The past couple weeks have been busy with writing, editing, blogging, landing a new day job, social media-ing, and the like. Oh, for the carefree summers of childhood: long days spent chasing ice cream trucks, hitting up amusement parks, chillaxing with friends by the pool. I didn’t even get over to the Alameda County Fair this year, and those deep-fried Oreos and battered pickle chips were dearly missed.
But, oh well. As mentioned above, time has been put to good use. The edits on WINGS OF WAX are done, and I’ve spent the recent past doing a proofread for minor errors and typos. This week the manuscript will be ready to send off to the actual proofreader at Booktrope Publishing. Hooray! I had a meeting with my stellar marketing manager, April Gerard, last week and we’re shooting for an early November/December release date for the novel. Winter seems a ways away, especially while contemplating the horizon beneath the summer sun, but time goes fast.
Speaking of summer, now that I think about it, the last several have been equally busy. I began the first draft of WINGS OF WAX while in graduate school and, by the end of summer post graduation, I had a completed manuscript. Those months between May and September of 2010 were a whirlwind of writing sessions. I wasn’t working a day job then, so the mornings were free for reading. By noon I’d be off on a dog walk with music or audio-books on the headphones. I still remember the reading lists and playlists from that period. I was deep into The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (one of my literary heroes) and Draining the Sea by Micheline Marcom (one of my professors at Mills College, and also an artistic influence). Among the audio books I listened to were The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace, and The Invisible Mountain by Carolina De Robertis, a fellow Mills alum.
The music on rotation included Drake’s Thank Me Later, Big Boi of Outkast’s Sir Lucious Leftfoot LP, and Odd Blood by Yeasayer. These stories and sounds informed my writing process as the poetic prose, poignant lyrics, and eclectic rhythms prepped me for the day’s writing. By the time I returned home around twelve-thirty or one o’ clock, I was due for a light lunch, then on to the writing desk. I began those sessions as I do any other: by reading through, and editing the previous day’s work until I got into the flow and started writing new material. Once that happened, I’d toil through the next few hours. And toil is the correct verb. As mentioned in a previous blog, I don’t work like some writers who are able to crank out twenty pages in a sitting to end up with a few salvageable ones, though I do admire that kind of output. My process seems more akin to a sculptor’s: etching sentences with the precision of chisel against stone, crafting phrases as though from marble; each tap of the computer keys carving into the white space of the page. That’s to say I tinker and contemplate and analyze as I go. But I’m off on a tangent now.
Anyway, the closest I got to a vacation that summer were weekend trips down to my mom’s place in Monterey. I remember reflecting on my work a lot during those getaways, wondering if all the effort would ever pay off. Here I am, five years and several drafts, submissions, and rejections later, finally on the verge of seeing my novel published!
Next summer it looks like I’ll be making a long overdue trip back to Greece. But this summer as I toil with my new work-in-progress, a novel-in-short-stories tentatively titled Heroes with Gyros about young, Greek-American entrepreneurs chasing their dreams amidst the current Oakland arts scene, I’m set to finally take a real vacation, albeit closer to home than the motherland. On Thursday, Katie and I are heading up to Seattle for the release party celebrating my high school buddy, and fellow Booktropian, AC Fuller’s new novel The Anonymous Source.
I’m really looking forward to a long weekend of playing tourist among Pike Place and the Space Needle. It’s going to feel like summer at last, and undoubtedly, between laughs alongside my lady, I’ll recall those carefree summers of old.