Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Madison Avenue, ONE, and The Magic Of Asking

WARNING: its kinda long. Because I ramble. And pretty stream of conscious.
Backstory: I'm kind of in graduate school in CUNY X, and yesterday after class and working at the lab, I walked to the apple store to see if they could fix my poor, broken iPod. But like with all doctors in the city, you can't just walk in to see the doctor- you need to make an appointment. I made an appointment for the next evening with the iPod doctor- I had to go back to the lab after the day job, anyway. On my way to the subway, I passed 650 Madison and lo and behold, there was ONE! In all it's super fancy and artistic glory! Nestled next to the Tod's storefront. Which, by the way, is gorgeous. Ha! I thought. It would be so fun if I put up the Goodreads URL next to it for some fun advertising. So I snapped the picture and tweeted it later, along with that little nugget of idea. Would I? Well, doing things like asking random security guards for favors is something I do (insert all the weird KK stories here). Life is more fun, and people say yes a heck of a lot more often than we expect them to.
So today, I printed out the goodreads URL for ONE, and decided to make a stop at 650 again before the iPod doctor appointment. Because why not. There were two guys at the front desk- one sitting there and one just hanging out. Maybe for moral support, I don't know. I knew that if I would just go over to hang up the sign they would have security drag me away, which for real? I don't have time for.
Over I go to the desk, which is decorated with these beautiful orange lilies in huge glass vases. The whole place pretty much screams "you are not nearly rich or classy enough to even step your pathetic discount shoes in HERE, you peasant". But that's okay. They're probably right.
Then came the following conversation:
Dude behind desk: Can I help you?
Me: *turns on charm and flutters eyelashes* can I ask you for a funny sort of favor?
Dude: You can ask, and I'll try my best to help.
Me: A friend of mine is an Author, and wrote an INCREDIBLE book, called ONE. It's coming out in June, and I walked by and saw the art on the wall, and I wanted to know if its possible for me to hang up a little sign underneath it, take a picture of it really quickly, and then take it down as a fun kind of gift for her. It will take me like, a minute. *smiles prettily and thinks happy thoughts*
Dude: I'm not sure, ma'am. (MA'AM???? HOW OLD DO I LOOK?!?! No. Stay happy. No evil eyes, KK) I have to ask my manager.
Me: okay, thanks. *flutter, flutter, flutter*
Dude walkie-talkies the boss. No answer. We all wait.
Meanwhile, a few people walk through the lobby, and we (security dudes and me) make small talk. I could have taken the picture like, forty two times, but no need to make security people mad.
More waiting. More small talking (we talk about the art- the ONE and another piece of art hanging on the wall. Apparently they had been taken down for repairs or something, and had just been put back up on Sunday. Then we talk about me working nearby and not being a tourist. And about how excellent One the book is, and how they definitely should read it when it comes out, or buy it as a gift for their loved ones, who should read it, also). And more people watching.
Dude: (because now we're friends and such) *leans towards me* honestly, I don't think my manager is going to let you take a picture. If I were you, I'd take a picture now and photoshop the website onto it.
Me: *thinks, well, I may as well take the picture now just in case he's right*
I'm about to pull out my camera and take the picture when The Manager appears.
I explain the story again to The Manager, who tells me, that sadly, they have been given strict orders not to let ANYONE take pictures in the lobby, and if I wanted to, I could make an appointment to meet with the heads of security (wait, I thought that was him! Guess not...) tomorrow morning. But I have to be at work. So no.
The conversation round robins for a bit, with him not letting me take a picture in the lobby, even though I've pretty much sworn on my future college degrees, children, and promised him chocolate. Darn.
As a last ditch effort, I ask him if hypothetically, I could take the picture right outside the door (because I have to ask now that they'll be watching me). And HOORAY!! I can, because once its outside of the building, there's nothing they can do.
Something better than nothing, correct?
So I thank them all so nicely for all their help, promise to pass on their well-wishes to Leigh Ann, and walk outside the building.
Snap the picture.

Wave goodbye to new friends the desk guys and the managing desk guy, and walk back to Apple for my iPod doctor appointment.
iPods is replaced for smallish amount of money, I get a free piece of chocolate from Godiva on the way to the lab, and whip together the picture before going to the lab. Lab adventures ensue, I go home and work on the WIP and clean for Passover, and everyone lives happily ever after.
People are always afraid to ask for things. But if you walk in confident, charming and polite, and realize that people actually tend to be pretty helpful, the WORST thing that can happen is that you'll get a moderately entertaining story out of the deal.
OTHER MORAL OF THE STORY: If you haven't added ONE to your TBR Goodreads list, now is the time to do it.

