Monday, December 8, 2008

Thanksgiving

Yes, yes, I know its been a while. I have no one to blame but Wendy.

Seriously, we have just been so out straight with commitments that I can't explain right now, that we have had no time on the computer. We went to a party Friday that lasted until three a.m. and had another commitment, an hour away, at noon the next day. That lasted until four then we met up with more long lost friends and danced and talked until eleven-thirty and then had a half an hour ride home. We slept until nine then had a day trip with a couple that lasted until six. It has been three days since I have even had this computer on.

Cry me a river Wakefield.

Just trying to explain that it's not that I don't love and respect you, but for once it's not because I am lazy or because I had one of my horrible mental breakdowns or have just plain been ignoring everyone, but because honestly, it has not been possible.

Below is an update I wrote a while ago but wasn't happy with so have not posted it. I hope I've reworked it enough to be enjoyable. After that is a plea for book help.

So many stories.

The first involving my brother John and his deer.

Well, let’s start with John. John is my older brother and did a great job as an older brother all through high school. A critical time. He was a major jock (although short, which doesn’t matter in wrestling) and won many tournaments and even a couple “Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament” trophies. But, he hasn’t been reading my blog so I need to tell you some bad stuff to make you laugh and humiliate him.

One day he calls me up for computer help. “I bought a new video card. Can you help me install it?”

“Sure. First, take the case off.”

I wait a few minutes and then he says “okay, done.”

“Follow the cable from your monitor down to your computer. See the card that the cable is plugged into?”

“Yes.”

“Unscrew the screw that is holding that in place and in the back of that card is a little latch on the motherboard. Slide it to the side and pull the card out. It will require a bit of force.”

Long pause.

“What’s wrong?”

“The screen went black.”

…….

“Oh my God! Are you doing this with your computer on and booted up?”

“Yes, is that bad?”

“I don’t know do you change your oil with the car running too?”

“Dumb, huh?”

“Very.”

“Never tell anyone about this okay?”

So, my family has always been into deer hunting. This year John put a lot of hard work into deer hunting. Scouting a lot, reading tons of books on the subject, buying new equipment. So, deer season starts and we talk some days on Instant Messenger. “Anything yet?”

“No, but I have the week off, so I’m hopeful.”

The week ends with John getting nothing.

He hunts on the weekends and two weeks go by. Last day of muzzle-loader season.

“Hey, I got a deer.”

“Awesome!”

He forwards me some pictures that look like Bambi’s little brother.

I think to myself “Man, that’s great he got a deer, but man, that thing is tiny. Kinda sad actually.”

That night John’s wife is keeping him awake somehow. Or he’s too hot or some damn thing. I don’t know. He goes downstairs to sleep on the couch. At five a.m. his automatic lights go off and wake him up. “This is a sign” he thinks and gets his ass out of bed into the woods.

Later that day…

“Hey, I got another deer.”

“What? The next day?”

He forwards me some pictures of a trophy quality eight point buck weighing a hundred and eight-six pounds. Enormous for New Hampshire. And he got it with a bow on the first day of bow season.

Congrats John.

Lets rewind to just after the last update, right before we left for the states.

At the moment I am doing okay but the past few days have been hell. I started to have some anxiety and took some meds that have had mixed results in the past. The results they had this time were less than stellar. Everything I ate for days came right back up and I was exhausted for days. Had tapas with Lena and Stefan, drank a glass of red wine and five minutes later it was coming out my nose and throat in the bathroom downstairs. I tried again with the same result.

My teeth are in agony. Have I mentioned I now have braces? My gums are bleeding and on Thursday I threw up about a half pint of blood.

Flying is much easier now. I was actually looking forward to it on Friday because I have been exhausted from the medicine for days. Nine hours sitting and possible sleeping sounded like heaven to me. We got to the airport two hours ahead of time and made it to our flight with only ten minutes to spare. It wasn’t close or anything, but still annoying that with two hour leeway you can’t get to your plane with time to spare. Air travel blows.

The movies were actually good for once. In order of appearance, “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “Mama Mia” and “Get Smart.” I slept through most of Journey but woke up for “Mama Mia.”

