’m all about the eating.

Wow, that felt good! Look at my halo glow! You can read by it!

I’ve forwarded your story on to a bunch of other people who also like to shop online.[/readermail]

From emmie, who wants to help your Spanglish:

[readermail]I love your site (and the rest of the Damn Hell Ass Kings gang), and your plea to help the Oakland library inspired me to pitch in. I’ve ordered “Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space” and “Captain Underpants And The Perilous Plot Of Professor Poopypants: El Capitan Calzoncillos Y El Perverso Plan Del Profesor Pipcac.” I remember many a trip to my tiny local library as a kid, and how any book with the “poop” in the title would attract my attention. I hope that the Spanish version will help out all the kids who haven’t yet fully grasped English, or perhaps an older kid who is just starting to learn Spanish.

Thanks for the heads up on how to help![/readermail]

From Scarlettbelladonna, who will never leave me again:

[readermail]Okay, so I came back home after days and days away, to find a book-giving list! What could I do? I sent the Montclair branch a copy of the Chicago Soundtrack. Because everyone should be able to listen to ho-ey murderesses, am I right? Love you, love the site, *mwah* *mwah*[/readermail]

Everybody’s favorite newly engaged journaler ejshea:

[readermail]Hi there Pam! I’m glad you posted today’s entry; I had completely forgotten about it. I bought two:

A Tisket, a Tasket“, by Ella Fitzgerald, et al;
Knick-Knack Paddywhack: A Moving Parts Book“, by Paul O. Zelinsky

Nothing says “Read Me” better than two books with titles derived from childhood rhymes that stay in your head ALL GODDAMN DAY after merely reading the above words.[/readermail]

Mary-Lynn cares about your hormones:

[readermail]Hi Pamie!

I just send Oakland a couple of books. I’m a librarian myself, but I work in the corporate world. It makes me so sad that public libraries are overlooked and underfunded. I, personally, help them out with scads of overdue fines. Oh yeah, I’m hip to the cause.

To help out Oakland I sent:

“Gettin’ Buck Wild: Sex Chronicles II” (Hardcover) – Because COME ON, someone had to donate some porn! If libraries had more porn (or “erotica”) to check out maybe people would stop looking at it on the free Internet terminals and the poor librarians would have to deal with fewer complaints from parents that Harry the Hardon left the screen open to P0RN-World-‘0-Underaged Girls and corrupted the delicate, burgeoning minds of little Sally and Tom. Of course, I’d hate to the be circ clerk who had to check it back in…

Betty Crocker’s Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today” (Hardcover) – Because porn makes you hungry[/readermail]

Trash and M. Giant not only linked to the cause on their site, they sent over their list of what they recently donated:

[readermail]”Captain Underpants And The Perilous Plot Of Professor Poopypants:
El Capitan Calzoncillos Y El Perverso Plan Del Profesor Pipcac
“, by Dav Pilkey
The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 8)“, by Lemony Snicket
The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 9)”, by Lemony Snicket
The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 7)“, by Lemony Snicket
The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortnate Events, Book 6)“, by Lemony Snicket
Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space,” by Dav Pilkey[/readermail]

Not just readers, but Television Without Pity fans got involved as well. Caitlin writes:

[readermail]I am a longtime reader of your Gilmore Girl recaps. I was hooked after you started talking about being called “Encyclopedia Pam” in grade school, because I can relate.

I have always loved libraries. My family moved a lot when I was younger and libraries were the only steady thing in the numerous small towns we lived in. Now, my high school library (yeah, I’m one of those youngins) is the only thing that gets me through the monotony of the school year.

I’m just writing to tell you that you inspired me to send books to the Oakland Library–if I didn’t have libraries I don’t know what I would do. I want everyone to be able to have an escape like I do. Go libraries! “Rebel,” “The Great Gatsby” and “The Da Vinci Code” were my contributions.[/readermail]

After Oakland resident Jen schooled me on the differences between Oakland and SF bookstores, she then broke down and used the Berkeley one to send Oakland some help:

[readermail]Yo Ms. Pamie- OK, so I just got around to it. Stupid White Men, by Michael Moore, to offset all the copies of Savage Whatnot from that idiot right-winger guy. From Cody’s, since Solar Light Books isn’t up and running yet, I don’t think.

