Monday, July 30, 2007

The Novelization of My Life

Writing is HARD!

Yes, I am whining. I am allowing myself just that one moment before I shut the hell up. This marks the moment when I start my novel...finally. I can delay it no longer. I have formed a writing group (I think we're sticking with the name The Midnight Pages) and we are meeting to exchange our work tomorrow. Right now I have a tentative title (something along the lines of "TS Untitled Book One") and a header with pagination. The first line is killing me. I need to get past that hurdle and then it's smooth sailing.

I need to write Chapter One tonight. 10-12 pages minimum and we'll see how it goes from there. But right now, my biggest obstacle is that first line. A good opening line is crucial and while I could write a mediocre line and come back later to edit it into something fantastic, I find that my opening line is just as important to me, the writer, as it will be to the readers. It sets the tone, it gives you a first impression of the narration (and in this case, the main character). And as we all know, first impressions count. So I want to start off right. I'm certainly not doing so by blogging about it, but I thought maybe I'd get the writing juices flowing. Maybe it would inspire me. I have the whole scene in my head -- now to put it onto paper.

God, you authors out there! How do you do it?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Steam Pipe - Alvina's Story

Hey everyone, check out Bloomabilities for Alvina's version of the steam pipe explosion. Hers is a much calmer and much-less freaked out version than mine and it also includes a picture (which is really why I am sharing it).


By the way, I am extremely covetous of peoples' digicams. If anybody wants to buy me a digital camera for Christmas, I won't object. Better yet, make it a Labor Day present and I'll love you forever. HA! So begins my Christmas list (no I don't usually start making one so early, or at all unless otherwise requested). But since the opportunity is presenting itself, sure why not.

Christmas List (so far):
*Digital camera

*A cute booknerd to cuddle with
*A 13th hour that I can use for sleeping (midnight +1) or reading (noon +1)

I'll just have to remember to come find this list a little later

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Spoilers

Who all read Harry Potter over the weekend?

Let's discuss in the comments so as not to spoil anyone who hasn't.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A hole in the world

Those of you who have been paying attention to the news are probably sick of hearing about this by now, but I'm blogging about it.

This afternoon (or early evening -- it was after 5:30, as I was well aware I was already staying late) a steam pipe exploded on 41st and Lexington Ave. in Manhattan. That is 4 blocks away from my office. I'm not ashamed to admit that I was absolutely terrified.

I was standing in Alvina's cube when we hear this rumble, like thunder. Only it kept going, lasting far longer than thunder should last. Then the lights started to flicker. I think it wasn't until after the lights started flickering that we noticed the rumble was still going. My overactive imagination had me already panicking a bit. I kept envisioning an airplane flying right toward our windows. I was getting jumpy and my heart was racing. Then the fire alarms sounded and the fire warden came on the loudspeaker. I don't even think I heard what he was saying, I was so busy flipping. I grabbed my bag, threw a book (Stray by Rachel Vincent -- represented by the fabulous Miriam Kriss), my MP3 player and my cell phone into it, and hightailed it to the fire stairs. I was soon joined by most of the people who were still in the office.

The fire warden had said something about a fire on the third floor but we didn't want to wait for instructions because one of our editorial director's is about 8 months pregnant. We were NOT waiting. We started filing down and other floors were doing the same, so we kept heading down. Around the 5th floor, it started feeling hotter. I got freaked and my fellow ed. asst. Lauren had to grab my arm to calm me. She could tell by my face that I was flipping out. I hadn't reached verbal flip-out level yet but I was close. And I was getting frustrated. People were slowing down and just standing in the stairwell. All I could think was that there was a fire on the third floor and that something was going to explode and we had just herded ourselves down to be right near it. I envisioned walls collapsing, I envisioned planes hitting the building and hoping it wouldn't hurt if I was decapitated by debris. My mind screamed, "MOVE PEOPLE!"

Finally we get to the third floor and people are filing off from there as well. We can clearly see there is no fire, so I calm a bit (but not much). We finally make it into the lobby and out of the building and all I can see is smoke rising from beyond Grand Central Station. I looked at Andrea, our editorial director, and said "I'm heading north." She nodded and a bunch of us, including all three editorial directors, our publisher and a few assistants, started walking north on Park Avenue. I was terrified. I kept looking back, looking up, picturing horrific things. I called my mother to see if she had heard anything on the news, but when I finally got through the damn phone traffic, she hadn't heard a thing. Buildings for blocks and blocks were evacuating, people were standing on the streets looking terrified and confused, concerned but curious. Car services had their windows open and their radios turned up as loud as possible so people on the street could hear news. I called my roommate who works at the NY Post in Midtown West and she hadn't heard anything about it. She was shocked when I told her places were evacuating.