Abba kicks the Beatles ass, I’m sorry but you know it’s true. While I give Stefan shit about his Ipod having N’sync and 98 degrees on it, he does have a fine selection of Abba as well. Coming back from a wine festival in Toro; Lena, Stefan, Wendy and I are all screaming “Dancing Queen” at the top of our lungs while driving back to Madrid. You will never have moments like this listening to the Beetles. I’m sorry, but “Hey Jude” just doesn’t inspire that kind of behavior.

Let the flames begin.

I guess I should explain that Mama Mia is a musical based on the songs of Abba. The story isn’t great but it’s not awful either. The music on the other hand kicked so much ass. I cried. So did Wendy. Look, I’m nauseous, in pain, exhausted and had a glass of wine in me. Blame my awful brain. I loved it. I so loved it I wanted to watch the whole thing over again the second it was done.

Oh yeah, and Meryl Streep. I don’t like Meryl Streep. I never have. But she was fantastic in this movie and sang better than the lead singers of Abba on the songs she performed.

Get Smart started soon after but the crowd on the plane was too noise to listen to the movie even with the headphones jacked all the way up. About five seats ahead of us were three guys that were drinking heavily in the terminal before we left and continued to drink the whole trip back to the states. One of the stewardess’ even asked them to quiet down twice in five minutes. Despite the noise being so loud you couldn’t hear the movie, I still fell back into a deep sleep a half an hour later.

We are back in the states and in NY for a couple of days.

Went out to dinner last night with Wendy, her brother Jimmy and his wife Laurie. Again, I could not believe the service in America compared to Spain. Many times a waiter would come over and stand a good distance away, perpendicular to the table. So, it never looked like he was facing us, waiting for us to finish the conversation, but more, like he was surveying the restaurant to see if anyone, elsewhere, needed anything. But you raise a finger and he immediately saw it, approached the table and got you whatever you needed. It was fantastic.

In Spain the waiters will come into a crowded room, up to a table that needs service, with their head down, then leave with their head down, actively avoiding making eye contact with any other customer so they don’t have to help you. You can have signal flags they will pretend not to see you.

Wendy has a half brother, Paul, we joking refer to as “Rock and Roll Jimmy.” He used to look just like Wendy’s other brother Jim, but with long rocker style hair, torn t-shirts and ripped jeans. He’s older now and age has separated their looks a bit. He has a Led Zeppelin cover band that, coincidentally, was in town the night we arrived. After dinner we went to watch him perform.

I don’t know why this guy doesn’t have a record deal. His voice is amazing and he has a great stage presence. He and his band rocked out for three hours and we had a blast. They finished up at five a.m. Madrid time and I was done. Just out on my feet.

We came back to Jimmy & Laurie’s and I was one of those states where you are so tired your mind won’t even let go. My heart was racing and I could not slip into sleep for almost half an hour. I was awake again in two hours and in a lot of pain. I was able to go back to sleep in half an hour but again was awake in an hour. It was ten a.m. Madrid time, four a.m. American. Wendy was awake with me for a couple of hours but at seven a.m. we were finally able to go back to sleep for two more hours.

The rest of the trip went fine with the anxiety fading away. We had a blast in NY and then flew to Vermont for ten days with my family. We hosted Thanksgiving for the first time and my turkey (with a lot of help from Prince Todd, my chef brother-in-law) came out perfect. The melding of my family with Wendy’s dad and his girlfriend went great, lots of wine was drunk and everyone had a story to tell. I have been in great shape mentally since we left Madrid. Thank God. Of course, my teeth still hurt and I hate my braces.

And now for a request.

Marilyn’s story is essentially done. I need people to read it and give me feedback if they so desire. The feedback I’m looking for could be any kind of editorial. Chris McMahon is doing some great editing for me but I also need feedback like what I got from Alison Wreath. Her comments have already been taken into consideration and changed the book. (Thank you again Alison.)

“From the beginning: It has a charming (that’s not the right word) quality to it. I was smiling to myself as I pictured a young Jamie and Marilyn essentially living out the dream that so many young couples never find. That entire first section was so easy to picture and follow.

