My Telvision is in My Head

I got a rejection from the Atlantic Monthly yesterday. My first thought: if I knew how long it would take them to reject me, I never would have sent it in.

There’s no shame in being rejected by that magazine. It’s possible that there are periodicals that accept submissions that are tougher to get into, but none with the sheer whamness of Atlantic Monthly. Sending them a submission was an expression of faith in myself.

I got rejected. I’m OK with that. What I’m not OK with is that right now I hardly have anything out there trying to find a home. The business side of things is languishing, even as I write some words I quite like. I have a pretty sweet story ready to go, and I know where I’m sending it. All I need is a cover letter, and a message to my stateside postal enabler (Hi Dad!) and it’s done. That has been the state of things for three weeks.

NaNoWriMo. Bless it, curse it, dance in the meadow, bludgeon myself with a sharp rock. I need NaNoWriMo. I feel my productivity fall off as summer wanes, and November rekindles the fire. This year is the toughest since the first, and when I’m not too busy whining about it I’m having a blast. Add hundreds of new Jer’s Novel Writer users, though, and there’s no time for anything else. Say, writing, for instance.

I think December may be busier than November.

To veer suddenly to the side, yesterday I was at the Little Café Near Home, and I was thinking about a Chapter One I posted in this blog a while back and dang if the idea didn’t grow. I looked over the previous episode tonight and it didn’t have the punch I remembered, but Natasha has developed in my head since then. I spent a few hours spinning the tale through various scenarios, and it was fun. I came up with a nice twist I’ll be able to use somewhere eventually.

I feel oddly guilty about spending all that time with Natasha, though. Guilty because I have so many things going right now. Oddly because most Americans spend more time watching television each day than I spent developing a frighteningly compelling character. A great new character who stands on her own is the pay dirt of my profession, her birth a moment to celebrate, and I missed the party, frustrated by my lack of productivity. My blue-sky time was pure self-indulgence. Sitting around imagining ridiculous things is my television. I could do it all day, but I’d never get anything done.

20 thoughts on “My Telvision is in My Head

  1. This line struck a nerve in me, Jerry: “What I’m not OK with is that right now I hardly have anything out there trying to find a home.”

    It’s taken me six years to figure out that submitting something isn’t asking for a critique or to have my self-worth validated. Rank crap gets published every day, even makes bestselling lists while good stuff languishes in little-known trade paperbacks … Submitting writing bits is just part of the job, like cleaning out the coffee maker. I must remember that in 2007.

    Anyway, Jer, you’ve helped me to understand that. Thank you.

  2. Hello All,
    Best wishes for a happy Mr7K Day tomorrow. Clearly, the invention of the MOH role is only one of many things for which we can be thankful.

    MOH56K3 is a local: Vokovice, Czech Republic.

    Finally, when I read about this my first thought was John would find it cool, and my second thought was this sounded like a get poor quick scheme gone wrong.

    Introducing the Wartsila (of course that’s the real name; no one would make that up) RT-96C, the world’s largest internal combustion engine: 14-cylinders, 108,920 horsepower, 2,300 tons of pure marine engine fun. It will set up back a bit, $27M to build and 0.02 miles per gallon (1,660 gallons of diesel per hour), but the RT-flex96C version moves like veterbrae as the ship’s hull flexes.

    Now John, to what end who YOU put such a machine?

  3. Yo! IN the early hours of the Mr.7K Day celebrations, I lay claim to the title Mr. 56K3 Title! A momentumness occasion, and one that shall be frought for ages umong the un-impervious!

  4. “Now John, to what end who YOU put such a machine?”

    Initially I started envisioning a land-based machine to be powered by the Wartsila. I was thinking of estimating the square inches of tire contact patch you’d need to get a pounds-per-square-inch load approximating that of a fully-laden tractor trailer. Then it occurred to me that no road would be big enough anyway. The locomotive idea doesn’t move me (though if the Wartsila was a *steam* engine…).

    Then it hit me — the Wartsila must fly. It screams out to me its need to take to the air; the ocean it was truly meant to traverse. A spherical volume of helium 241 feet in diameter could lift over 2,300 tons (conveniently ignoring the weight of the envelope). Since the volume-to-surface-area ratio just gets better the larger your zepplin gets, I’m seein’ a 108,920 horsepower airship.

    Better yet would be heavier-than-air flight powered with a Wartsila, but I’d need to consult with an engineer about the weight of the airframe, the required wing surface area, and the strength-to-weight limits of known materials.

    Anybody know how to get hold of Bill Gates’ checkbook?

  5. “The Wartsila must fly”. Beauty.

    Bill Gates is too busy with things like AIDS research, technology education, etc.

    Your sugar daddy should be … Airbus. They are just desperate enough to try anything.