Indie booksellers rock my world.[/readermail]

From Erin:

[readermail]I bought “Arthur and the True Francine, by Marc Brown. My seven year old son, Alex, loves Arthur so I thought we could hook some Oakland kids up with some Arthur love.
Thanks for doing this.[/readermail]

Miranda and Conor helped, too:

[readermail]I was away this weekend so I didn’t catch wind of the OPL drive until today.

I bought Flora’s Surprise…it’s about a rabbit who tries to grow a garden with her mother. I picked this book because my Cabbage Patch Kid’s name was Flora…I miss her.

Anyway, American money was spent outta my poor Canadian wallet for this book so I hope someone enjoys it!![/readermail]

My first Cabbage Patch kid was named Chris Austin. Interestingly enough, that’s the second time in twenty-four hours that I discussed Cabbage Patch Kid names.

Jenipurr cares for both your yin and your yang:

[readermail]The Montclair Branch Library will shortly receive a copy of “Feng Shui for Dummies“. And because after reading the ‘For Dummies’ version, I’m sure all the little Oaklandites will want to learn more (yes, more!) about Feng Shui, I’ve also included a copy of “”Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui“.[/readermail]

After Eden informed me that there was a petition to bring back Inhale, she then did a downward dog and donated all of the money that fell out of her pockets to Oakland:

[readermail]I felt guilty about not sending anything to the Oakland Public Library System, so I sent them, well preordered them, Why Girls are Weird and donated it to the Montclair Branch, because their building looks like it’s out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I’ll donate Steve Ross’s video to my local library when it comes out.[/readermail]

Aw, y’all. Check that out. You know what else I like about going to the Amazon page to see the listing for my novel? The fact that David Sedaris’ name is on there like, twice. I know it’s just because you good people like him as much as I do, but any way that I’m compared to the man makes my decade. Me, Tara and David Sedaris. (Cue Bye, Bye Birdy Music here) “That’s the way it should be-e-e-eee.”

Alison wrote to both me and Wendy to gush about Oakland, and gay role models:

[readermail]Hi Pamie! (and Wendy!)

I bought a copy of “My Two Uncles” for the Oakland Library too… And I agree with you completely Wendy – they will definitely need multiple copies. We should be able to enlighten more than one child at a time, y’all!

And in addition to my being proud of myself for being an educated and worldly person and wanting to educate more people, here’s another great reason to have bought this book and to encourage others to be proud of the wonderful gay men in our lives:

My best friend Mark showed up at my house at 6:30 this morning, completely out of the blue and in order to catch me before I left at 7 for work. Why, you ask? He came by to pick up my laundry. See I hate (make that HATE) to do laundry and I put it off for weeks on end. He decided, for absolutely no reason (besides loving me I guess), to do my laundry for me today.

All 7 loads. At the laundromat. With like $30 worth of quarters. His quarters.

I think that might be the best gift I’ve ever received in my life. Seriously.

So, since my children (should I ever have them) will someday have the wonderful, laundry-doing Mark and his beautiful husband Todd as their two uncles, I feel the need to make sure that great books like this that explain about different families are out there and available.

My day was MADE by that gesture.

May you be blessed by laundry-doers too!!

OH – Pamie, I meant to add that since I have no website to link too, like all the supercool kids do, can you give a little shout-out to instead? I am a volunteer with them and they deserve accolades aplenty![/readermail]

Two links for And let that be a lesson to you people. The best gift? Doing their laundry. Although I’d be nervous to let a pile of my clothes go to a friend. I’m still embarrassed about the time almost two years ago when my boyfriend’s mom folded up our laundry from the dryer when we were out one night. Y’all. Your boyfriend’s mom shouldn’t ever be anywhere near your thongs.

And that’s one to grow on.

See everybody who has donated (and an eclectic book list it is) here.

Currently reading

The Bone People. Last stretch, now. I can’t believe how much it sucked me in just when i thought I was going to hate it. I’ve never had a book narrate to me in an accent before, but I can hear these people’s voices. I can even hear the sound of Simon singing. It’s amazing to me. I don’t really want the book to end, but it’s all so damn depressing that I’ve got to move on or I’ll fall into a bigger funk.

Buy My Book

Leave a Reply

Comments (