In other news, Passover is next week, so I'll be MIA for chunks of the week. But all the siblings are home, and my grandparents are coming soon, so family partying will commence. And if nobody kills anyone else, we will win the holiday season again. Woo to the hoo. :)
Hope everyone's spring is coming along marvelously, and that it's feeling like spring wherever you are (I'm still waiting...)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Eat Peanut Butter (And Take A Break)

Well, I’m back! (in New York, that is.) The little trip to Los Angeles was great. The meeting I went in for was wonderful- I really am happy I went. And I got to spend a few days with one of my best friends, which in it of itself was worth the money for the plane ticket. I wish I could tell you that the whole trip was idyllic, frolicking around Los Angeles with the rich and famous. That I hit 50K, which was my goal for the trip (I couldn’t let friend ditch all her classes to hang out with me. I don’t want anyone’s college failures on my head) but alas. God and Delta had other plans.
To make a long complicated story short, my carry on was checked right before the flight, and that was the last time I saw it. Said carry on held important things like my clothing, my makeup, and oh yeah, my laptop.
I won’t bore you with the details of the many phone calls I have made in an attempt to find my bag again. How much peanut butter I consumed (not just regular, but chocolate peanut butter and white chocolate peanut butter too...). The repurchasing of a wardrobe for four days, because the alternative was me walking around naked. And I don’t think Los Angeles was ready for that kind of trauma.
I can tell you the crippling relief I felt when I realized I had backed up my current WIP on Google Drive two days before I left. For reals, I nearly cried in relief. (Lesson: ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR STUFF.)
I’ve been rewriting blog posts, book reviews, and all sorts of other things that I have scheduled on my iPad, and on the library computers, because I am currently computer-less. *sob*
I haven’t touched my WIP for a week. As someone who is neurotically scheduled, this does not do anything nice to my poor abused nerves.
K, I feel a little better. Not MUCH better, but a little. *sniff*
But to quote the ever-wise Monty Python, ‘Always look on the bright side of life…’
And so, even though it’s not always easy, I’m going to find a bright side of this whole debacle.

It’s called time.
If I want to be honest with myself, the WIP has been slowing down to a crawl. The plot is unraveling, and sometimes I wonder if there still is a plot at all. Writing and writing and writing every day doesn’t always give me time to THINK about it for a little. To really let the plot marinate in my head before rushing and typing it all out as fast as my fingers can.

Sometimes, a break is necessary.
I’ll hit 50k- and 60, and 70, and 80, and 90, please God. It’s not even like I’m racing anyone else- I’m only racing an imaginary version of myself. A more put together, more talented, and WAY more organized version of myself.
Who, by the way?
Does not exist. (Hence, the whole imaginary thing there)

So John Hughes pretty much wrote the whole 16 Candles in a weekend. There are some people who write entire books in a month (Hi, NaNoWriMo winners!) Obviously, for this book, for this time, I am not meant to be joining that club.
There are people who spend years- decades even- writing the same story.
They aren’t any better or any worse than the people who do it in a month.
Everyone’s creative process is going to be different. Some people are going to write a perfect book on the first draft. Some people will need to rewrite it forty seven million times. There are some people who are anal about plotting every single sentence before ever writing the first word. There are some people who don’t even bother with any sort of planning, and just let the story wander wherever it decides to go.

One isn’t any better than the other. They’re just different roads to get to the same place. Going 80 down a highway isn’t better or worse than going 20 and taking time to stop at all the goofy tourist traps- they’re just different ways of getting there.
There is no minimum or maximum for bathroom stops. We’re all going to get there eventually. With unexpected traffic, with discovered shortcuts, with goofy music blasting and the windows rolled down, with weird transmissions and dead batteries. With trees and cheese sandwiches, with picnics of chocolate and jelly beans and lemonade, and gallons of coffee and tea. With ridiculous pictures, dumb videos, getting pulled over for no reason. In whatever vehicle you’re getting there in- car, motorcycle, an 18-wheeler, a covered wagon or a unicycle.
Everyone’s going to have a different trip there.
Everyone’s going to take their own route.
We’ll all get there in good time.

Now, I’m off to revisit my lovely, neglected WIP. Hopefully, I’ll be #1hr1k ing a bunch this weekend- I’d love for you to join me should you so desire. Or you can just say hi on Twitter (, and I’ll say hi back. :)

(And a bonus because when I discover something that I listen to on repeat, I feel it is only fair to make you do the same. I have a weakness for good a cappella. And ermagod, these boys are GOOD. You’re welcome.)