    Of course this is quibbling, but did you factor anything in for the weight of the diesel fuel (1,660 gallons per hour)? You may need more helium.

    Still, bigger is better as far as Airbus is concerned. Imagine their pride in announcing that they have surpassed Boeing in the super jumbo dirigible product category.

  6. If it’s you, pL, how do you explain that Eurotel was the provider, when you use UPC? It seemed pretty late for you to be at work.

  7. Lydia, pecan pie is one of my favorites.

    John, you are right. The Wartsila must fly. It must play the Blue Oyster Cult song “Godzilla” while flying, which means it also must destroy Tokyo.

    I imagine that the engine doesn’t operate at very high RPM, so you are faced with the choice of gearing up the propeller shaft (heavy and inefficient) or using a propeller of Wartsila-like dimensions, a mighty thing with blades long enough to push enough air to convert the 108,920 horsepower on the shaft into thrust. The giant windmill blades you see these days wouldn’t hold a candle to this baby.

  8. Gee Jerry….I must have known that. That’s the only pie I baked this year for Thanksgiving. And I get total cool points because I am actaully going to nextdoor neighbors house for the dinner (see I listened to you!)

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  9. Given the above, I have looked closer at my stance on pecan pie. I have considered many other pies, but when it comes right down to it, the pecan pie has no equal. I said before it’s one of my favorites, but in truth it’s the only dish that has any chance of distracting me from the main course. It is the only dessert better than another plateful of turkey.

  10. Eurotel! Our work link! Yes! Love the internet at work! And, yes, occasionally we do work a bit late, like Today! Lunch was at midnight (and, yes, we did have Turkey, but no cranberry sauce, and no pecan pie either, heathen bastards). I was de-imperviousing myself based solely on the resolution of my screen, the ol’ 1680 x 1050. Yes! Joining the ranks of the Neo-Un-Impervioused!

    Now, as Mr. 7K days wanes (well, it’s over here, and has been for hours!), and we look to the future, we see that a grander tribute is in order. We must go beyond a simple Holiday, and create something more permanent…like statues. Or rock stacks. Yes! Rock stacks busts of Mr. 7K, and some of the other influential MOH’s of our common past. A remiinder to future Muddled Generations of the true heroes of the Muddled Age!

    Of course, in this case, they might have to be virtual MOH Rock Stack Busts…

  11. My neighbor admitted she nearly called me this morning to beg me to make a pecan pie for their dinner. They had tons of food. I brought stuffed puffs instead which were inhaled.

    So Jerry I guess I add pecan pie to rewards for when you get stateside again.

  12. That’s right! Whose got the fatty resolution on their laptop? Fuego’s got it! And, as the MOH, I have an addition for the calendar:
    Buy Nothing Day!
    A bit late for this year, but there are lots of years to come.


  13. I think I’ve solved the challenges of fueling the Wartsila-powered airship and destroying Tokyo: Instead of hauling around an unwieldy tonnage of diesel fuel, use pneumatic cannon to fire huge cylinders of frozen fuel oil up to the ship. Calculate the trajectory so that said oilburgs are peaking where the ship can snare them. Power the pneumatic cannon with hydrogen. Shoot the frozen fuel cylinders straight up. Only fly the ship over Tokyo.

    “Oh-oh, they say he’s got to go, go go Godzilla!”

  14. Hi John,
    Can you send in a diagram? Leaving aside the whole tactical decision of simply shelling Tokyo with dieselbergs directly, I’d love to see what you have in mind for the collection mechanism. Will it be a huge fishing net? As a suggestion, I offer a front gunner with harpoon who shoots the dieselbergs so they can be reeled in like a frog catches flies.

    P.S.: How will the dieselbergs be melted so they can be burned? Solar power would be pleasantly ironic.

  15. With the luxury of hind-sight, I realize my only fault was thinking too small. The larger the gas-bag (I’m speaking of air-ships here, not politicians of course…) the more you can lift. In theory, fuel problem solved. As diesel is slurped up, pump helium into pressurized tanks to balance things out. “But wait,” you say, “That just means heavy pumping equipment, heavy storage tanks, and more fuel to power the infrastructure involved in balancing the insatiable appetite of the vast airborne beast!”

    I say bring it on — just make the envelope bigger. The bigger, the better. Because I’m going to solve Global Warming with my fleet of ginormous airships. Basically, I’m going to make the things so goddamn big they cast enormous shadows.

    Scoff if you want, but these things will be floating factories, their top surfaces greenhouses, growing biomass to generate bio-diesel for the insatiable appetites of the Warsilas that power them. Their vast shadows will cool the planet, holding off our inevitable doom.

    Oops, was I talking out loud?

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