From Thursday Sept 22nd, 2005: Also written so it’s very easy to follow and really picture what’s happening. The dates showing up periodically really hammer home that this was real. These are entries in a person’s life diary. Your trademark….how to put it?....’easy flowing commentary’; is still here. “we three in the comedy cubicle” actually made me laugh out loud. Love the “beep” portion! Made me smile even as I knew the dark was coming. The “Two more members in the cult of Marilyn” story is amazing. Lorelei sounds like the kind of friend most of us can’t even dream about.

From Sunday Oct 2nd, 2005: I began to feel your growing upset, discontent, fear. The personal writing on your thoughts as you sought help and protection for Marilyn was important for the reader to understand how the situation was changing. The neurosurgeon with Tourette’s was a glimpse that proved the world was still revolving normally as you were forced to become more and more fixated on the challenges you dealt with in your own world.

The letters written by Marilyn and Lorelei really add to the book. The different perspective really helps give a different cadence to the story. I’m wondering if there can be a better way to delineate when you are speaking (the main narrator) and when “guest” narrators are speaking. There were a couple of times I ran into different narrators and realized half way through that the font was different. I understand that I missed the caption of the different speaker, but if I did then others will too.

From Sunday Jan. 22nd, 2006: By this point I’ve had a glass of wine or two and every setback is heart wrenching. Every piece of me is hoping and praying for Marilyn to have some BIG positive. Something that makes everything normal (amazing) for a while. I cling to the positives offered me. The days of watching a full movie together. Of being able to enjoy the taste of food. Of sweet, sweet naps. J

After a while I look for something more besides the disjointed diary entries. Maybe a flashback here or there. Something to pick up the mood? Is it disrespectful to try and pick up the mood? Something different. This is the only stage where a non-fan just reading the book may put it down, I think to myself. When people read books they need to have continually new and interesting things given to them to keep them entangled in the story. At this point there have been many similar days in the hospital and out that sound much the same.

I remember some of the very entertaining stories you wrote in some of your old columns. I’m hoping Bobby can find some of his favorite excerpts to give you an example of what type of writing the fans like best. Understanding the different nature of the stories….I’m recalling a writing *style*.

From Monday Apr 17th, 2006: At this point (for no reason I can figure out) I stop thinking….when is it going to change? I’m sucked back in. I read faster now. I wonder why I could feel a difference. Something about the tone of the writing changed about here and I noticed it. I don’t know what or why though. More downs than ups? More appreciation for the smaller ups? More foreboding?

The portions where Marilyn is mussing about how her day revolves around BM’s are.....Inspirational? Touching? Comforting?. Again, a reminder that she’s The Lovely Mare. She is a wonderful and *real* person dealing with a horrible reality. And her essence is still there. I feel that many more will be coaxed into ‘the cult of Marilyn’ in this section. Her strength can be felt through the pages.

From Wednesday May 17th, 2006: I never stopped crying from here until I finished the book. It all crashes in on you from the words “Get some Kleenex and shut your door. It isn’t good.” Don’t change that. They are two bare, emotive sentences.
The entries move quickly. Too quickly when you think what the end has to be, but appropriate for a book.

From Tuesday May 30th, 2006: Again, this was all sobs as I read the words poured out by those who love her. Non-fans might identify more with this if there’s a little more structure to it. Something other than letter after letter. The ending with sympathy letters is the perfect length. Perfect tribute. Perfect ending.”

A few of you might be thinking “Why would you let us read the book? Don’t you want sales later?”

Yeah, I want sales that put me on the best seller list and Oprah’s book club. I need the rest of the world to want my writing so I need you to help me make it the best it can possibly be.

Send me an email at Jaedence at yahoo dot com if you would like to help.

Thanks.

(Sorry for the delay Joe.)

3 comments:

  1. Quality Post. Thanks for writing.

    -J

    ReplyDelete
  2. The only person worse than you with updating their blog is Wendy.
    Yours not mine.
    If you do not write it...they will not come.

    ReplyDelete
  3. John is wrong. Apparently I'M the only person worse with my blog. It's been 6 MONTHS! No one is reading any more of course. I finally updated mine and went in to update myself on what you've been doing. If you still need a reader send me your manuscript. Would love to help out with feedback, but give me a deadline. Sorry I missed you guys when you were in the states.

    PS - My mom's got lung cancer. That really blows.

    ReplyDelete