Luckily one of our ed. directors is engaged to a firefighter and by the time we had reached the low 50's, we knew it was a steam pipe/transformer explosion. However, a lot of us were still pretty rattled and there was still a lot of confusion. I ended up walking to my friend/coworker, Carolyn's apartment and watching the news for a while. I spoke with numerous family members and friends who might watch the news and freak out, and when we had all heard the same steam pipe story over and over, I started to calm down. Carolyn was kind enough to pump me full of caffeinated soda as we watched TV for updates and flipped through her PostSecret book.

Finally I calmed down enough and had updated enough of my out-of-city loved ones that I started thinking about the coworkers that didn't walk our way when we exited the building. I called Connie (Alvina's assistant and my buddy) and a bunch of our group had migrated to her apt. in Chelsea. I called my boss, who had left shortly before all of this occurred, to make sure she was ok and hadn't been near Grand Central when all of this happened. She texted later to let me know she was ok. At around 8:00, I grabbed my bag and headed to the Q101 to take the bus back to Queens. Thank god someone showed me how to use the bus recently, because I had no desire to go into underground tunnels when an underground pipe had just exploded, spewing hot steam and possibly asbestos. A few of my new bus friends and I had a good vent session as we waited for the bus driver to take a much-needed break (it took him 1 hour to do one round of stops -- he said he can usually do three rounds in that time -- I'm not sure if I believe that but that's what he said). Once I got off in Astoria, I gave a long, loving glance to the oh-so-familiar-and-safe Rite-Aid on the corner and trooped back to my apartment.

If you want to read a news article about the whole thing,
go here. Thanks to KTBuffy for the link.

Looking back on this whole thing, I was absolutely terrified. My mind was going to places it never wanted to go, I feared for my life, and I feared for the lives of my coworkers and bosses who looked just as terrified as I did. My heart goes out to those people who were injured or killed, and to their families, but I am so glad this wasn't an attack. I love New York City and I love my job, but I don't know what I would've done if this had been something worse. And that thought alone is enough to send shivers down my spine.

A truly trying day to endure after two days in bed, sick. I'd be happy with never having to go through something like that ever again! For now, I'm off to bed, to console myself with my book and another glass of my roommate's sugar-free fruit punch that I need to replace (it's so good AND SUGAR-FREE, I can't stop drinking it -- I need to order a case off the internet or something). And to leave things on a positive note, since I'd rather not wake up with a cruddy attitude (especially if I have to deal with the train situation tomorrow), I found a new blog to read. -- it is HYSTERICAL! Go read it ASAP!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I've fallen ill

I'm sorry I've fallen off the face of the planet yet again. I had a few blogs I've been planning, and I was also supposed to be starting my novel, but unfortunately I've fallen ill. Yes, sometime on Saturday I started feeling really crappy. I thought it was just a migraine, and I spent all Sunday in bed feeling rather unproductive. There were a few unpleasant incidences that I won't go into detail about. I woke up ridiculously early today and realized there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to make it to work.

Now I should mention -- I HATE calling out sick. I hate it. I used to LOVE calling out sick because it meant I didn't have to go into work. That was back when I hated my jobs. Now I actually like my job and I'm emotionally invested in the work I do. Staying home sick feels like I am leaving my baby on a subway train or something. I feel like something is happening I should know about, or that I am missing a deadline I can't remember because I don't have my Outlook calendar to remind me, or that someone is mad at me for not being there. I hate this feeling...almost more than actually being sick. If I could've lifted my head off the pillow for longer than it took to call out, I would've gone in. But it wouldn't have been a pretty sight.

Now my sleep schedule is all thrown off because I was in bed all day, and I still feel pretty crappy. I'm about to get in bed, but somehow I feel like I am still not going to feel up to snuff tomorrow. I HATE this! There was a time when I never got sick while I was at work, or at school. I saved my "sick days" for mental health days or for classes I knew I would hate because, somehow, I never got sick. I wouldn't fall ill until I got home for Christmas break. Then, suddenly, I would be bedridden for most of the holiday. I missed a good number of family parties because my body saved up the sickness until I had time off. But now that I actually like my job and don't want to call out sick? It's like my body doesn't remember it's little trick.

I hate this! And I hate it even more because, at least when I would get sick over the holidays I had family to take care of me. I hate being a grown-up and having to take care of myself when I can barely function. I'm lucky I was able to summon up the strength to throw a bedsheet over my bedroom window on Sunday, before I got really sick, so that no excess sunlight comes in and makes me want to die.

Send me get-well vibes. I need to be back in by Wednesday or I am going to pitch a fit! If not from OCD-workaholic syndrome than from sheer boredom. And while my head is slowly starting to feel less and less like an overripe grapefruit, my chest and lungs are beginning to rebel. I feel like I just smoked a carton of cigarettes and then ran a marathon. And my back is starting to kill from laying in bed all day. This is, hands down, the #1 reason why I need to find a doctor who isn't in Manhattan. I am in no shape to haul myself to the kitchen to make some soup, let alone to an appointment in Midtown.

Ok, enough bitching. Off to bed. Pray I wake up and have miraculously healed myself.