Sunday, April 5, 2015

To Fishy or Not to Fishy, Dream Thoughts, Novel News

I managed to keep my Beta alive for almost two years—a record for me with Betas—but last week he finally departed to the great fish bowl in the sky after a battle with fungus that we couldn’t get under control despite our best alchemical efforts. I’m debating getting a new fish. I like water creatures, and I enjoy having a little mini-ecosystem to look after. But an ecosystem is a lot of work, especially for Betas, since they have such a narrow set of parameters in which they thrive. They don’t lend themselves well to the careless. I didn’t change the water in right way and in the right time often enough, and I didn’t have very much patience with the fussiness it took to keep the aquarium chemically balanced. I’m better at caring for hearty critters who can handle a little benign neglect, like my cat Yoshi who I can literally toss outside when he annoys me.  I just don’t know if I’m ready for the responsibility of another Beta. It’s time like these when I think, “God, I would have made such a great mom!”

I’ve been trying to make a habit of typing up my dreams in the mornings after I first wake up, just in case my unconscious has some super-important message it’s trying deliver. I don’t want to miss anything. After a few weeks, I’m not seeing any compelling symbolic patterns or Lotto numbers coming up, but I have faith. I jotted this one down in my pre-coffee haze a few mornings ago: “Dream thought: What if our great spiritual lesson as human beings is not about how to cultivate love and compassion, but about how to tolerate boredom?” A catalogue of random symbols that have shown up over the last month include an extremely menacing black adder who exposed his fangs at me, moving bridges of light over a wide river, a mountain made of fine white crystals, a red leather-bound book that didn’t contain the poem I was looking for, and a special device that was gifted to me, designed to help me see in the fog. The catch was that it had an aperture that could be narrowed, which made the light beam much brighter, but covered far less of an area, or it could be opened wider, which would put out a weaker beam but a provide wider expanse of light. Apparently, even my dreams demand compromise.

I’m almost done with the second draft of the novel! I have three specific scenes I need to cut into the last fifty pages, and I can feel myself running out of mental stamina, so I need to write them sooner than later. I started one of the scenes last week, but quickly realized it’s not really pushing the plot forward; it’s more like re-hashing just to control the pacing. So I have to re-write it to make it more relevant to the plot. That, and just a few more nips and tucks, and I’m going to consider it complete. My goal is to have it done by June, and then start figuring out which publishers it would be a good fit for it. My friend will help me with a query letter and a summary, and then it’s off to races with submitting queries. I’ve been reading up on the query process a bit more in preparation, and pre-steeling myself for the inevitable avalanche of rejection to come. But still, I’m keeping a bright little packet of hope tucked in my heart that something will come of this journey.

--Kristen McHenry

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